Editor’s Picks — July 9, 2013

Here are some of the things we’ve been following today, with some questions for discussion:

Christian alternative to Boy Scouts plans first convention in Nashville
In the wake of the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay participation, a group is announcing the creation of a “Christian” alternative. 

Will the creation of a Christian (non-gay accepting)  alternative to the Boy Scouts lead other UMC’s to consider dropping their relationship to the Scouts? How is this in any way missional?

Brainerd UMC helps parents of special needs kids
Timefreepress.com ran a great story on the special needs ministry of the Brainerd UMC in the Holston Annual Conference. 

What have been some of the creative ministries for folks with special needs that you’ve seen?

Indiana legislature passes law that makes it a crime for clergy to perform gay weddings
For clergy in Indiana, choosing to defy church law on conducting same-sex ceremonies has a secondary consequence — a criminal record. 

What does this legislation mean for the future of the concept of “separation of church and state?” Do we want the state defining the nature of Christian marriage?

Why everyone should go on a “confirmission” retreat
Josh Fitzpatrick from the First UMC in Duncanville, TX reports on his youth group’s “confirmission” retreat, and the questions parents asked when the kids got home.

Josh asks the question: “Can you imagine if our churches welcomed the “stranger” with as much enthusiasm as our youth group welcomed these confirmands?  What if the moment someone stepped foot onto our church campus we gave them the feeling of being hoisted onto someone’s shoulders as if they were a hero? ”
How do we begin to create cultures in congregations that lead them to embrace new folks in that way?

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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