- Mike & the grandbabies are here. I love it!about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Harding out to play with the kids before it gets dark.about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Samuel’s Car’s Bed was delivered today, birthday present. Party Saturday!about 4 hours ago from web
- we are cleaning out the clutter. Loading books @ Amazon to sell, NOT BUYING! so thereabout 5 hours ago from web
- heading home to hang out with the family. Dinner and play time. Taking tomorrow off and writing!about 6 hours ago from web
- blogging school dropout and The Choice Bus @ www.imagebearer.wordpress.comabout 7 hours ago from web
- Praying about our role in the tutoring @ OOTB. What are your thoughts on partnering with the schools for this cominity service?about 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Brainstorming ways Out of the Box can get involved with healing the school dropout rate in Carroll Countyabout 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- High school dropout rates are alarming. See more on www.imagebearer.wordpress.com later todayabout 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Don’t know any details but I am told there are 2 teenagers in Carroll County who are missing & need our prayers. God knows the need.about 10 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- “Do not judge, or you 2 wil B judged. 4 N the same way U judge others, U will B judged, & w the measure U use, it will B meas 2 U.” Matt 7:1about 10 hours ago from web
- headed out to grab a bite of lunch and then to a School Dropout Prevention Meeting @ the Court Houseabout 11 hours ago from web
- talking with the Foundation for Evangelism about Holston Evangelism Conference 2010 http://foundationforevangel…about 12 hours ago from web
- Awesome, sold 2 more books on Amazon.com, 5 books in 2 daysabout 13 hours ago from web
- Just finished 6 milesabout 14 hours ago from web
- Getting ready to head out on a prayer walk with Mike. It is awesome getting to fellowship with my son and pray and talk about the Bible.about 17 hours ago from web
- The blog has surpassed 30,000 www.imagebearer.wordpress.com I think it may be time to upgrade?about 17 hours ago from web
I met with the Dropout Prevention Task Force today and found some very severe statistics of school dropouts. We are looking at ways Out Of The Box can partner with the School System in Carroll County in tutoring.
Please share your ideas and also share if you would be willing to volunteer time for this partnership.
Source: The Call 2
A UMNS Report
By Linda Green and Elizabeth Guye*
July 29, 2009
United Methodists in the U.S. have largely voted against 23 proposed amendments that would change the structure of the church, but voting is ongoing in Africa, Europe and the Philippines.
The amendments, proposed as changes to the denomination’s constitution, would pave the way for making the U.S. church one of several regional bodies around the world.
During U.S. annual conference sessions in May and June, church members also voted against an amendment to make membership in the church open to everyone without regard to sexual orientation.
Forty-four of the 62 U.S. conferences reported the results of their amendment votes to Newscope and United Methodist News Service as part of their annual wrap-ups of conference action. Eighteen conferences did not report their results on the amendments.
The church has 73 conferences in Africa, the Philippines and Europe. Since they hold their annual meetings at different times throughout the year, the final outcome of the voting won’t be known until spring 2010.
The 2008 United Methodist General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body, approved 32 amendments to the church’s constitution. For a proposed amendment to be ratified, two-thirds of the aggregate number of voting annual conference members must approve.
The worldwide votes will be ratified by the Council of Bishops when it meets May 2-6, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio. Official results will be announced then.
Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the Council of Bishops, noted all annual conferences have not voted. He also said the council office where the reports are being sent has not done any tally at this point and will not be doing any until the receipt of all conference reports.
“When the tally is done, it will be reported to the council and an announcement will be made during the council’s spring meeting,” Palmer said.
Votes on global plan
About 60 percent of U.S. conferences reporting voting results defeated the 23 amendments dealing with the worldwide church proposal. The amendments, proposed by the Task Force on the Worldwide Nature of the Church, would allow the organizing of regional conferences around the globe to create a uniform United Methodist church structure. The legislation would have made it possible to create a U.S. regional conference in the future.
Kansas Bishop Scott Jones, chairperson of the task force exploring the global nature of the church and proponent of the 23 constitutional amendments, said the results are incomplete because many conferences outside the United States have not voted. Once the voting is finished, church leaders should study carefully what the results mean, he said.
Whether the amendments are approved, the work of the study committee will go forward with the mandate that the General Conference gave it, he said.
“It takes the General Conference a long time to absorb a really big idea and the issues which gave rise to these proposals and need good answers,” Jones explained. “I fully expect the General Conference of 2012 to revisit these issues and move them forward.”
Those opposing the amendments applauded the early votes.
The Rev. Eddie Fox, world director of evangelism for the World Methodist Council, said the democratic process worked. “It is a very serious matter when we change the constitution,” he said.
Fox, whose office is based in Nashville, Tenn., believes the 23 amendments were confusing and had no clear plan or rationale for the constitutional change. “I am deeply grateful for this decision by the members of our church, which I believe have prevented us from taking an action which would have resulted in moving us away from the core values of the connection and setting us on a path of having national churches,” he said.
He called for a renewed focus on how to strengthen the worldwide connection of the entire Methodist movement.
