Tag Archives: general conference

Cell Phones: Fail.

Remember Failblog? Well I’ve got one for you:

G.C. Cell Phone Document
For text excerpts, video, and pics of the General Conference cell phone “shenanigans,” visit street prophets here.

G.C. Petitions: Don’t Talk Bad ‘Bout Mary

This is among my favorite petitions for General Conference:

Resolve Not To Impugn Mary Magdalene
WHEREAS, the clergy of the United Methodist Church spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and
WHEREAS, Mary Magdalene, who was healed by the casting out of seven demons by Jesus and is a component of the Gospel story ( Mark 16: 9; Luke 8:2) ,   and
WHEREAS, women with whom Mary Magdalene kept company included Mary, mother of Jesus, and other women of good reputation and she and some of these women traveled with Jesus in His  proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God (Matthew 27: 55-56, 61; 28:1;  Mark 15: 40, 47; 16:1; Luke: 8:2-3; 24:10;  John 19:25), and
WHEREAS, Mary Magdalene supported them from her own means, ministered to Jesus, was at the crucifixion, and was the first person to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection ( Matthew 27:55-56, 28:1; Mark 16: 1, 9;  Luke 8:2-3;  John 20:1, 13-14) and
WHEREAS, there is nothing in the Books of the Gospel to indicate that Mary Magdalene  was a “sinner” or a “prostitute” [Harnish, James A., A Son Is Given: Witness to the Resurrection (scriptures for the church seasons), p. 63, unknown binding, 1996; Knight, Kevin (Ed.), “St. Mary Magdalene,” Catholic Encyclopedia, on line at http://www.newadvent.org <http://www.newadvent.org&gt; : 2006 version], and
WHEREAS, in the year 591, in a sermon given to monks at the Basilica San Clemente in Rome, Pope Gregory misidentified Mary Magdalene as a sinner and prostitute and that castigation became a tradition in the Roman Catholic (but not in Eastern Churches) and Protestant churches (Carroll, James, “Who Was Mary Magdalene?” The Smithsonian, pp. 117-119, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, June 2006; Darman, Jonathan, “Religion: Who Was Mary Magdalene?”, Newsweek/MSNBC, on line at http://www.msnbc.msn.com <http://www.msnbc.msn.com&gt; ., pp. 3-4 (2007); Collins, Father Raymond F., “Mary,” Holy Company: Christian Heroes and Heroines, Elliott Wright, Ed., p. 580, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.: 1982), and
WHEREAS, there is nothing for which reason Mary Magdalene should be confused with the woman in Nain who was a “sinner,” Mary of Bethany, or any woman who was a prostitute (see, Luke 7:11, 37-48, 10-38-42; John 8:3-11, 11:1-2), and
WHEREAS, in 1969, the Roman Catholic Church abandoned Pope Gregory’s characterization of Mary Magdalene with the reform of the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar (Collins, Ibid.; Darman, Ibid.;  Newsweek/MSNBC, on line at http://www.msnbc.msn.com <http://www.msnbc.msn.com&gt; .,
pp. 3-4 (2007); Filteau, Jerry, “Scholars Setting Record Straight on Mary Magdalene,” Catholic News, Washington, D.C., May 1, 2006 and http://www.cathnews.com/news/605/23.php <http://www.cathnews.com/news/605/23.php&gt; ); Pinksky,
Mark I., “Something about Mary Magdalene,” reprinted from the Orlando Sentinel, Atlanta, Georgia: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 6, 2004, pp. B 1-2], and
WHEREAS, those of the Protestant faith, including Methodist, have regrettably continued the tradition of sinner and prostitute and have perpetuated it, especially as part of the Easter story [Willimon, William H. and Patricia P. Willimon, Eds., The International Lesson Annual, 1992-1993, Nashville: Abingdon Press (1992), p. 254]  and
WHEREAS, our clergy need not step on the back of another person to convince others to accept the Gospel message, and
WHEREAS, the clergy of the United Methodist Church should be advised of the origin and error of the tradition and should be counseled against repeating it,
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that our clergy not impugn Mary Magdalene’s reputation by referring to her as a sinner or prostitute.

6 Easy Steps to Enjoying General Conference

For those of you traveling to Fort Worth tomorrow, let me offer you 6 easy steps for having a successful General Conference experience:

1. Don’t forget your hat: Here’s Your Packing List

2. Be prepared to encounter some folks engaged in an unspeakable act: Holy Conferencing.

3. Don’t forget to bring some toilet tissue for the inevitable caucus. (think about it…)

4. If you’ve already closed your letter, open it back up again.

5. Remember, we’re not the only Methodists in the world.

6. Pray.

Oh, there is one more…don’t act like a jerk. The world is watching and making an opinion of United Methodists.

In all honesty, I love you all and bless you as you represent God and His people of the United Methodist Church. Peace.

