Friday, March 31, 2006


John 12:20-36 (The Message)

There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: "Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?"

Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, "Time's up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal.

"If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you'll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment's notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.

"Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? "Father, get me out of this'? No, this is why I came in the first place. I'll say, "Father, put your glory on display.'"

A voice came out of the sky: "I have glorified it, and I'll glorify it again."

The listening crowd said, "Thunder!"

Others said, "An angel spoke to him!"

Jesus said, "The voice didn't come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me." He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.

Voices from the crowd answered, "We heard from God's Law that the Messiah lasts forever. How can it be necessary, as you put it, that the Son of Man "be lifted up'? Who is this "Son of Man'?"

Jesus said, "For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn't destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don't know where you're going. 36As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You'll be children of light."

Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Y" Us?

(Notice the image to the left is not a real picture of the "Y GUY" who is our symbol of hospitality at HUMC.)

Yesterday morning I returned to the church after having been to a funeral. Something just did not seem right as I walked through the door. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but there was definitely something different.

Carolyn, one of our church office assistants came to me almost hysterical. "They took him!! They took him!!!", is all she could say over and over. I turned around and looked to the spot where "Y Guy" is always standing and sure enough- HE WAS GONE!!! And there laying in his place where a pair of old sandles.

I was appalled!! I mean sure, last week some of my youth and myself happened to be in Hendersonville hanging out and having a picnic. While out we began a conversation about how our Y-Guy is such a special part of our lives and how we have also noticed that YG has not seemed like himself lately. Someone suggested that maybe we should pick up YG's twin over at Hendersonville First UMC and let them spend some time together. It seemed like a great idea and just the right prescription for a depressed YGuy. And so we did it. And sure enough our YGuy was thrilled and seemed more like his old self.

You must know that our YGuy is ALWAYS at the front entrance of HUMC with a smile on his face waiting to greet whomever comes through the door. He shows no favortism to anyone but is always ready to extend the love of Christ to all. He is the silent servant who is always willing to hold signs, give directions or be the backdrop of some wild picture with friends. But now when people come to HUMC they are greeted by an old pair of sandles that some renegade disolutioned youth leader and his band of misguided (possibly brainwashed) youth have left behind.

So to the youth of Hendersonville UMC, we of Hermitage UMC want to say,

We love you.... you are our brothers and sisters. And we are sorry that you have been misguided by a charismatic yet renegade youth leader. He has filled you with a fabricated story about how we "kidnapped" your YGuy and held him ransom. The truth is that we had the most sincere of intentions and never meant to cause a conflict between anyone. We only wanted to try and make our YGuy feel better. Now you have taken him and we are afraid that if he is not returned he will become increasingly sick and increasingly dangerous. You have the power to stand up to your youth pastor and say, "we will not be a part of the tyranny any longer."

We are on your side and will help any way that we can. In fact if you give us our YGuy back, we'll not only be able to get him the treatment that he needs, but we'll be willing to help you get your youth leader the treatment that he needs so that he will not be inclined to make up crazy tales of youth groups breaking in to your youth room and taking things for ransom- HOW CRAZY IS THAT?

Please let us know how we can help, and let's restore order out of this madness and bring those REALLY responsible to justice. We're on your side.

Jonathon and the HUMC Youth

Saturday, March 25, 2006

JOHN 3: 14-21: "This is how much God loves the world!!"

In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up-- and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

"This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is."



Friday, March 24, 2006


Please give a hearty warm welcome to the newest blogger in the "methodist-blog-o-sphere"!! Her name is Emily and she happens to be a delightful and witty person who attends one of the coolest youth groups in the UNIVERSE....

Emily I'm glad you are blogging!!! Live long and prosper.


Jaroslav Pelikan on contemporary cultural expressions of creeds:

Out of a number of countries--Ghana, Madagascar, China--has come the effort to express in their own language the faith that they have together, to do it with their own cultural setting and vocabulary. Out of that have come reunions and their own fresh way of stating the faith. That's a very hopeful sign. My favorite is the Masai Creed.

Here in Africa, suddenly these new Christian believers--reading the gospels and receiving their faith and having to fight the hyenas around them--suddenly they read that Jesus was buried in a rock tomb, rather than underground as we bury, to keep the wild animals away. In none of these other creeds had anyone ever said anything about his being buried in a rock tomb. Suddenly "and the hyenas did not touch his body." That Jesus was "always on safari."