“I pray that our vision, passion and concern will be on how the world Methodist communion can do its part in spreading the good news of Christ Jesus in a world which desperately needs healing, hope and salvation,” Fox added.
The Rev. Timothy McClendon, a member of the denomination’s Connectional Table, said the apparent defeat of the 23 constitutional amendments on the church’s structure “is a vote for connectionalism.”
McClendon, a district superintendent in Columbia, S.C., believes the proposed structure would create more divisions in the denomination, rather than uniting it. The church, he pointed out, has an opportunity over the next four years to create better legislation that defines who United Methodists are, honors differences and remains connectional.
The remaining nine amendments cover such issues as church and conference membership, annual and jurisdictional conference composition, and inclusiveness.
Proposed Amendment 1, on the inclusiveness of the church, failed to receive the two-thirds support in 27 of the 44 conferences reporting results. The amendment would make all people, upon declaring a relationship to Jesus Christ, “eligible to become professing members in any local church in the connection.” Forty conferences voted against Amendment 8, which would have added the word “gender” to categories of church membership.
In 2005, a Virginia clergyman stirred conflict after he refused to receive a homosexual man into membership, saying the man would neither repent nor seek to live a different lifestyle. The pastor was placed on a leave of absence by the bishop. The Judicial Council ruled in October 2005 that United Methodist pastors have authority to decide who becomes a member of a local church and reinstated the pastor. That case triggered appeals to the Judicial Council, but the court declined to reconsider its ruling.
Among other amendments, proposed Amendment 19 — which would extend to provisional members and certain local pastors the right to vote for clergy delegates to the General and jurisdictional conferences — received substantial support from 26 annual conferences.
An amendment ensuring a minimum base of annual conference delegates for the election of bishops at jurisdictional conference was approved by 37 annual conferences.
Twenty-six conferences affirmed Amendment 2, which requires all churchwide agencies and constituencies to adopt ethics and conflict of interest policies.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn. Guye was an intern for United Methodist News Service and the Media Group at United Methodist Communications.
News media contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Call 2
The Facebook social network has grown from 150 million users in January to 250 million this month, according to a July 22 Newsweek article. Hundreds of those users are United Methodists, who are discovering the Wesleyan potential of internet outreach. (“We have to go where the people are, and the people are online!” said one pastor in a recent Interpreter article.) The Call even established its own page this month.
Just as evident as the potential benefits, however, are the potential pitfalls. Last week in his Alcoa office, Bishop James Swanson, resident bishop of the Holston Conference and a Facebook user, spoke about some of his concerns.
THE CALL: You’ve already been on Facebook for several months. What inspired you to give it a try?
BISHOP SWANSON: Plain old vanity. Dan Taylor sent an e-mail saying that I was mentioned on Facebook. I didn’t realize you have to join to see what’s going on. So I just joined and found a page that was put up by the youth. The page was called “Bishop Swanson Makes Me Proud to be United Methodist.” I was flattered that young people would respond to an old preacher like myself. After I had already signed up, I just stayed on.
THE CALL: So Facebook seems like a good thing?
SWANSON: Oh yeah, it’s a neighborhood where people connect and talk to each other. I’ll give you a case in point. Last night I was on Facebook and happened to see that Jimmy Sherrod, who is one of our pastors, was online. I gave him a shout-out, and he reminded me that he is going to be the music leader for Sulphur Springs Camp Meeting. I said, “Yeah, that’s right. I look forward to seeing you there,” and asked if it would be helpful to know what I am going to preach. So we connected and I sent him the subjects of my sermons and the scriptures.
Another time, I was trying to find the cell phone number for one of our pastors, who is having a really tough bout with her health. Her daughter contacted me through Facebook, so I was able to reach her mother. Another pastor, Larry Trotter at Concord United Methodist Church, is using Facebook to connect with a whole community of young people. They do Bible studies and talk about when they’re going to fellowship. So I see that the benefits of Facebook can be tremendous. I just know that for pastors — they have to be very careful about how they use it.
THE CALL: Why do they have to be careful?
SWANSON: You have to be careful about what you’re posting, and also who you allow to be your Friend. Because some people are not as respectful of your confession of faith as you are. They might write messages on your Wall that you don’t want.
THE CALL: Yes, but you can remove the messages you don’t want.
SWANSON: Yes, you can remove them. But if you’re not an avid user, the message might be on there for three or four days before you realize it. I personally am not on Facebook everyday, but two to three times a week, maybe.
Another potential problem is that Facebook invites you to tell a lot about yourself. Sometimes, in our haste, we may reveal things that compromise our ability to effectively pastor our people.
THE CALL: What is an example of that?
SWANSON: Personal opinions or positions that don’t have to be public knowledge. Every congregation has some diversity – so diverse that it often shocks pastors when they find that out. You might think that everybody holds the same theological point of view, but they don’t. You could end up posting a viewpoint that people violently and vehemently disagree with – comments that are not important to your walk in Christ. Yet you can cause such a stink and a stir in the church that it can handicap your ability to minister to your people.
THE CALL: Only theological perspectives?
