As I work today, my mind travels to the United Methodist clergy who came out as LGBTQ before the General Conference, to challenge the denomination’s policy which bans the ordination of “practicing homosexuals.” While the number is stunning, I keep thinking of each individual person who has risked their livelihood and calling, for this historic moment.
Matt talks to the writer and Yale Divinity School faculty member about poetry in preaching, whether scripture has unique revelatory power, naming the despair of churchgoers, and the centrality of Christ.
Matt talks to the Judson Memorial Church pastor about her childhood in the LCMS, the unique challenges of preaching in New York, and instances when a pastoral care matter makes it straight into a sermon.
Matt talks to the Duke professor and former UMC bishop about resisting the temptation to close the gap between the Bible’s strange claims and a congregation’s expectations, and about following a really good preacher into a new church.
Matt talks to the cofounder of Chicago's Urban Village UMC about the blessings and dangers of charisma, the gifts people in 12-step recovery bring to the pulpit, and what happens when your parents want you to be a doctor and God wants you to be a preacher.
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church convened in Tampa last week. I’m not one of the 988 delegates who have descended on Florida to do the work of our church, nor of the 4,000 hosts, bishops, pages, translators and myriad lobbyists there to help. My participation is limited to following the proceedings from 1,000 miles away.
Still, my emotions have been all over the place. And judging from Twitter and Facebook, this roller coaster of highs and lows is almost universal among those who are there. The stakes feel high this year, higher than usual.
their careers or standing in the United Methodist Church, at least 164 clergy and six
congregations from Long Island to the Catskill Mountains and southern
Connecticut are vowing to marry same-sex couples.
As the sour economy and aging buildings wreak havoc on church budgets, United Methodists are trying to get ahead of the problem and assess the health of their congregations in a bid to reverse declining fortunes.