Things got a little hairy in my life this week as I took on the role as leader of an extremist metho-terror organization and got caught up in a small war. So my "week with" series will be pushed into next week now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


So much for Gavin and gang not agreeing to negotiate with metho-terrorists. They are fighting back and fighting dirty.
All I have to say to you "Just War Boyee" is "WATCH YOUR BACK"!!

SIR MADAME DRAKES CREEK DUCK POOPENSHIRE is on the prowl. And if you are wondering if you should be scared or not.... Let's just say that the producers of "24" were considering killing off Jack Bauer and asking her to take his place. She's CRAZY!!!

The People's Front of the Cumberland District Youth: "We Put the Fist In PaciFist"!!


Times Up Gavo!!


Say Hello to "Y"att Duke.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Listen carefully, we represent People's Front of The Columbia District Youth. At the moment we have your Y Guy and he is safe and unharmed and if your youth group wants to see him again you will follow our instructions.

We want a picture of the youth pastor with a shaved head delivered to the Bongo Java Cafe East by tomorrow morning at 8am.

Failure to meet our demands will result in brainwashing the Y Guy into believing he is actually the long lost brother to Bo and Luke Duke, Y-att Duke.

We know you do not want that to happen so do not let us down.

The PFCDY (hermitage umc youth)

UPDATE (3-23-06; 12:05am):

We have a response to our demands and it looks like they want to play hardball. VIVA LA REVOLUTION, GRINGOS!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


"To Become a Certified Candidate
1. Submit written response to questions in ¶311.3 (b)

Question 2: What is your understanding of the ministries of deacons, local pastors, and elders within The United Methodist Church?


My understanding of the order of deacon is that the deacon is ordained to “a lifetime ministry of Word and Service” [1]. Deacons are a unique order different in role and function from their cousins in ordained ministry- the Elder/Traveling Minister, and the Licensed Local Pastor. The distinct roles of deacon that sets them apart for ministry is that they are clergy who 1. do not iternerate; 2. are specifically set apart for the ministry of “service”; and 3. serve one another as a “covenant community” of mutual accountability and support.[2]

Deacons serve a unique role as clergy in that they are not called to itinerate. As an order who is called to be in ministry of specific “service” to a certain congregation or community, I believe there are strong benefits to this. As I mentioned before, this order is set apart for the ministry of “Word and Service”. As the order of Deacon has been shaping itself over the last several years- the emphasis to a ministry of “service” is played out in many ways such as: social work, Christian Education positions, business administrators, musicians, and various other service oriented positions. Within these various kinds of work, to have consistency of presence could be very healthy for the life of the community who is impacted by these various roles and ministers. Because of the nature of the ministry of the deacon, he or she is responsible for initiating his or her own employment. So while they are members of annual conference, they are employed by a local church or agency on a different basis from other clergy. [3]


Local pastors have a rich history within the Methodist movement but also maintain a rather ambiguous role within contemporary United Methodism. Although local pastors are not ordained, they are persons “who are licensed as ministers to preach and conduct worship services and to perform the duties of a pastor under appointment, such as administering the sacraments.”[4] Historically, local pastors have been a foundation of support for our denomination where there are far more local churches than ordained clergy, providing pastoral leadership for many small member congregations. Local pastors are divided into three categories, all of which have to complete a candidacy process and receive a local pastor’s license.[5] The Student local pastor serves the role of local pastor while he or she is attending to a pre-theological or theological degree program. After they complete the requirements they may choose to continue on a specific ordained ministry track of Elder or Deacon’s orders. Part Time Local Pastors are appointed to a charge on a part time basis. Full Time Local Pastors are appointed to a local church on a full time basis with at least the minimum salary established by the annual conference.[6]

Although in many ways the licensed local pastor’s role looks similar to that of the Elder or Travelling Minister, there are some differences. Local Pastors are set apart to administer sacraments and oversee the equipping of a congregation’s vision and mission, but they are commissioned to do so in one specific congregation that they are serving. Local pastors also do not itinerate although they are under appointment by the Bishop of their annual conference.[7] Also, the local pastor has to renew his or her license every year.


