Liturgical Year

The Contest of Faith and the Christian Athlete

As a teacher of early Christian history, I often hear students who have an introductory knowledge of the early Church pose two criticisms of the Church Fathers.

Note: This is the seventh post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 15, 2010
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 • Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

Strength in Numbers

There are many versions of Christianity that hold the faith to be merely a matter of belief.

Note: This is the sixth post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 8, 2010
Luke 12:32-40 • Sell your possessions, and give alms.

Being Rich Toward God

One word holds together the assigned gospel, epistle, and Old Testament lessons for this week: greed – the unhealthy, human tendency to trust primarily in ourselves and what we can acquire rather than putting our trust in God.

Note: This is the fifth post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 1, 2010
Hosea 11:1-11, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21 • Put t
o death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly.

Have They Fruit?

"Have they fruit?” John Wesley asked of his would-be preachers. Could those who were seeking ordination show anything for their service?

Note: This is the second post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

Pentecost: God With Us

Charles and John Wesley composed 32 hymns just to celebrate Pentecost, and this is one of my favorites.

Hymn 1 - Whitsunday Hymns
Charles Wesley

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Pastor Transitions: A Congregant's Perspective

A shift in pastor can be a blessing or a source of consternation to both longtime Methodists and newcomers to Methodism...

This post is one of two on itinerancy transitions - the other is from the pastor's point of view.

A shift in pastor can be a blessing or a source of consternation to both longtime Methodists and newcomers to Methodism.  As someone who was raised as a Lutheran, it was disconcerting for me to come face-to-face with the United Methodist Church’s practice of itinerancy. 

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Nathan Kirkpatrick: Dare to Weep!

Brother Roger of Taizé, in one of his most stirring reflections, tells of a young priest who had come to the Taizé community feeling overwhelmed by ministry.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3.10-11

Brother Roger of Taizé, in one of his most stirring reflections, tells of a young priest who had come to the Taizé community feeling overwhelmed by ministry. In his few years in the parish, he had seen too much suffering, witnessed too much pain in the life of his people, and he had tried to hold all of that pain at bay. He came heartbroken, wondering -- if this was what ministry was supposed to look like -- how he could continue on in it, if he could continue on at all.

Katherine Smith: A New Lens on Lent

What if Lent was about something more than giving up?

For many Christians, the season of Lent is all about "giving up."  Whether it is desserts, soda, French fries or Facebook, we routinely commit ourselves to various forms of abstinence and self-sacrifice.

The historical practice of "giving up” for Lent has multiple levels of significance.  We give up that we might prepare ourselves for the Holy Week journey of Christ’s suffering and crucifixion.  We give up that we might be reminded of our sin and need to turn back to God.  We give up that we might learn to give over our lives – its pleasures, pains, and practices – to God.   Sometimes, we give up because it’s a good excuse for a diet that we haven’t otherwise been able to keep, or breaking a bad habit that we’ve allowed to form. 

But what if Lent was about something more than giving up? 

In Commemoration of John Wesley

This, "A Prayer of Submission," comes from A Collection of Forms of Prayer (1733), and was sent to us by The Reverend LaNell Johnson...

This, "A Prayer of Submission," comes from A Collection of Forms of Prayer (1733), and was sent to us by The Reverend LaNell Johnson:

I give you my body. May I glorify you with it, and preserve it holy,
fit for you, O God, to dwell in. May I neither indulge it,
nor use too much rigor toward it; but keep it, as far as in me lies,
healthy, vigorous, and active, and fit to do you
all manner of service that you shall call for.

— John Wesley

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Get Caught Doing This During Lent

I went looking for some exercises you can do at your desk, and, lo and behold - WebMD has two pages of them!

In the spirit of the Olympic Games, my Lenten discipline is 10 minutes of exercise every day.  I went looking for some exercises you can do at your desk, and, lo and behold - WebMD has two pages of them!  Warn the church secretary and the nosy volunteers if you're going to go all-out, or, better yet, invite them to join you.

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