I was reading the website of the First United Methodist Church in Oneonta, NY. It’s a pretty special place whose motto is: Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors. It is A Reconciling Congregation, which, in UMC parlance, means to “create full inclusion of all God’s children regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” I should note that my parents-in-law are member of the churchs.
The congregation did something rather remarkable, especially if you understand church polity. It held a:
Special Church Conference on Sunday, March 16… to discuss a resolution presented to the congregation by the Reconciling Ministries team of our church… After two hours of discussion, listening, amendments, voting, and tears, the special session of church conference voted to pass an amended resolution. It reads:
RESOLVED, that First United Methodist Church of Oneonta, New York will withhold 40% of its remaining apportionment from the Upper New York Annual Conference in 2014 Continue reading Methodist church in Oneonta stands for LGBT rights; Karen Oliveto to speak May 17, 18
One year for Christmas, I gave my sister the score of the entire Messiah, we sang from it so much in high school. Since then I’ve sung much of Part 1, the section associated with Advent/Christmastime, at least a half dozen times. Continue reading Fridays in Lent: Handel Messiah, Part 2
A half dozen years ago, someone posed this to Yahoo! answers:
“I don’t like music. At all. Any of it. Does this have a name?
To me, music is a intrusive noise. It gets in the way of my thoughts and prevents my structuring a sentence.” Continue reading Not liking music?
These pictures, above, my “baby” sister posted on her Facebook feed. I was 7 and 52, respectively. The first one, which was for Advent, was in some internal section, but the latter was right on the front page; in case you can’t read it, I’m rehearsing for the Faure requiem.
I reposted them on a Thursday – actually late on Wednesday night – and I was told that I was participating in Throwback Thursday. Continue reading Can't keep from singing
First I read that churches in Kentucky are using gun giveaways to help people find Jesus. Then, in a front-page story in my area, the pastor of a local Baptist church plans to give away an AR-15 assault rifle to the winner of a free raffle at an upcoming Sunday service.
From the Troy, NY church’s website:
We have decided to hold a special service honouring hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years. Our country was built with the King James Bible and the gun.
My theology is very different from this, and I struggled to understand. Continue reading What Would Jesus Be Packing?
I like to look for less familiar text for Martin Luther King’s birthday. Unfortunately, soundbites from his I Have a Dream speech, for instance, have been so torn from its context as to make it unrecognizable.
A Knock at Midnight (found here [PDF]) was delivered on 14 September 1958. It has some Cold War references that I removed, not because there aren’t modern day equivalents, but for clarity, and an attempt at brevity. The text was based on Luke 11:5-6, RSV: “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him”? It’s all MLK until the end.
Although this parable is concerned with the power of persistent prayer, it may also serve as a basis for our thought concerning many contemporary problems and the role of the church in grappling with them. It is midnight in the parable; it is also midnight in our world, and the darkness is so deep that we can hardly see which way to turn…
Midnight is the hour when men desperately seek to obey the eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt not get caught.” Continue reading Knocking at Midnight: Martin Luther King, Jr.
I found this graphic really interesting. The Socialist US Senator is embracing the Pope’s condemnation of “doctrinaire capitalism, ‘deified markets,” trickle-down economics, and the finance industry. He decried the growing gap between the rich and the poor, tax evasion by the wealthy, and characterized ruthless free-market economics as a killer that was inherently sinful.” I assume this will mean that the Pope will be painted as a socialist.
Francis, moreover Continue reading Church and state: Francis I
A few weeks back, one of our pastors gave this great sermon. She started by asking the congregation to play that game whereby you invite three people, living or dead, to a dinner party. We were to share our picks with people sitting near us.
The pastor then said that most of us church folks probably had Jesus on the list, and the congregation murmured in agreement. But do we REALLY want Jesus at our soiree? Because He could be quite annoying.
Look at some examples: one woman, Martha, puts on a nice meal, yet Jesus sides with lazy Mary who is just hanging out listening to Him. At a fancy gala, Jesus allowed “that woman” to wash his feet – with her hair? He ate with sinners, including those tax collectors, who were ALWAYS ripping off people. Not to mention his last dinner where, by the end of the night, he had been denied, betrayed and taken off to prison.
I saw this story – don’t know if it’s apocryphal or factual Continue reading Jesus would make a lousy dinner guest
As I have noted, I’m a Protestant with an odd fascination with Catholic popes. The accession, in March 2013, of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, 76, to become the 266th head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, especially when his predecessor, Benedict XVI is still alive, intrigued me.
I admit that I’ve enjoyed that he’s made some in the church hierarchy nervous, when he faults the church’s focus on gays and abortion, though that feels more like optics rather than actual change to me. He may be right, though, when he describes‘ideological Christians’ as a ‘serious illness’ within the Church.
More interesting to me is his suggestion, if it’s understood correctly in a secular press, that it’s OK not to believe in God if you have a clean conscience. Continue reading P is for Pope Francis I
Why is September a slow writing month? Haven’t even gotten to look at many interesting links I have set aside to peruse later, then “later” never comes. Jaquandor’s having writing problems too, but it appears to have been rectified, according to his Facebook posts.
Arthur has had a woeful time on HIS blog, but maybe it’s the way it is after seven years of blogging. Or maybe he’s just excited about the fact that on Friday, November 1, he and Nigel are going to the registry office in Auckland, New Zealand to change their civil union to marriage. Mazel tov!
My friend Claire’s annual blog post.
SamuraiFrog was in a wedding. He was extremely anxious about it Continue reading September Rambling: overcoming adversity