The order of Elder goes back to the Methodist renewal movement in Britain and the early frontier of America. From their beginning the Elder/Traveling Preacher’s intention has been embodied in a covenant to which all preachers have subjected themselves. Every Methodist preacher is considered a missionary who is part of a set apart Mission Community to whom each are accountable to. “Every preacher since their inception has been given a place to preach; and likewise every preacher agrees to go where sent.”[8] The traditional term “traveling preacher” indicates the role of missionary that the elder takes on through itinerating under appointment, also having the authority to administer the sacraments. [9] No further or “higher” order exists in United Methodism; bishops remain elders.”[10]

Elders are set apart and called to preach. Along with this specific call, the elder ought to exhibit the gifts and graces necessary for assisting a congregation on their spiritual pilgrimage as a faith community.

Elders are also responsible to others within the covenant community of elders. As the Book of Discipline states, “Elders in full connection with an annual conference by virtue of their election and ordination are bound in special covenant with all the ordained elders of the annual conference.”[11]

Elders, as a part of a missionary community, agrees to itinerate. A United Methodist pastor ought to view himself/herself as a missionary who is assigned to a local church on “behalf” of a wider connectional church. So, the pastor is charged with assisting a congregation in planning, goal setting its mission- while nurturing along the empowerment of the laity to do the “work of the people” within their congregation.

[1] 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶ 320; (United Methodist Publishing House, 2004)

[2] 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶ 320; (United Methodist Publishing House, 2004)

[3] Frank, Thomas Edward; Polity Practice and Mission of the United Methodist Church; (Abingdon Press; 1997); p. 183

[4] Waltz, Alan K., A Dictionary For United Methodists; (Abingdon Press; 1991) p. 118

[5] Frank, p. 185

[6] Frank, p. 185

[7], Lynn Daye, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, (website accessed March 21, 2006)

[8] Frank, Thomas Edward; Polity Practice and Mission of the United Methodist Church; (Abingdon Press; 1997); p. 187

[9] Frank; p. 188

[10] Frank; p.188

[11] 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶ 307; (United Methodist Publishing House, 2004)


1. 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline; (United Methodist Publishing House, 2004)

2. Dave, Lynn;, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, (website accessed March 21, 2006)

3. Frank, Thomas Edward; Polity Practice and Mission of the United Methodist Church; (Abingdon Press; 1997)

4. Waltz, Alan K., A Dictionary For United Methodists; (Abingdon Press; 1991)


¶311.2: The Declaring Candidate 1. Consult with pastor and request for recommendation from S/P-PRC 2. High school degree or equivalent 3. Written statement of call and interview by Pastor/Staff Parish Relations Committee 4. Recommendation by charge conference 5. Continue candidacy program with candidacy mentor and academic requirements (From the UM Book of Discipline)

Last night I had the pleasure of sitting before a called Charge Conference at Blakemore United Methodist Church (the church at which I'm a member) where the Pastor, Paul Gardner, presented me as a candidate for ordained ministry. I was also joined by a fellow friend and candidate in the process, Angela Hawkins, who happens to also be a student at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Paul opened up with telling a bit about the role of a congregation in this part of the candidate's journey toward ordination. He explained that at this state the charge conference was gathered to vote whether or not to support myself and Angela and recommend us to the Annual Conference to be considered for ordained ministry.

Angela and I had the opportunity to then share a bit about our faith journey and call to ministry. Then the congregation asked questions and said wonderful words of encouragement and affirmation. It was a great experience to sit among friends and former collegues in ministry and be affirmed that God is indeed at work in my life and ministry.

At this point there was a vote taken (which was unanimous) and then a formal presentation and closing prayer.

I feel really blessed to have Blakemore as my homebase congregation and am glad to have friends who I know walk with me in prayer. I guess I'm now getting closer to meeting with the Board of Ordained Ministry and am looking forward to Licensing School in May.



Jaroslav Pelikan on Creeds and whether or not they are outdated today:

...In my book, I raise the question "Do creeds have a future as well as a past?" I invoke the analogy of a CD. There's nothing more static than a CD: they stack up on a shelf, get dusty. They can go from year to year without ever touching anyone. But anytime you want to, you can put that CD in a player and all of a sudden out comes the Credo from the B minor mass of Bach. It's been there all along.

So it is with creeds and their history. At crucial times, when you can no longer count on your own strength of will, character, conviction, and guts, you simply say "I don't know where I am right now, but I want to be part of the company that says 'I believe in one God.'"


What Jaroslav says here is the precise reason that I find liturgy and fixed cycle prayer so meaningful. There are times that I don't have the words to express what I feel, or think, or times that I feel so distant from God and my faith that I simply don't know what to pray. But to be able to connect with and say liturgy that has sustained "OUR STORY" of who we are continues to shape and form me, even when I can't rely on my own will to do so.

