Apr 23 2014

Rev. Brent L. White: Planting our foot on God’s word, especially when we disagree with it

Laws and principles are not for the time when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth—so […]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/planting-our-foot-on-gods-word-especially-when-we-disagree-with-it/

Apr 23 2014

the unlikely orange: baseball, artfully

photo by gregory a. milinovich, taken in warriors mark, pa., april 21, 2014

have i mentioned how much i love baseball?  
okay, good.  because it’s true.  
i was reminded of that again the other day when i stumbled across this wonderful little article containing one writer’s 25 favorite songs about baseball (he neglected to include anything from my favorite baseball album “Roberto Clemente: Un Tributo Musical”).  it wasn’t so much the songs he picked or his description of them that captured my attention, as it was his brief analysis about why baseball inspires such great art.  among other things, he writes, 

People who complain that baseball games are too slow are the kind of people who would rather watch cop shows on TV than read a good book. Perhaps that’s why football does better on the tube, while baseball does better at the library. The patient, burst-and-pause pace of baseball is not a drawback; it’s the sport’s greatest asset. (Geoffrey Himes, in “the curmedgeon: baseball songs,”  pastemagazine.com, april 22, 2014)

i couldn’t agree more.  when people complain that baseball is too slow, i cringe.  you see, part of the great beauty of baseball is in its pace, its staccato rhythm, in which action is followed by a chance to gather, regroup, reflect, and move forward.  it is a sport ripe with pregnant pauses, which gives it room to breath, and offers spectators the opportunity to muse, to write, to anticipate, to remember, and to dream.  himes goes on to say that the lack of a mask or any major padding to the body makes it one of the more human-looking of sports as well, giving the viewer an easier avenue into imagining one’s self on the field.

i can relate.  i took a walk the other day, while visiting my wife’s family, and came across a group of little league baseball fields in the mid-morning sun.  they are positioned in central pennsylvania, overlooking a rolling vista of cornfields, which causes their low-cut green grass to stand in wonderful contrast, like something out of a “field of dreams” location.  it being a weekday morning, there was no one on the fields.  just me.  and a baseball i had found in the cornfield.  so i mentally envisioned the game.  i was the shortstop.  i was the pitcher.  i was the catcher, crouching, calling for a fastball, high and tight.  i was the batter, settling in, muscles tensed, poised.  i watched the graceful trajectory of the ball in my mind’s eye, a pleasing parabola.  i was the baserunner, advancing to third on the hit, a tumbleweed of energy and sinew, grinding and sliding for the bag.  i was the third basemen, bent low, catching the beamed throw from right, swiping the leather down to apply the tag.  i was the umpire, calling loudly with conviction:  SAFE!  i was the crowd, enthusiastic, hopeful.

sure, it was just a little league field on a monday morning, but baseball does this to me.  it calls me into a magical place where miracles happen.  it is less feeding frenzy, and more musical masterpiece, with ebbs and flows, crescendos and decrescendos, half notes and whole rests.  it is a canvas upon which paint isn’t thrown on in wild, raving fury, but is applied carefully, artfully.  whether it’s on an empty little league field, watching a real game from the stands while enjoying a cold beverage, or checking the scores on my smartphone, waiting to see what happens on this 3-2 pitch with runners on the corners and two outs, it is magical and musical, all of it.  it may be slow, but only in the way that a delicious steak is best enjoyed patiently, without shoveling it down like a Big Mac; or in the way that a backrub is most perfectly delivered: carefully, intentionally, and deliberately.  baseball is slow in the same way that breathing is slow when you are perfectly content and the temperature is just right and the only difference between this and heaven is that you know this can’t last.  baseball is slow like that.  like a masterpiece. like music.  like art.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/baseball-artfully/

Apr 23 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Reframing the Doctrine of Original Sin

Joel Green on the doctrine as a frontier for Theology and Science:

Part 1:

Clearly, the doctrine of original sin has fallen on hard times. For many of us, the notion that we all might be held accountable for the misdeed of a single, common ancestor or first couple boggles the mind as a historical and/or moral nonstarter. Increasingly, the doctrine is jettisoned from church talk altogether and those who do discuss it often first remove from the doctrine its theological teeth. How are theologians responding to this state of affairs?

Part 2:

As it turns out, a great deal depends on how one construes “original sin.” If we mean to signal that all members of the human family, at birth, are implicated in (or guilty of) Adam’s sin, then it appears that the doctrine faces seemingly insurmountable hurdles, not the least of which have to do with the lack of support from Scripture and evidence from the natural sciences. If we mean to signal that all members of the human family have this in common, that from their births they find themselves drawn to sin and that they all in fact engage in sin, quite apart from speculation about sin’s origins, then we are on surer ground with respect to Scripture, both early Christian tradition and certain currents of Christian thought subsequently, and the natural sciences today.
___
Green’s two part series (part 1, part 2) is an important read.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/reframing-the-doctrine-of-original-sin/

Apr 23 2014

First United Methodist Church Sachse Blog: Katie's Blog: Neighbor

With this year’s Lenten Zipcode Project, we challenged the congregation to fast and to donate the money saved on those meals to combat poverty. Visually, the meals were represented on the bulletin board in the Welcome Center with Post-It Notes. Using…

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/neighbor/

Apr 23 2014

Grand Rapids District: The “Us” and “Other” Perspective

I have been reading a book lately that describes the struggles individuals, from various religious traditions, face as […]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/the-us-and-other-perspective/

Apr 23 2014

Liquid Faith: John Wesley on the Natural (Fallen) State of Humanity

I am currently writing on Wesley’s doctrine of humanity. His theology is firmly grounded in a traditional understanding of original sin, and his words concerning the natural state of humanity (apart from Christ) ring as true today as they did in the 18th century. Sermon #44, ‘Original Sin’ The Scripture avers that ‘by one man’s… Read More in John Wesley on the Natural (Fallen) State of Humanity

The post John Wesley on the Natural (Fallen) State of Humanity appeared first on Liquid Faith.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/john-wesley-on-the-natural-fallen-state-of-humanity/

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