Homosexuality and the UMC – Adam Hamilton Sermon

I invite you to worship with The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection on Sunday, February 1 online at http://live.cor.org and hear a sermon by Adam Hamilton addressing homosexuality as a part of the sermon series When Christians Get it Wrong.

I was in worship on Saturday night, enjoyed the sermon and appreciated Adam’s sermon. I believe that you will be interested in his perspective, even if you disagree with his approach.

Your Invitation:

  1. Copy and post this invitation at your blog or retweet my latest at Twitter.
  2. Join worship live at http://live.cor.org at either 10:45 AM and 4:00 PM Central Standard Time (GMT -6). (If you are in the Kansas City area join us in person at any service – Worship Schedule)
  3. If you watch online, let us know your response using the Contact Resurrection Live! link after the service.

iCampus – What about the Book of Discipline?

This is a series of responses to questions about an internet campus from a previous series of posts. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to respond to each one. Thanks!

What about the Book of Discipline? Thanks to Mark Burleson for adding his clarification question on a previous post – Will this affect the UMC conditions on staying within your region?

Why does the Book of Discipline matter in the first place? The Book of Discipline is the governing document for all congregations and clergy of The United Methodist Church, which includes The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Part of our understood limitations as a congregation is that Resurrection shall not “do anything in opposition to the spirit and intent of the United Methodist Book of Discipline.”

Some particular paragraphs from the 2004 Book of Discipline that may be relevant to an internet campus

¶ 120 The Mission – “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs.”

I believe that the mission of the church could be fulfilled through an online campus, including the addition from the 2008 general conference – “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

¶ 122 The Process for Carrying Out Our Mission – We make disciples as we:

  • proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome and gather persons into the body of Christ
  • lead persons to commit their lives to God through baptism by water and the spirit and profession of faith in Jesus Christ;
  • nurture persons in Christian living through worship, the sacraments, spiritual disciplines, and other means of grace, such as Wesley’s Christian conferencing;
  • send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed, being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence, and working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel; and
  • continue the mission of seeking, welcoming and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ.

The only portion of this paragraph which could not be directly carried out by an internet campus would be receiving the sacaraments, an issue which I have previously noted.

¶ 202 The Function of the Local Church – The church of Jesus Christ exists in and for the world. It is primarily at the level of the local church that the church encounters the world. The local church is a strategic base from which Christians move out to the structures of society. The function of the local church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to help people to accept and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to live their daily lives in light of their relationship with God. Therefore, the local church is to minister to persons in the community where the church is located, to provide appropriate training and nurture to all, to cooperate in ministry with other local churches, to defend God’s creation and live as an ecologically responsible community, and to participate in the worldwide mission of the church, as minimal expectations of an authentic church.

I see two items of note in this paragraph in relation to an internet campus. First, the church “is to minister to persons in the community where the church is located.” I believe that a church with an internet campus could be understood to exist in the online community and be in ministry to people of that community. Second, cooperation with other local churches would necessarily be a part of an internet campus for a United Methodist congregation. Internet campus attenders would not be discouraged from seeking out a local faith community where they are physically located.

¶ 341 Unauthorized Conduct

3. No pastor shall arbitrarily organize a pastoral charge (See ¶ 260 for the method of organizing a local church.)

4. No pastor shall hold a religious service within the bounds of a pastoral charge other than the one to which appointed without the consent of the pastor in charge, or the district superintendent. No pastor shall hold a religious service within the bounds of a pastoral charge or establish a ministry to a college or university campus served by The United Methodist Church without the consent of the pastor or campus minister in charge or the district superintendent. If that pastor does not refrain from such conduct, he or she shall then be liable to the provisions of ¶ 362.1 and ¶ 2702.

In regard to point 3, an internet campus would not be a pastoral charge, it would be a part of the ministry of an existing local church. In regard to point 4, the Book of Discipline does not anticipate an internet campus and I believe that an internet campus experience would not violate this prohibition. There are likely many ways to think about it but here are a few – there is a physical service that is taking place in an existing local congregation and the service is being “held” on the internet not in a physical location. I am sure there are other interpretations here…

What do you think about my responses? How would you answer this question?

iCampus – What about the sacraments?

This is a series of responses to questions about an internet campus from a previous series of posts. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to respond to each one. Thanks!

