Many churches in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference are having discussions related to their future in The United Methodist Church. Such discernment should rise to the level of Holy Conferencing and should begin with both individual and corporate prayer. United Methodists: you do have much to say about your future. Make sure that if these conversations occur in your church, that your voice is heard in the discussion.
Everywhere I turn I hear noise. There are squeaky wheels screeching across our denomination, our state, our nation, and our world. The clamor for attention is at an all time high.
It should not surprise anyone that the followers of Jesus fight each other. An honest look at the New Testament scriptures reveals the sobering fact that even before the Holy Spirit descended and gave birth to the church, the followers of Jesus were already fighting.
There have been groups turning up the volume, urging persons to leave The United Methodist Church as soon as possible. One renewal group has used such language as “a matter of life and death” and “you will be held hostage in The United Methodist Church,” The heated rhetoric has caused an already overly-anxious system to add anxiety to thoughtful discussions of churches charting their futures and discerning God’s direction in the matter.
Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin are two gifted and successful football coaches. Both have led Super Bowl winning teams. Both are Christian men of high character with impeccable integrity. These men share a common philosophy that is often summed up in the motto, “No excuses. No explanations.”
The United Methodist Church and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference are trapped between two extreme songs. One is an old blues tune by Albert King, and one from the Broadway musical which was based upon the Harold Gray comic strip, Little Orphan Annie.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” -- Luke 9:23
The question was motivated by both concern and fear. She told me that she had been a Methodist all her life and had no desire to change denominations. I did my best to explain our current Methodist dilemma and to assure her that no one was going to force her out of her church and that at the current time, there was no reason for any United Methodist church to disaffiliate.
The greatest event in human history is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Adversity of every kind are all around us: isolation, detachment, suffering, anger, distress, mistrust, unrest, economic uncertainty, global crisis, racial tensions, division, emotional and physical trauma, devasting loss, and the reality of pain and death.