I suppose that creeds, and liturgy of the church becomes a powerful means of grace when those moments come up.

that's all for now.


Monday, March 20, 2006



"Creeds function the way a constitution functions in a political society--as a statement of shared principles and convictions, and a celebration of those convictions. Just as we, in the American political order, cherish and value individual freedom but believe that freedom is protected both from external force and from its own internal threat by a constitution and the bill of rights, so a creed is a way of enshrining faith in such a way that people can go on affirming it..."

Reading this quote from Pelikan makes me think that the creeds could be an invaluable source of common ground for a very polarized American church. The creeds, especially some of the ancient ones such as the Nicene and the Apostles Creed, can be common ground for a church who so desperately is in need of unity. As I read them I see the very basic tennents of faith that I would hope all Christians agree upon. It's once we begin to add the "hows... whys... who... etc...." to the creeds that we begin to get devisive. It reminds me of all the many and superfluous rules and laws that evolved over time for the Jewish people in the Bible. Have we made it too difficult to agree with one another in the church? I don't think so, since all things are possible with God, but I do think we make it way too difficult and cumbersome.

shalom all,


It's been a long while since I have offered out a "Week With..." series. And one voice that I've come across over the last few weeks is Jaroslav Pelikan. Thank you Dr. Spaulding for assigning, as usual, challenging but wonderful thinkers for your students to wrestle with.

Pelikan, aka "THE DOCTRINE DOCTOR" is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University where he served on the faculty from 1962-96. He is the immediate past president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is one of the world’s leading scholars in the history of Christianity and has authored more than 30 books including the five volume The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine (1971-89). He has written more books on Christian history than I have had lame ideas and he is one of the most respected Christian historians of our age.

So I hope you enjoy this week's WEEK WITH JAROSLAV PELIKAN!!!

Friday, March 17, 2006


If anyone sees a wandering 15 year old buddha walking your streets please contact:

c/o Buddhist Maha Vihara 123,
Jalan Berhala,
off Jalan Tun Sambanthan,
50470 Kuala Lumpur.
Telephone: 603-2274 1142 / 603-2272 1141 / 603-7981 5595 / 012-200 3263 / 012 - 398 2483 / 012 - 277 3081 / 012 - 3309 518
Fax: 603-2274 1143

But really, please keep this 15 year old boy, Ram Bahadur Banjan, in prayer that he is safe and protected and will return to where he needs to be when the timing is right...



MySpace Pictures

Prayer of St. Patrick:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

for more on the life of this saint, click here or....

take the st. patties day quiz.

Thursday, March 16, 2006



March 16 - July 16 - Nov. 15

Although human nature itself is inclined to be compassionate toward the elderly and the young, the authority of the rule should also provide for them. Since their lack of strength must always be taken into account, they should certainly not be required to follow the strictness of the rule with regard to food, but should be treated with kindly consideration and allowed to eat before the regular hours. - from the Rule of St. Benedict

A while back I was driving to a middle school to have lunch with one of my students. I happened to be leaving the downtown Cokesbury when I was pulled over by a police officer. I knew that I had been speeding down the street, it was true- I had gotten in a hurry because I was running late and had gotten caught.

The officer walked up to my window and was less than cordial in his tone and demeaner toward me. In fact, I'd say that his initial tone was borderline rude and chastizing. As he peered into my car I thought for a second he was going to ask me to get out and begin to search me and the vehicle. He asked me how old I was, and I told him 32. He gave me a double take and then walked back to his car. When he came back his composure and demeaner had changed. He addressed me as Mr. Norman and was much nicer, asking me to pay closer attention and to drive a bit slower. I pulled off wondering if I had looked several years older instead of several years younger if he would have treated me the same way....

A few weeks ago for the first time in a long time our congregation was served communion by teenagers. I was excited and so were they. One of the guys in the youth group, a sophomore, looked at me after it was over and said, "Wow, that was awesome." One of the ladies on our staff said that after that worship service she had to go to Target and she happened to see two of the girls in our group- freshmen in high school. They could have talked about anything to her in passing but they chose to say, "GUESS WHAT!!? WE GOT TO SERVE COMMUNION TODAY!!"....

I heard later that there were some complaints about having teens serve communion in worship. Some people had felt that having a teenager serve them took away from the sacred nature of the sacrament. I also heard lots of positive feedback too, that it was meaningful to see teenagers participating in the life of worship...

