Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oklahoma Annual Conference

I'm at Oklahoma Annual Conference right now, looking forward to seeing some of my good friends ordained tonight. For the first time, I'll get to walk them in with all the big kids. I've also had fun spending time with my fellow bloggers in the Oklahoma Conference. We're a motly crew. Jeremy at Hacking Christianity will be moving right down the road to Checotah this summer. Matt Judkins is an associate at Church of the Servant. Kevin Watson at Deeply Committed is working on a Ph.D at SMU. I enjoyed a text message converstion between Jack Terrell Wilkes and Blake Huggins while I was waiting to give our Young Adult Ministries Council report to the conference. Seems they are about as enthusiastic fans of "Victory in Jesus" as I am. Which, to quote Dr. Doofenschmirtz from Phineus and Ferb, if by enthusiastic you mean repulsed. That fact disappoints my congregation, which loves to sing the song. We still sing it, I just grit my teeth when we do, and do that funny protest of not singing particular parts. There are other bloggers, but I should probably return to the floor. We had a good turnout at our Young Adult Luncheon--about 50. That's the best showing yet.

We're anxiously awaiting news of our votes on amendments 1-32 to the constitution of the UMC. They need to pass with 2/3 votes to be ratified. Judging by the the dialogue, not many of them look very likely here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

See ya Jesus!

In honor of Ascension Sunday, I share with you my favorite Dali painting. I read somewhere that the background is the ecstatic vision Dali had of the nucleus of an atom. I wonder what he could be saying about Christ or this event to combine the two images. Let me know what you think. I interpret it as saying the Christ is the central or elemental reality of know, "through whom all things came into being..." or something like that.
I also like that Jesus' feet are the main focus of the painting. I preached a sermon on this one time called "Jesus Walks" I read that this perspective was a tribute to Mantegna's Dead Christ (below), which he admired and considered a precursor to his own form of art.

I also like that the Shekinah is portrayed in the feminine, as She should be, (at least I'm assuming that's what Dali was portraying by the face of the woman) and that She is fused with the Dove imagery for the Holy Spirit, who is descending as Jesus ascends. They're kind of passing each other along the way, like "okay, your turn!"
Also, Jesus' hands--they look like they are clutched in pain, perhaps. What do you make of them?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yes, I take my design cues from the Swiss Family Robinson

We have a new porch on the back of our house, thanks for a memorial gift to the church for a dear man named Ralph Johnston. (He would always bring us corn on the cobb, garlic, squash, and other things from his garden a block away--now we're trying our own hands at his craft.) I remembered this conch shell I got in the Bahamas a few years ago that was packed away in a box. Now it gets its second use in life (the first, of course, being the home for a snail that Bahamians like on their salads--I didn't care for it, sorry.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Music and the Spirit

I haven't mentioned it yet, but I got accepted to a writer's workshop I have dreamed of going to for 2 years now. This July, I get to spend a week with 10 other writers and Eugene Peterson at St. John's Abby and University in Minnesota.  I had spent a week there right before I started seminary in 2002, and had been impressed with the St. John's Bible project, in which they are working on the first new handwritten Bible for quite some time (by the way, my friend Aidan Hart is one of the illuminators for that Bible.  I spent some time at his then hermitage in Shropshire, England.)
I've decided to write on the subject of music and spirituality.  I'm kind of enlarging a concept I brought up a week or so ago, so if you want to contribute to the converstion that feeds that enlargement, comment on that post, yo.  One last link in this linkomania.  One of my favorites over there -----> 
has been a sight on Reggae and the Bible (Words of Wisdom) .   I appreciate what the kind lady has been doing at that site for a number of years, and took some time today to read her bio.  The way she parallels the words of Scripture with exisitng Reggae lyrics has been a nice appendix for my appreciation of that music over the years, so I sent a long overdue thanks for her attention to the subject.  I was wondering about a song I heard on Pandora, Scientist's A Plague of Zombies  and didn't see it in her body of work, so I did a little homework and sent it along.  I thought I'd include it here for your enjoyment too:  (I couldn't figure out how to get 2 columns within a post.  code anyone?)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Methodism and Membership

the Methoblogworld is buzzing about the upcoming constitutional amendments proposed by General Conference 08, which must pass this year's annual conference by a 2/3 vote.  The usual suspects are coming out against an amendment to strengthen language about membership in the church being open to all (as if we need another psychological barrier to encouraging the whole idea of membership in this individualistic age).  A friend of mine made a rebuttal.  I thought it was well articulated, so here you go.  

Monday, May 04, 2009

My Church's Farmer's Market

Last summer two women in the church came to me with the idea of hosting a farmer's market at our church.  One is a chili pepper and herb grower.  She makes all kinds of chili rubs.  I bought some pear honey for her last year too.  The other woman is an elementary school teacher who had previously expressed interest in promoting good eating habits among children.
Morris had no previously existing farmer's market.  The two women thought it would be a great example of "Radical Hospitality," which is a principle of The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, by Bishop Robert Schnase.  We had been studying the book together as a congregation through a sermon series and a book study.  I thought it was a great idea, and told them so.   They went with it.  By the end of the summer, our parking lot was ringed with farmers with their tailgates open and tables of vegetables.  We opened the church so that bathrooms would be accessible for farmers and shoppers, and welcomed the kids to play with the church air-hockey table.  The market was to be on Saturdays, which meant that our church might not be perfectly clean on Sunday mornings for worship.  The church considering the ramifications of this fact during church council was a good opportunity to for us to reflect on the true purpose of a church.  
We submitted the idea to Bishop Robert Schnase's website that corresponds with the book and study material,
This past week, I was also contacted by someone at The Interpreter magazine who wants to include a photo in that magazine of the market.  
Hooray church.  We plan to continue the program this year.