A Holy Agitator. I think that is what I would call Bishop Will Willimon. There are a lot of people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, but there is no one who quite has the theological mindset of Willimon. As I read through his most recent book Bishop: The Art of Questioning Authority by an Authority in Question, I found myself nodding my head frequently, shaking my head occasionally, and AOL (Amening out loud) often. (I just came up with that, let me know if that is dorky or cool, or a combination of both.)
This is not a book review because I’m not the book reviewing type, but I do think great ideas should be shared, so I’ll share some of what the good Bishop writes, and then add my own commentary. Just so you know I read it on my Kindle, so I’ll put the Kindle location on the quote. I highlighted many passages in the book, so this is just the beginning. I hope you enjoy, learn, and get agitated.
The most important appointment a bishop makes is the selection of district superintendents…Nothing moves in the UMC until a DS commits to leading that change.” KL 259-265 Continue reading
I don’t want to pass over others to leadership. I want others to pass their leadership over to me. I don’t want to be entitled to anything. I want to be empowered and encouraged for everything God has for me by the church that first recognized my gifts for ministry.
General Conference 2012 is currently going on, and as a 28 year-old commissioned elder in the Oklahoma Conference, I have been following General Conference largely from twitter via #gc2012. This is, of course, not the best way to follow General Conference. I don’t see the delegates talking, I’m not in the conversations, and I don’t experience the worship services. I read updates, opinions, and immediate reactions to events that happen that I don’t fully understand. (i.e. anything to do with Roberts Rules of Order, I don’t fully understand.) My experience of General Conference has largely been through a medium that lends itself to snarkiness and sarcasm instead of constructive criticism. Also the folks that are on twitter are overwhelming Americans, overwhelming white, and mostly young: characteristics that also define me.
As I read these tweets from people like me, I couldn’t help but think about one of my son’s favorite movies The Lion King and the song, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.”
It is an oft-stated fact that since the merger in 1968, the United Methodist Church in America has had a decrease in membership every year. There is this sobering, yet hopeful video that probably many of you have seen that can share that information better than I can, and there are many reasons for our steady decline, but let me talk about one of them here: our failure to plant churches. Continue reading
This past Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to preach on Noah. So what did I use as my illustrations? I read one of Micah’s storybooks on Noah, I talked about playing Madden on my various gaming systems, and I had to mention Field of Dreams. This was one of my favorite combinations of illustrations though I still prefer the Sunday that I compared Jesus to Michael Scott from the The Office and professed my tremendous love for bacon. Now these are not necessarily your common illustrations, and I doubt that you will find many of these in your standard books of illustrations. They are, however, for me vehicles that carry on the narrative theme of the sermon, (You’ll have to trust me about that.) while also providing an important aspect to preaching: the preacher as character. Continue reading
I have a few suggestions to make Annual Conference a little more interesting. Feel free to add your own in the comments sections.
1. Use a scoreboard clock that counts down the allotted time for each report with a loud buzzer marking the end of the report, whether or not they were done or not. Continue reading
Radical Hospitality- Going above and beyond to love others into the family of Christ.
This is not my term. Bishop Schnase has made this concept of radical hospitality famous, and deservedly so. It has been refreshing to hear of United Methodist Churches that have embraced this concept of Radical Hospitality in unique ways. Radical hospitality is not coffee and donuts. It is not a greeter at the door. It is an orientation of our being that sees everyone as a valued guest.
Jesus showed some pretty radical hospitality. Continue reading
I have at times been critical of the United Methodist Church, though I try to be fair anytime I critique the church, however this is not one of those blogs. In fact, this is a blog of praise of our church. The UMC does some things very well, and one of the best aspects of our church is the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Not only do they respond immediately to crisis, but they stay on the ground longer than most other organizations. If you have not given to the disaster in Haiti, I would strongly encourage you to give through UMCOR. 100% of your money will go to relief, and you can be assured that they will be good stewards of your money. This tragedy is personal for the folks at UMCOR as two of their leaders Sam Dixon and Clinton Rabb passed away in the Haiti earthquakes, while they were there working with Methodist leaders about what could be done to improve conditions for folks in that country.
Of course, for UMCOR every tragedy is personal because we are connected to one another. This is a tragedy on a grand scale, and while I do not know anyone who passed away. I know people, and I know grief, and I can only begin to comprehend the pain that is present for many there, who are so busy surviving that they have not had time to grieve. While for many of us, we have been so busy being busy that we have not grieved with them. So, do something. Go here and donate. If you have the chance, get on a plane and sacrifice your time. At the very least, Get on your knees and pray this.
We confess that in our busyness, we have ignored the sufferings of your people. We can avoid the brokeness of our brothers and sisters by merely changing the channel and reading the Sports page. Forgive us, for our veiled attempt at sacrifice. Create in us a new heart that flows with your love for others, and enliven the Spirit inside of us to be your disciples who love our neighbors both near and far. Amen