Walking as Jesus Walked

Having the Mind of Christ

Monday, October 24, 2011

Theological Forum on Preaching Christ

The Third Annual Wesleyan Theological Forum in the Indiana Conference is set to take place on Tuesday, November 15th, at 9:00 a.m. at Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin, Indiana.  Professor Mike Pasquarello of Asbury Seminary and Dr. Derek Weber of Aldersgate UMC will be coming to lead the Forum focusing on the theme “Preaching Christ in the Wesleyan Tradition.”  This continuing education event is open to clergy and laity.  Cost is $40.00, which includes lunch. 

Dr. Pasquarello is the Granger E. and Anna A. Fisher Professor of Preaching and Biblical Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary.   He received his B.A. from The Master’s College and his M.Div. from the Duke Divinity School.  His Ph. D. is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Dr. Pasquarello has published many books on preaching and pastoral ministry, including a forthcoming book entitled John Wesley: Homiletic Theologian (Abingdon).  He and he wife, Patti, have two children.
Derek Weber received his undergraduate degree in Speech and Theatre from the University of Indianapolis.  His Ph. D. is in Practical Theology with a concentration on Homiletics and Media/Communication from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland).  Derek has taught preaching in the Course of Study in Indiana, and for fourteen years served the Dean of the Academy of Preaching in the former North Conference.

Following lunch Mike and Derek will be sharing in a preaching practicum to engage participants in the tasks of preaching Christ in the Wesleyan tradition. 
For more information, please contact Andy Kinsey via email andy.kinsey@inumc.org, or pastorandy@franklingrace.org.

Persons can register by going to the Conference Website www.inumc.org; click “Resources” on left hand side and go to Wesleyan Connexion Project.  Register online.  Note the map and directions to Grace UMC.    
Hope to see folks there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Choosing to Live

Have you ever read something that captures what you have been thinking? 

In his opening chapter in The Republice of Grace: Augustinian Thoughts in Dark Times, Charles Matthews writes the following about choosing to live our faith in a world of ambivalence and violence.  Beginning with a quote from Reinhold Neibuhr, Matthews states:  "'It is no easy task to do justice to the obligations to do justice to the disctinctions of good and evil in history; and also to subordinate all these relative judgments and achievements to the final truth about life and history which is proclaimed in the Gospel.'"  He continues: "More deeply than discrete positions, I want to introduce Christians to a way of living their faith more thoughtfully than they may currently be living it.  I want to wake people up to the challenges they face to their faith, their prayer life, their ability to love, their ability to be grateful, their ability to be joyful, their ability to care.  Christians need to believe again - to have faith in God, but also belief in our capacity to challenge ourselves and change the way we have chosen to live.  We need to turn from cynicism and scorn, from selfishness and avarice, from lassitude and despair, and to affirm that this is our world, and that its suffering and peril are not cause for retreat but urgent reason to recommit to serving God's purposes in it, that its vulnerability is not inducement to shield ourselves behind brittle walls but reason to care all the more.  Behold, today we have set before us, as perhaps never before in human history, life, and death, and as never before, me must choose to live" (p. 7).

Reflection on the Call

I came across a helpful reflection about the call to the ministry from the Lutheran theologian Joseph Sittler.  Noting what it means to be ordained, Sittler writes in his book Gravity and Grace: Reflections and Provocations, "I am not ordained to fulfill my precious self."  Continuing to share about a student who felt called into the ministry, Sittler continues: "One student had a list of things her first call had to have:  it had to be in an urban setting; it had to be with certain kinds of Chicanos, blacks, and poor whites; it had to be in a cultural setting where she could enjoy theater and other activities."  Keeping in mind I Samuel 3, Sittler goes on to responde to the student by sharing:  "You know, it's as if the Bible says, 'Listen, Lord, thy servant speaketh,' instead of 'Speak, Lord, thy servant is listening.'  The church is going to dump you someplace that may have little to do with your agenda.  And it will offer the kind of challenge, humiliation, embarrassment, and opportunity that you didn't foresee" (p. 58).

This is a tough 'call'!  I can appreciate the student's response:  to what kind of ministry is Christ calling me to serve, with all my gifts, graces, weaknesses, etc.?  Then again, can I fail to listen to God's voice calling me to places I may not have considered?

Helping one another understand the call is part and parcel of discerning the Spirit.  It is part and parcel of reflecting on God's gracious claim on our lives.