On General Conference, Lost, and South Georgia

Jay of the Methoblog has already geared up the site for General Conference blogging. There are a good many folks that will be live blogging GC and I think that this will be the first time we can really see what is happening from many perspectives almost instantly. (correct me if I’m wrong here, but we as Methodist bloggers definitely weren’t as connected in 00 and 04 as we are now). This has great implications for transparency–maybe not fully at this conference as the full effect of the instant-publishing blogging community may not be understood for an event like this.

While I regret that I will not get to take part in General Conference this year, I am serving as a district delegate for the South Georgia Annual Conference in June. I will definitely be live blogging our AC, for those who are interested. I’ve found that, even though we are in the geographic area that John and Charles Wesley landed and ministered, we don’t have a great deal of publicity! Well, hopefully I can help share what happens this year at the South Georgia Annual Conference and you all can share with me what happens at yours!

So…. This Wednesday, while many of you will be blogging away at the opening of General Conference in Texas, I will be reading my RSS feed and anxiously waiting for Lost to come back from its short hiatus.

LA Bishop’s Top 10 for General Conference

Bishop Swenson of the Los Angeles Episcopal Area gives us an idea of what General Conference can do to make a difference. What do you think? What could else could be done?

Top Ten Actions of General Conference That Would Make Disciples of Jesus Christ For the Transformation of the World

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, Los Angeles Episcopal Area

1. Admission into congregational membership shall be contingent upon the following criteria: pending members shall regularly participate in a class / covenant group meeting (3/4 of the scheduled meetings over four months); be recommended by the pending member’s class / covenant group; accomplish 72 hours of hands-on mission service; make and keep a pledge of 3% of net taxable income. Annual continuation of membership shall be contingent upon these same criteria, with the modification that the period of class participation shall be over ten months.

2. Every annual conference shall annually provide evidence to the Council of Bishops that 25% of the conference’s total worshipping attendance has participated in 72 or more hours of hands-on mission work with the homeless and the hungry, the ill and dispossessed.

3. Every annual conference shall provide evidence to the Council of Bishops that the Conference is annually increasing the percentage of those in worship attendance participating in hands-on mission work.

4. The General Conference shall expand funding in order to scholarship at least 50% of the cost of full-time enrollment for approved ministerial candidates attending United Methodist seminaries.

5. The General Conference shall extend funding to cover at least 50% of the cost of lay speaker certification across the denomination.

6. The General Conference shall assign to the Jurisdictional Sessions the authority to monitor and approve the operational and missional structures of the annual conferences within their respective jurisdictions.

7. Congregations seeking a full-time appointed elder shall show pledged and loose plate receipts for the prior two years sufficient to fully compensate an appointment at the minimum equitable salary rate as established by the Annual Conference in which the congregation is located.

8. For the purposes of interfaith dialogue, General Conference shall suspend Articles I and II of the Restrictive Rules for one quadrennium.

9. The General Conference shall make the following co-contingent changes:

§ Re-set the term of service for Bishops from four years to six years;

§ Re-set the frequency of Jurisdictional Conferences to every three years;

§ Re-set the total number of delegates to General Conference to 500;

§ Re-set the frequency of General Conference to every six years;

§ Empower the Connectional Table to address denominational needs in the interim between General Conference sessions.

10. General Conference shall schedule one full day of the 2012 General Session for all delegates to be in hands-on service to the indigent living in the city hosting the General Conference.

h/t: Deb

General Conference “Guidelines For Holy Conferencing”

In an effort to change the tone of General Conference 2008 (which many lament shares many of the same characteristics and spirit of secular governing meetings), conference organizers have set forth.  This basically means that we hope that conference will be more than a throw down about homosexuality.

Here are the guidelines:

  • Every person is a child of God. Always  speak respectfully. One can disagree without being disagreeable.
  • As you patiently listen and observe the behavior of others, be open to the possibility that God can change the views of any or all parties in the discussion.
  • Listen patiently before formulating responses.
  • Strive to understand the experience out of which others have arrived at their views.
  • Be careful in how you express personal offense at differing opinions. Otherwise dialogue may be inhibited.
  • Accurately reflect the views of others when speaking. This is especially important when you disagree with that position.
  • Avoid using inflammatory words, derogatory names or an excited and angry voice.
  • Avoid making generalizations about individuals and groups. Make your point with specific evidence and examples.
  • Make use of facilitators and mediators.
  • Remember that people are defined, ultimately, by their relationship with God – not by the flaws we discover, or think we discover, in their views and actions.

Maybe we can talk about something now–you know, instead of just homosexuality.

Thoughts on critique

In the UMC, we are gearing up for Annual Conference season which is anticipating our General and Jurisdictional Conferences.

In my post State of the Union or Hell in a Handbasket, I wrote:

“Often our outlook is seen through the lens of our own heart whereas our view of the world is simply a mirror to the state of our own hearts. Sin clouds. Sin causes a short sightedness that causes the entire world to be as grim or amazing as our heart.”

As we critique our world, culture, and church, keep in mind that our critiques probably say more about us than the object of our critique.

My prayer for you as you try to affect positive change in our world through the power of Christ:

“May the Lord speak into your heart. Say His words and no other. Think His thoughts and no other. Love His ways and no other. May He keep you ever in His care. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.”