Posts filed under ‘Methodist’

The Coaching Carousel and Pastoral Itinerancy

Billy DonovanLike many folks, I love to watch the coaching carousel go ’round and ’round waiting to see who gets a dream job and who gets booted for yet another losing season. Billy Gillispie is going from Texas A&M to the University of Kentucky. Bob Huggins has fled Kansas State for his home state in West Virginia. Surprise of surprises, Billy Donovan has chosen to stay put down in Gainesville, saying that happiness is more important than money. Sports radio is consumed by all the changes taking place this time of year, and I follow right along.Will Willimon

Even though it doesn’t make ESPN, the evening news, or talk radio, similar talk happens among United Methodist clergy. We want to know who’s going where, who “took a cut,” and who has gotten their “dream church.” It’s enough to make me wonder if the same things fuel both conversations.

Presumably, we’re fascinated with coaches because we’re fascinated with success. The Billys of the world, Gillispie and Donovan, are to be rewarded for doing a great job at what they do. Both Billys won at traditional football powers and were offered jobs at one of the powerhouses of college basketball, Kentucky. We see this as an affirmation of their skills. They are getting the chance they earned, their achievements measured in the win-loss column.

Perhaps we think the same thing with pastors. Rev. Smith-Jones down the road really turned that congregation around. Isn’t it about time she get a raise and transfer? When will “First Church” come calling? Of course with pastors we talk more about gifts and graces than win-loss records, don’t we? Maybe.

I don’t really have much more to offer on this, because I want to know who’s going where too. Are these two conversations fueled by the same desires and motives? Should they be? Is it just innocent curiosity? What do you think?

April 10, 2007 at 2:11 pm 4 comments

Grinding the Face of the Poor Since 2004

LotteryIn November 2004, Oklahomans passed state question 705 approving the lottery. Of course, much of the money is allocated for education. On top of this, we have Native American casinos popping up like maggots everywhere you look.

It doesn’t matter what time of day or week you drive by these large casinos; the parking lots are full of people. And believe it or not, the people at the casinos aren’t driving their Lexus or Cadillac down for a few tugs on the old slot machine. The problem is terrible in Southeastern Oklahoma. Families are struggling to make payments on houses and loans while still faithfully making their trips to the casinos and buying lotto tickets trying to hit it big.

A friend and I were discussing this some time ago. What can the United Methodist Church do about these things? We can do what we often do and pass another resolution, but we thought it might be better to do something proactive.

My suggestion was to purchas billboards that communicate the connection between the lottery, casinos, and the poor with our biblical mandate to do justice and love kindness (Micah 6:8). In fact, I thought the reference in my title would be a great billboard. Imagine, in the background is a big lottery ticket and a picture of a casino. In the foreground of these pictures are these words, “Grinding the Face of the Poor Since 2004. Isaiah 3:15). Underneath that we could place a number to gambling addiction services, and below we could have the words The United Methodist Church, a Micah 6:8 community.

Yes, it’s ambiguous. But, I think it might make people ask questions and try to imagine why we were connecting the two things. Do you think this would work, or should we just pass another resolution?

March 30, 2007 at 6:41 am 5 comments

Fear, Identity, and the Emerging Church

Scot McKnight has a very interesting post on liberals, evangelical/conservatives, and the emerging church. In his series, “Letters to Emerging Christians,” he looks at the question, “What does our greatest fear tell us about ourselves?” He then answers this for conservative/evangelical, liberal, and emerging Christians. You really should read the whole article, but the breakdown is roughly this.

  • Liberals – Intolerance
  • Conservatives – Change
  • Emergents -Power & Authority

If you read the post and care about both the emerging church and the UMC, you’ll immediately wonder about the way that our system will cause a great deal of fear and trepidation among those with emergent sensibilities. If we’re ever going to get serious about ministering from this paradigm, we’ll have to address these questions.

March 16, 2007 at 4:52 am 3 comments

Clergy Appointments: aka Fruit Basket Turnover

Some folks out there will remember the old game Fruit Basket Turnover. Chairs are set up in a circle, the player in the middle calls out a fruit and those players assigned that fruit jump up and try to get a free seat. At any point, the middle person can call out “fruit basket turnover!” and all players have to find a vacant seat. In some ways that game resembles the appointment process as clergy wave mercifully at every U-Haul they pass in the week following annual conference thinking, “That could be one of us.”

Along with this process, there is the cherished hobby of many clergy – appointment speculation! With that in mind, I really like what the Kansas East Annual Conference has done announcing the appointments as they are made official on their website (h/t Amy Forbus on the MethoBlog). It seems like this satisfies the “curiosity” of folks and makes the process even more transparent, which I believe is a great thing. Nice idea Kansas East!

March 13, 2007 at 8:08 am Leave a comment

John Wesley’s Doppleganger

John WesleyPaul ReubensHave you heard the news? They are making a film about John Wesley’s life. The good news is they’ve found an actor that bears an uncanny resemblance to John. The bad news is that this actor is Paul Reubens of PeeWee Herman fame. Ok, ok…I’m joking! But seriously, have you ever noticed the uncanny resemblance between the two?  If Paul can do an English accent, I think we’re well on the way to seeing the ocean passage to Georgia on the big screen!

March 10, 2007 at 4:56 pm 3 comments

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