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From memory to vision in mission work

By Thomas Kemper, Special Contributor… In FOCUS, one of the booklets published by Abingdon Press as part of the preparation for General Conference, Professor Lovett Weems observes that our church is in a time of transition between “memory” and “vision.” It is also true to say that our United Methodist mission theology and practice are in […]

In search of a cure for ‘MTD’

By John Meunier and Kenda Creasy Dean, Special Contributors… Editor’s note: This column is adapted from a blog posting by the Rev. John Meunier, and a response to that post by the Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean. First, Mr. Meunier: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism may very well be the default religion of most mainline Protestants. I first […]

UMC facing ‘slow, agonizing, organizational death’

By Maria Dixon Hall, Special Contributor… The other day, in an attempt to get some distance between me and the traumatic event now forever etched in my brain as General Conference 2012, I decided to brave the Texas heat and work on my flowerbeds and ideas for the lawn. Isisas Barrario, my faithful landscape and lawn […]

Our stubborn system: A reflection on GC2012

By Ben Boruff, Special Contributor… May 4 was a big day. As delegates waded through petitions and amendments on the last day of General Conference, I finished my spring semester as a senior at Indiana University. I had four finals that week, including tests for classes like British Film and The Music of Bob Dylan. […]

In class meetings, we ask: ‘How is it with your soul?’

By Kevin Watson, Special Contributor… I am increasingly convinced that efforts to find renewal within the Wesleyan tradition are dependent on the denomination’s ability to return to the place where transformation happened in the beginnings of the Wesleyan movement: the class meeting. However, the class meeting has not only been largely abandoned, but the language […]

With GC finished, can we focus on connection?

By Ben Gosden, Special Contributor… Thoughts from a young pastor as General Conference 2012 comes to a close: Grace and peace to everyone who has worked so hard to make General Conference 2012 happen. A special thanks to all of the leaders, delegates, bishops, agency representatives and lay people who gave up two weeks to […]

‘Old wineskins’ thinking hurts black churches

By F. Douglas Powe Jr., Special Contributor… Churches are struggling with their evangelistic outreach. What worked in the past doesn’t seem to work today. In studying African American churches, I have come to see something prevalent across a range of churches. Their evangelistic practices are not wrong so much as they are based on assumptions […]

Church agency structure is overdue for overhaul

By Kent Millard, Special Contributor… If a local United Methodist congregation was organized and administrated like the general agencies of the denomination, we would have a silo-driven, competitive and dysfunctional congregation. For example, we realize how dysfunctional it would be if the local congregational education committee, music committee and missions committee each owned and operated […]

Losing old structures for new life

By Jim Harnish, Special Contributor • • • None of us really wants to die. The desire for life is planted so deeply with us that we naturally resist the threat of death. We rebel against it, fight with it, and use all of our power of human wisdom to attempt to defeat it. Our […]

Lessons for the UMC from a Quaker theologian

As a labor of love, my wife decided this winter to catalog all my books and place a Dewey Decimal System label on each spine. It saves both time in looking for a book and the expense of ordering a duplicate if I can’t find what I remember having read! Neither of us had any […]