When I was pulled over by that police officer that day- I felt like I was a second class citizen and somehow not quite an equal nor even a good person. It was all in his tone and body language... As I heard the story of someones displeasure with youth assisting with serving communion I felt somehow that even in the church we can sometimes treat certain groups as second class citizens....

In a world that does not accomodate teenagers very well unless we're marketing to them and relying on their "impressionable minds" and pokets to carry our economy, can we as the Church practice a different model of saying, "You are a vital part of who we are NOW!! Your gifts, your talents, and your service is valued- not just in cleaning up and putting up tables and chairs at dinners but in being a WHOLE part of this community with a voice".... I hope that's where we are, cause I know they need that empowerment and the Church needs their gifts, raw creativity, ability to venture outside the box, and spirit energy.

I think there is hope within the United Methodist Church for the future if today we are willing to embrace all ages and all people and include them together in the participation of stories and practices that make us a unique community.


A man is not old until regrets take the place of

- John Barrymore

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I am sooo upset!! I was going to have maybe the craziest blogpost to hit the methodist blogosphere but as it ends up technology has gotten the best of me.

Tonight I met up with fellow bloggers Gavin, Cole Wakefield, Thunder Jones (our beloved Anglican in the group) and Shane Raynor at the Mellow Mushroom for a little pizza, bevs of choice, good theological conversation and overall festive merriment. The Muses were having there way with us cause at times it got heated, at other times hysterical, and lots of fun.

I was so excited though, cause I brought my recording equipment and thought I'd do a little on the spot podcasting. Can I just say that maybe it was a mixed blessing that my computer decided tonight to freeze up on me and then crash. No recovery for the 1 1/2 hour free for all. There was some pretty racey conversation going on that at times would have made the crew from Monty Python blush and at others I thought we were going to have an Ecclessial Cage Match.

I'm sorry that I didn't get the fun podcast that I wanted but nevertheless what a great evening. I'm sure if you check the other guy's blogs, they will have more details on the actual conversations. For now, I'm off to finish up preparation for my Wed. night small group.




Saint Euphrasia, born in Constantinople, was the daughter of noble and pious parents, honored by the pious Emperor Theodosius and the Empress of that city. After the early death of Antigonus, her father, her mother consecrated her widowhood to God, and retired with their only child into Egypt, where she possessed a very large estate. In those days there were many monasteries of nuns as well as of holy cenobites; in one single city there were twenty thousand such holy women, consecrated to Jesus Christ. EuphrasiaÂ’s mother chose to reside near a monastery of one hundred and thirty nuns, which she often visited, accompanied by Euphrasia. When the little girl, seven years of age, begged that she might be permitted to serve God in this monastery, the pious mother wept for joy.

Then the mother led her before an image of our Redeemer, and lifting up her hands to heaven said, “Lord Jesus Christ, receive this child under Your special protection. It is You alone whom she loves and seeks; to You she recommends herself.” Then leaving her in the hands of the abbess, she went out of the monastery weeping. She continued her life of prayer and mortification, and a few years later, when this good mother fell sick, she slept in peace.

On receiving the news of her death, Theodosius sent for the noble virgin to come to court, as he considered himself her protector, and already during her childhood had arranged for her to be married to a young senator of Constantinople, when she would reach a suitable age. But the virgin wrote him, refusing the alliance, repeating her vow of virginity, and requesting that her estates be sold and divided among the poor, and all her slaves set at liberty. The emperor punctually executed all her wishes, shortly before his death in 395.

Saint Euphrasia was a perfect pattern of humility, meekness, and charity. If she found herself assaulted by any temptation, she immediately sought the advice of the abbess, who often on such occasions assigned to her some humbling and painful penitential labor, which she would execute to perfection. Once she moved a pile of great rocks from one place to another, continuing for thirty days with wonderful simplicity, until the devil, vanquished by her humble obedience, left her in peace. She became powerful over the demons, and delivered many possessed persons. She cured a child who was paralyzed, deaf and dumb, making the sign of the cross over him and saying, “May He who created you, heal you!” She was favored with other miracles also, both before and after her death, which occurred in the year 412, the thirtieth of her age. from lives of the saint


Today in reading about the life of St. Euphrasia I am reminded of the many faces and friends that I made growing up in North Nashville, a part of Nashville where more than 85% of the people live below the poverty line, are predominantly African American, live in the highest crime area, AND had a very central part of raising me as a child.