SWANSON: Theological, political, whatever. You just have to be careful about what you say and do. Case in point: I like to play cards. When I get with my wife’s family, we play a game called Bid Whist. I was in my third appointment, when I happened to mention in the pulpit that I like to play cards. Well, most people in the church thought that was fun. But some folk were really offended; they felt like a preacher shouldn’t play cards. It really hindered our relationship. I didn’t leave the church over it, but it really hindered my relationship with the people who were offended.
Now I do think a pastor has the right to have political views. They’re human beings. But Paul cautions us to be careful about what we say or do in order to minister to people. The Bible says to be as wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove. Sometimes even though you may feel very strongly about a viewpoint, it might not be wise to talk about it in public.
THE CALL: Have you seen examples of pastors who are not being careful on Facebook?
SWANSON: I have seen some things I did not like and things that did not need to be shared. I’m an old fogey about that. I believe that as a person called by Christ, I have to make some sacrifices for the good of the ministry. It’s like what Paul says: “If it offends my brother to eat meat, I’ll eat meat no longer.” He was speaking in the context of meat that had been offered up to idols during his day and time. Some Christians were offended by that. So Paul said: If it offends people and keeps them from hearing the Gospel, I just won’t do it.
When you’re real focused on your particular issues, sometimes you don’t think carefully about how that might affect somebody else’s faith. Sometimes you have to forgo what you want for the good of the whole. I’m not talking about justice issues. If your church is prejudiced about one group or another, the pastor needs to make a stand on that. You just have to weigh the issues before you spout off on Facebook or anywhere else. Ask yourself, “Is it worthwhile for me to say this, causing a firestorm in the church where God is using me to do some wonderful things?”
THE CALL: Are you speaking to clergy only, or to laity, too?
SWANSON: Both, if they’re in a position of trying to lead people to a life of transformation. Whether we like it or not, people have to believe in us before they will accept what we say. The truth is not always accepted just because it’s true. It has a lot to do with who says it and how you feel about that person. Even if I have something wonderful to offer – if they don’t personally like me — they’re not going to benefit. So what is more important: That I get to spout off about my opinion? Or that I chose my words wisely so I can lead people in a way that will bless them and bless their lives?
THE CALL: Is there anything else that we have to be careful of?
SWANSON: Yes, you can spend hours on the internet without even realizing it. So remember that the online community is not a real, live community. It is a place where you exchange information and you can somewhat get to know people. But you don’t really know people behind what they write, and you can get so wrapped up in using the internet that it becomes a reality. It can even foster an inappropriate relationship. It can cause all kinds of problems. Facebook is not a substitute for a real community.
THE CALL: So, with all that said, do you intend to keep using Facebook? And is it OK for Holston members to ask you to be their “Friends”?
SWANSON: Yeah, they can look for me on there. I intend to keep using it, but I keep intending to be careful of who I allow to be my Friend. Here’s an example. I have a young relative who I love, but she’s not as disciplined as I want her to be. She sent me an invitation to be her “Friend.” I looked at her page, and I didn’t like what was on there. She was kind of hurt. But I’m a bishop in The United Methodist Church, and there are things that should not be connected to my page. If you put a video on my page of you and your buddies out drinking – it might seem harmless to you — but my young adults might see that I somehow condone that behavior.
This is about putting my relationship with Christ as paramount to everything and anything I do, even to my friends. I take my calling and what I do very seriously. I don’t want to do anything to hurt the church, I just don’t. These 900 churches in Holston Conference — and the people in them — are so important. I have to make sure that my life and what I do doesn’t reflect in a way that would make somebody walk away from the church.
- Wing Night @ OOTB Next Wednesday Night RSVP so we have enough. I will set up the event on facebook tomorrowabout 8 hours ago from web
- check out Samuel and Judah’s new pictures www.imagebearer.wordpress.comabout 8 hours ago from web
- Word to the Youth. Be Buff & Tuff & don’t hesitate to RUN when needed. If you were @ OOTB tonight then you get it!about 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Samuel amazingly turns 2 on August 3rd & were planning his party for Saturdayabout 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Home, hangin with the family. They love me here!about 9 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Awesome, through prayer we are talking with the Creator of the Universe!about 11 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- headed to Out Of The Box to hang out with the youth. Rain, we do bible study, no rain we do clothing giveaway ministry!about 13 hours ago from web
- I am 27 hits away from 30,000 on www.imagebearer.wordpress.comabout 13 hours ago from web
- Loading books @ amazon. Need to move em out. Lots of broken things need to be fixed, like the lawnmower.about 14 hours ago from web
- There is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money.about 15 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Mocha Joe time!about 15 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Headed to late lunch with a church memberabout 16 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- my blog Imagebearer could reach 30,000 hits today. In just over 1Year www.imagebearer.wordpress.comabout 17 hours ago from web
- my blog Imagebearer could reach 30,000 hits today. In just over 1Yearabout 17 hours ago from web
- Headed to a staff meetingabout 18 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Got in 5 miles with Michael this morning early.about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- It has been the year of repair at my place. Dropped the lawnmower @ the shop, getting Jeep key reprogrammed now.about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry
- Getting ready to take a prayer walk. txt yours.about 24 hours ago from TwitterBerry
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