Here are a few of the things I've been reading online, as well as something to which I've been listening! All the links are below the fold with a little (okay, a fair bit) of commentary.
Native Americans and the United Methodist Church:
I grew up in Oklahoma. It's a small enough state that it seems like there should only be one UMC conference there, but there are actually two: the Oklahoma Conference and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
The Methodist church (like a lot of churches, but we should never deny responsibility) did a lot of ill the late 1800s and early 1900s in its interactions with Native American nations. But as the article points out, there is ongoing repentance and healing, and I strongly believe in and support the current work of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. I believe its existence is important, and I'm grateful for this article and the service with the Council of Bishops and Connectional Table that it highlights.
David F. Watson responds to the call for prayer from the Council of Bishops:
Predictably, since it was related to the discussions surrounding church language and policy on sexuality, the response to the call for prayer was really mixed, and as Watson says, it's gotten a lot of criticism. Maybe it is problematic that this is the most unified statement that could come out of the Council, but I don't think that's the point. I think this is the most wise statement.
We should be in prayer for the church, for the church leaders, for the delegates and potential delegates to General Conference, for everyone who will influence GC legislation through next year's Annual Conferences, and above all for God to be with us and for the Spirit to be working in and among us, that empowered by the Spirit we might make disciples for Christ. That is the goal. And I love what Watson says:
"I’m not going to pray for unity for its own sake or for the preservation of an institution. I’m going to pray that out of this struggle and chaos and pain, God will bring renewal and call into being a church that is focused clearly on God’s purposes. I’m going to pray that the people called Methodists will renew their commitment to making disciples of Jesus Christ and engaging in works of piety, justice, and mercy."
I have been guilty in the past of focusing too much on unity for its own sake. Being in prayer - in conversation with God - brings the focus back to the right place.
April Fiet's sermon on the ten bridesmaids:
The sermon I heard at church focused on the wise vs the foolish, and there is value in that, but that's not the direction Rev. Fiet goes. This is beautiful, and I think it makes the same call as the other focus with a different power.
The Threshing Floor podcast:
I discovered The Threshing Floor a week and a half ago when the 27th episode was posted, and I've since listened to 21 or 22 episodes. (And some of those twice. Umm.) The one I linked is the 18th, in which one of the hosts is actually missing, so it's maybe not the best intro to the podcast. However, it's about the sacramental life, and I love the discussions Drew and Josh have around the activities that we call sacraments, other ordinances that are sometimes and sometimes not regarded as sacraments, and moments that are sacramental for us.
In general, I just love the tone of the show, enjoy listening to Chad and Drew and Josh, and find their spiritual conversations really thought-provoking.
An article about (a book about) how John Wesley read the Bible:
I've been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be a person of One Book, so this was really interesting. I'd like to ready Randy Maddox's book.
Tom Lambrecht's notes from the New Room Conference on Alan and Debra Hirsch's talk about mission and incarnational ministry:
The Threshing Floor has a New Room podcast, and they actually talked about this particular set of talks, so I was really glad to happen upon these notes this week. Evangelism and mission are also things that have been on my mind recently, especially because I pretty closely follow the updated-weekly blog of an LDS acquaintance who is on mission in Finland. I think it's really important that we thinking about ministry in terms of incarnation, and I love the 6 Ps.