I took some time away from ministry a couple of years ago and ran a small grocery store in the neighborhood and although it was tough work, it was meaningful. I was able to connect with the neighborhood and give back to folks who I feel had been a part of shaping my values and "way of life".

Today as I reflect on St. Euphrasia, I am acknowledging how difficult it is to be in full time ministry in a suburban church and still remain connected to the families who shaped me. Jesus walked alongsidemarginalizedlized, he stayed in their homes, called them friends.

My prayer today is that I do not lose touch with my roots, but that I would find ways to continue to live authentically and help others around me connect and build relationships and friendships that truly model the Kingdom of God.

A Prayer for today:
Your blessed Son became poor that through His poverty we might become rich: Deliver us, we pray, from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of Your servant Ephrasia, may serve You with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come. Amen. from the Book of Common Prayer

Friday, March 10, 2006


Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, "Who do the people say I am?"
"Some say "John the Baptizer,'" they said. "Others say "Elijah.' Still others say "one of the prophets.'"

He then asked, "And you--what are you saying about me? Who am I?"

Peter gave the answer: "You are the Christ, the Messiah."

Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: "It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive." He said this simply and clearly so they couldn't miss it.

But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. "Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works."

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

"If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I'm leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you'll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels."



Tuesday, March 07, 2006


"To Become a Certified Candidate
1. Submit written response to questions in ¶311.3 (b)
& (c) providing evidence of understanding and
expectation concerning.... "

My understanding of God's call to licensed or ordained ministry and the role of the church in your call

My understanding of God’s call to licensed or ordained ministry is rooted in the idea that although God calls all people to participate in God’s vision of Shalom in the world, God also calls certain people to be “set apart” for guiding the “People of God” to live out that vision. Licensed and ordained ministry is a ministry that constitutes one who is spiritual director, shepherd and nurturer, sometimes a prophet, and sacramental living. All these different roles are embodied at different moments by the pastor/deacon who is called to ordained or licensed ministry.

The person called to licensed or ordained ministry is called by God to be a spiritual director in the life of a congregation. A spiritual director is someone who helps people tells the stories of their lives and to see those stories as part of the Sacred Story of God, Israel and Jesus. It is important for a congregation to see itself as a living part of God’s continuing “story” in the world. Through the weekly invitation to participate in the “stories” of faith, expressed through liturgy, prayer, hearing the Word and partaking of the sacrament of communion people can experience the means of grace that God offers.

The person called to licensed or ordained ministry can also be seen as a shepherd or nurturer in the life of the community. According to the document, “GIFTED2SERVE”, the gift of shepherding is, "The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the welfare of a group of believers."[1] The ordained or licensed shepherd ought to show concern and a desire to nurture all people in the life of a congregation- children, youth, and adults of all ages. And it’s important that the shepherd be willing to equip laypersons of all ages to become effective shepherds, as well.

Probably the most unpopular role that God calls the set apart ministry of the licensed and ordained is that of prophet. To be a prophet is to “show special ability that God gives to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to God’s people with authority and urgency perceived by the hearers.”[2] Sometimes this roles means that God’s words may be hard for a congregation to hear, or be an unpopular stand that goes against what popular culture is claiming outside the faith community of the Church. But being prophetic at certain times and helping a congregation discern its place and role in the world community can also be quite a transforming experience.

Lastly, I would suggest that one who is called to licensed or ordained ministry is called to a sacramental life. Although in the United Methodist Church elders and licensed local pastors are only to administer sacraments, I think it’s important that Elder, Local Pastor and Deacon all live a life that embodies “Sacrament”. This means that those called to ordained or licensed ministry observe certain “practices” or “means of grace” that are not only outward signs of God’s grace but actually over time help to transform us more into the image of God.

One who is called to ordained or licensed ministry can only live that calling out in the life of a congregational community. God calls God’s people to live in community with one another- to be a Body- each with a unique role. The pastor as spiritual director, as shepherd, as prophet and sacramental embodiment together suggests that the one who is called to ordained/licensed ministry is called to empower and equip others to know the Story of God and God’s People, to live the Story of God and God’s People, and to spread the Story of God and God’s People.

Works Cited:

1. Gifted 2 Serve,




I spent a great day today making WOPi.... also known as The Way of Pilgrimage: Companions in Christ For Youth by Upper Room. I was definitely in great company and was even told that making wopi could change the world. Now that's the kind of movement that I want to be a part of. For more on the day, check out Gavo's post here.

shalom all,