Thursday, May 10, 2012

#gc2012 Thoughts on General Conference & the Church

There has been a lot of conversations over that past few weeks in the United Methodist Church. These conversations have been at the local level, Annual Conference & even global level. There has been conversations about our structure, our treatment of certain people groups, gay & lesbian issues and much more. I am not one of those that in the past followed the policy makers and vocal on both sides of these stories. Trust me with ministry responsibilities right here at home; were busy enough just trying to love people and execute programs to reach more in the name of Jesus Christ.

However I did watch the Twitter feed way too much during General Conference. Listening to everyone on Twitter chime in about there own take and passions and decisions during this time. Most of the time the feed #gc2012 wasn't focused. People were all over the board off on their own little islands with issues, ideas and thoughts. This really bothered me. I was wondering where the like minded people were? Where were our common ground areas on these major issues? Why wasn't there more conversations than people trying to make a point or "one liners"?

I believe for us to be effective as a church not only locally, but globally we are going to need to come together and work somethings out. This doesn't mean that were going to have to agree on every issue. I don't think that is even possible or the desired result. We certainly need the church to be made up of people from all different background and ways of life. We need diversity. We shout these things from our little mountain tops. We tell the world that this is what were about, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty we want people to feel, act, talk and believe what we believe!

I think if we take a long hard look at ourselves before we start comparing ourselves to others and making ourselves better then them. When we do that we become the older son/brother in the parable of "The Lost Son" found in Luke 15. Oh yeah, Sarah and I preached on that last weekend. Missed it? You can still hear it at  

There are so many things that we don't agree on as individual in the church. Note that I am referring to the overall global church, those who claim to be followers of Christ. We need to drop our attack posters and agendas and come back to the table. We need to pray, talk, share and quite possibly pray again for God to speak and to nudge us into obedience with Him. We need to become connected and concerned about each other. Not just about ourselves and what we may "feel", but also what our fellow brothers and sisters are feeling as well.

Phyllis's Tickle has been in church circles for decades. She has spent much of her career in the publishing arena. Several years back I had the privilege of listening to her speak. She was articulate and inspirational in the area of our future as a church. She has deep convictions of where we are going as a church and what we must do to not destroy, weaken or even miss our opportunity in this world. A great read that has much of what she was referring to in her message can be found in her latest book "The Great Emergence".

Mike Slaughter was one of the gentlemen who came to General Conference for the United Methodist Church as presented along with Adam Hamilton an amendment on Sexuality in the Book of Discipline. Today he wrote his recapped thoughts on Annual Conference. There are several very good point he makes. Check it out here

There are two quotes that Mike has in his blog that I would like to quote as well to wrap this entry up. They are. . .

"I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out." John Wesley

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."- Micah 6:8

Thank you, and may God bless us in our efforts and service to Him!

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