In the previous post I shared a bit of what I saw to be the difference in the Work of God and God’s Work. As a reminder here is the short list:Healing (Work of God) —- Resurrecting (God’s Work)Guiding (Work of God) —- I…
While their service is essential, Christians must be careful not to think they’re taking on the work that only God can do, writes the Rev. Jason Valendy.
The Rev. Jason Valendy offers a handy tool for making sure your Bible study is healthy.
The Church universal is an institution that attempts to do the Work of God. Among the number of specifics the Church does, there are at least four areas of the Work of God the Church engages in: healing, guiding, sustaining and reconciling.However, doi…
There is a little tool called the Johari Window which is used to “help people better understand their relationship with themselves and others.” It looks like this:
The Wesleyan Covenant Association doesn’t have exclusive rights to define what is “Wesleyan” or “orthodox” about The United Methodist Church, and its “like-minded people” goal poses a genuine threat, says the Rev. Jason Valendy.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association is a group of United Methodist clergy and laity. For anyone who has heard of the WCA but is not aware of what it is, the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) stated purpose open with the following statement:
“The Wesleyan Covenant Association (“WCA”) is an association of congregations, clergy persons, and laity who desire to cooperate in the mission of the WCA to promote the ministry of the gospel from a Wesleyan theological perspective within The United Methodist Church and kindred bodies.”
Like all organizations, the WCA uses particular words to define what it is. Some of the words that are most commonly used in the material that I come across are “Wesleyan”, “orthodox”, “evangelical”, and “covenant keeping”. Like any organization who defines itself, there are critics who say the WCA is claiming sole ownership of what it means to be, say, “Wesleyan” or “orthodox.” I am thankful for the WCA giving members of the UMC to consider again what it means to be “evangelical” and/or “covenant keeping.” Just as the no one Church has the exclusive rights to claim “Christian” so to the WCA does not have exclusive rights to a number of other defining qualities of the UMC.
In all the discerning work on what it means to be Methodist, there is one descriptor the WCA uses that gives me the most concern and frankly is, from my standpoint, the cause of a great amount of tension in our world.
The WCA has a “like-minded people” (LMP) problem.
Is surrounding ourselves with LMP a form of egocentrism?
In the WCA “statements” page the LMP problem shows up a half dozen times. In a recent video put out by the WCA, Rev. Madeline Henners lets the listener know:
“Of course everyone is welcome to attend the Wesleyan Covenant Association Conference, however I do want to make two specific invitations. The first is to pastors and congregations of small to medium-sized churches. Depending on which conference you’re located in, sometimes you may feel like your voice is not heard or even dismissed. We want you to know that your voice matters to the Wesleyan Covenant Association. I’d also like to personally invite any young clergy who are in the process of being ordained or recently ordained. We want you to feel connected and supported to like-minded brothers and sisters, who not only are seeking to restore integrity to our covenant, but are seeking to belong to a vital Wesleyan movement.”
It seems that LMP is a feature and not a bug in the WCA system. I believe this to be a problem.
If the current state of U.S. politics teaches us, it is that we all are falling short and missing the mark (AKA: Sin) when we surround ourselves with only agreement. Confirmation bias is part of the human condition. However, the Church is the place that understands that the Grace of God works in and through us to open us up. The Grace of God reminds us that God loves all people — even if they are not like-minded.
I am working to repent of the LMP in my own life. I have subscribed to a web browser extension (Escape Your Bubble) which puts news stories from “the other side” directly into my Facebook feed. I have begun to access most of my news from allsides.com – “Unlike regular news services, AllSides exposes bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so you can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant.” Finally, I have been intentional on listening with curiosity to people in my congregation that have a completely different values than I do.
Lent is the season to repent. It is the season to embrace, once again, a humble posture to the reality that we see through a mirror only dimly. It is the season to die to self and be reborn (not just a change of heart but a completely new heart).
Can lent 2017 be the time we cure our LMP problem?
Just a reminder that Jesus did not die to forgive you. While Jesus did die, and while you are forgiven, the G…
Sometimes we share with others our sense of anger and outrage on matters that we are not directly related to. This practice is often thought of as a way to be prophetic and/or bring about change. It also has a “martyring” effect in that it could bring harm to the one expressing outrage (such as one expressing outrage over Presidents Trump or Obama may feel like they are “taking one for the team”). However, there is some evidence to suggest this action is self-serving. Here is the opening lines from the study:
When people publicly rage about perceived injustices that don’t affect them personally, we tend to assume this expression is rooted in altruism—a “disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” But new research suggests that professing such third-party concern—what social scientists refer to as “moral outrage”—is often a function of self-interest, wielded to assuage feelings of personal culpability for societal harms or reinforce (to the self and others) one’s own status as a Very Good Person. (http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/01/moral-outrage-is-self-serving)
The article goes on to talk about this in depth, but the part I want to highlight is how to listen to outrage.
Often we listen to outrage of others with a desire to let the other person know we understand. One way we do this is by taking on some of their outrage. This “taking on” aspect of emotions of another person is over-functioning and inserting yourself into the center of the story of another. When someone inserts themselves into the center of my outrage, then I am quick to let that person carry my outrage for me. Meaning, that I will outsource my outrage to anyone who will be willing to carry it for me so that I don’t have to deal with it.
Listening to the outrage of another means that you are willing to let them own their emotions and give them the space to do the work that is needed to learn from the emotions. If we take the work that is theirs to do, then we are stunting another in their maturation.
When we listen to outrage, it is important to remember that the emotions of the one outraged are their own feelings and you don’t have to own them. When we take on the rage of another then we cannot deal with our own emotional lives – thus stunting our own maturation.
Lent can be identified as the season of repenting. Repenting is the idea of turning around and come back to God. Christians often talk about repentance, but I am not sure that makes us better at it. This might be because we forget the most difficult pa…