Thursday, December 3, 2020
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
These are difficult times in North American Methodism. I don’t know what all the answers are related to moving forward, though I know unequivocally that I am not leaving my spiritual home.
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Today, I spent some time with the most unlikely of roses.
We have lived in our new home for over four months. As always, moving is a chore (for pastors, it's an occupational hazard). There has been an enormous amount of things to do.
I have loved meeting the people of our new church. That's the best part. But I often say "I love going to new churches, I just don't love moving to get there!" Between unpacking and getting settled, decorating the house, reclaiming the yard, meeting my neighbors, and starting a new ministry, it's always a challenge to get it all done. With COVID, it's been strange challenge indeed.
One of the tasks that went undone was tending to a particular dead rosebush in our backyard. I've noticed it countless times. It's right behind the house, in front of the garage and under an old clothesline post we've reclaimed with teal spray-paint and bird feeders. The branches are brittle and it has looked dead as a doornail for four straight months. I've been meaning to cut it away.
I'm glad I didn't. Last Sunday, suddenly, I noticed a breach of the deadness with a burst of life. A new rose blossom had appeared. Out of the deadness, there is life. Out of the dryness, there is joy. Wow. God did it again.
I have contemplated all week this gift of God. There is so much deadness around us right now. The coronavirus has been an unimaginable curb of normal life, not to mention the death it has brought to hundreds of thousands. The country has been through divisive times politically, as if there are two alternative worlds we live in, not one. Signs of structural racism abound, and I wonder if the energy to bring about prophetic change will fall away as it too often does. The denomination I love is going through a long, drawn-out, slow division as a group makes plans to secede and go start a new denomination.
It feels like there is a dead rosebush that I can't seem to get around to. It just lingers. Where are the signs of life? Then when I least expected it, it appeared. There is hope.
This week, I spent some more time with that little rose. It's moved from being a rosebud to a fully formed thing of beauty. I just can't bring myself now to break away the dead branches, for now they stand behind the rose as a reminder of the deadness God has brought life to.
God did it again. And God will keep doing it again.
Here's a picture of what I experienced in my quiet time today. May the joy of the Lord burst forth in your life, too.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Today is my "half birthday" (my actual birthday is April 22, six months from now).
In morning quiet time, I ran across this beautiful birthday blessing in John O'Donahue's To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings.
I wanted to share it on my blog this day, in hopes that is serves as a blessing to many of you on the "echoing-day of your birth."For Your Birthday
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Monday, August 24, 2020
Dear Methodist friends,
These are difficult times, and there are many more pressing things on our plate.
However, a group of North Alabama Methodists are advocating that the North Alabama Conference "Stay UMC," should there be a vote called for on the Annual Conference level to secede from the United Methodist Church and form a new "traditionalist" denomination. This vote could take place in 2021 or 2022 if the Protocol passes at General Conference in 2021, as many expect. There are some clergy and laity in the North Alabama Conference who are actively working toward the goal of leaving the UMC.
"Stay UMC" released www.stayumc.com today. This was to be unrolled in early March and the pandemic caused a heavy pause. General Conference has now been postponed to August/September of 2021, so it is still something in front of us.
I wholeheartedly support “Stay UMC!” I invite you to explore www.stayumc.com and join the movement.
I hope that discussions around the “Stay UMC” movement will lead to greater transparency so we can be a better Church.
I have nothing against clergy and churches who wish to leave the UMC in the present impasse. They are brothers and sisters in Christ. Some are very traditionalist, others are very progressive, but on both edges there are those that would choose to no longer stay in communion with the traditionalists, centrists, and progressives that believe we are called to be one diverse Church. The denomination is making withdrawal possible now, and churches may keep church properties if they follow the appropriate requirements. I just don't believe those who wish to form a new denomination should attempt to force the entire Annual Conference to go with them.
Please check out www.stayumc.com to understand what the Protocol is, why we wish to "Stay UMC," and what's at stake if we don't.