What about the sacraments?

This is a serious question and one of the more significant challenges for an internet campus of a United Methodist congregation. Holy Communion is understood to be a means of grace for United Methodists and should not be ignored. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, encouraged the taking of communion at any opportunity available.

I am not willing to suggest that sacraments could be administered online or remotely in any way. I recognize that others with different understandings of polity and theology will come to different conclusions here, but this is where I am today as a United Methodist. For baptism, I see three possibilities:

  • Internet congregant would travel to a physical campus to be baptized
  • Internet campus pastor would travel to baptize the internet congregant
  • Internet congregant would be baptized at local congregation that was somehow connected to the internet campus (same denomination, pre-arranged plan, etc.)

For holy communion, I would suggest that the internet congregant receive this sacrament in another community of faith close to where she or he is living. Again, some sort of connection to the internet campus would be most desirable.

I recognize that none of these solutions are optimum. However, I do not think that the downsides here would be enough to prevent the possibility to build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

Without the opportunity to have the “sacraments duly administered” it would not be possible to be defined as a local United Methodist church (2004 Book of Discipline, ¶201). Thus, an internet campus would necessarily be linked with an existing local church.

What do you think about my responses? How would you answer this question?

GC2008: The Experience

Along with a group of clergy from Resurrection, I am traveling to Fort Worth to experience several days of the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. This is a global gathering that happens every four years and is the only body that can speak for the denomination.

I am looking forward to see, hear, experience, feel, and be a part of the conference.

I suggest that you find out more here – http://gc2008.umc.org

You might also check for bloggers present at the entire event, including…

Methodist Bloggers Bracket Challenge – Your Invitation

I invite you to join the Methodist Bloggers online NCAA March Madness bracket group! (This group is open to all United Methodists who blog.) To accept this invitation and join the group, click the link below (or cut and paste the link into your browser’s address bar). You’ll be asked to enter the group’s password before you can join. The group password is included below.

http://methodistbloggers.mayhem.sportsline.com/e

Our Group password is: johnwesley

There are only a few days left to finish your brackets. As well as creating a bracket, I invite you to share the invitation with other Methodist bloggers. You might:

  • Call your friends in the conference.
  • Email the bishop (Does your bishop blog?)
  • Post an invitation on your blog.

One last thing…
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

Emergent Church – Does anyone care?

I really resonate with Jared’s post – Emerging Boredom. I have lost a lot of enthusiasm for what has variously been known as the emerging movement, emergent, emerging church – whatever terminology you wish to use. I have tangibly seen this transition in my annual goals which included reading books and visits to churches who would claim to be doing church in a new way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am passionate about renewal within The United Methodist Church and within the church universal. However, I have lost interest in particular authors and the emergent, emerging, emersion “brand”. This has partially been influenced by my friend, Ben, but I have also seen the development within myself over the past 18 months. I am more excited about solid leadership and renewal of the fervor and discipline of early Methodism within the denomination and throughout the state of Kansas (my particular context).

What do you think?

Influencing the United Methodist Church

Last week one of my colleagues asked, Are you comfortable with the influence that The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection has on the United Methodist Church?

Yes, I am comfortable with the influence that Resurrection has on the denomination. I think that Resurrection seeks to represent the extreme center in the United Methodist Church and within the religious dialogue in the United States. I think that this is a voice that is desperately needed within the denomination and a voice is able to speak in meaningful ways to those outside the denomination – both non religious persons and those of other denominations. I believe that Resurrection is thoroughly Christian, Methodist and Wesleyan and I feel great about those influences shaping the denomination.

However, I also recognize that there are many churches and leaders across the world that are working for renewal within The United Methodist Church and within local churches. I think that Resurrection has a lot to learn from others as well. I think that the denomination is healthier with many congregations and leaders actively seeking and working toward renewal.

Every day that I am at church I pray for spiritual revival in Kansas, renewal within The United Methodist Church, wisdom and endurance for delegates to General Conference and Resurrection‘s purpose, vision and journey. I believe that all of these can be and are influenced by the others and I hope to be a part of God’s work in this place and time.

  • What do you think about all this?
  • Do you think that Resurrection has an influence on the denomination? If so, is it an appropriate level?
  • What congregations do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
  • What individuals do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
  • What other topics did I leave out of this conversation which need to be addressed?