March-April 2013

A better way to live

By Rob Renfroe
In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass (1871), there is an amazing passage. I think it provides a great deal of insight into the debates and discussions that occur between those of us who are orthodox and those who refer to themselves as “progressives.”

Through the progressive looking glass

By Rob Renfroe
In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass (1871), there is an amazing passage. I think it provides a great deal of insight into the debates and discussions that occur between those of us who are orthodox and those who refer to themselves as “progressives.”

How did we get here from there?

By Riley B. Case
How did we get from there, from the Methodism of Bishop Simpson, to where we are today? Instead of 12 percent of the American population, United Methodism today counts 3 percent of Americans as United Methodist (and this after the EUB merger). In 1890, Methodism claimed 7.1 million members, almost as many as today, when the population was only a fifth of what it is today.

Crash Course – Alpha courses offer basics of Christian faith

By Mary Jacobs, The United Methodist Reporter
Jim Charlton was serving on the evangelism committee at Wheatland Salem Church in Naperville, Illinois, when he first heard of the Alpha course. While the United Methodist congregation was evangelistically minded, it was searching for an effective method to mobilize the congregation for evangelism. So Mr. Charlton and his pastor decided to check out a conference about the Alpha course.

From Super Market to Super Bowl: The Good News interview with Kurt Warner

By Steve Beard
Being cut by the Green Bay Packers was not part of the plan. Neither was returning to Cedar Falls, Iowa, and working the nightshift at the Hy-Vee supermarket for $5.50 an hour. Needless to say, playing in the Arena Football League for the Iowa Barnstormers and then doing a stint in front of Dutch fans in Amsterdam is not exactly the career path for star quarterbacks in the National Football League. However, that was all part of the zany agony-and-ecstasy trek of quarterback Kurt Warner, a real-deal quarterback who went from stocking shelves in a supermarket to hurling passes in three Super Bowls with two different teams.

Saints Versus Zombies

By Andy Nixon
A glance around any congregation reveals a terrible truth. Too many of us are living like we are less than human. Inside each of us is a struggle between life and death, and at stake is whether or not we will live as the fully human or the walking dead. Think of the people you know with gifts that are undeveloped, friendships and marriages that are less than what they could be, or minds and hearts that are possessed with sinister traits such as jealousy or greed, and our condition becomes apparent. We are the living dead.

Eternal truths in the now

By B.J. Funk
Perhaps someone you know has an annoying, irritating habit. Very likely, so do you – though you probably aren’t aware of it. A very dear person in my life –someone I love – has a habit that, should I say “almost drives me crazy.” I stew when I see it. I sulk. I give her looks of disapproval. The more I pursue an end to her habit, the more she pursues “showing” me that she will not change. I waste valuable time in frustration.

Good News responds to same-sex marriage statement

“We share Bishop Dyck’s commitment to ensure the protection of the civil rights of all persons. However, there are other ways to ensure the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons without redefining the bedrock institution of marriage. We see no reason why the church should allow a secular, anthropocentric, hyper-sexualized Western culture to tell us what marriage is, rather than looking to the Scriptures and, with real concern for the rights of all, maintaining what God has revealed.”

Letters to the Editor – March/April 2013

Wesley Seminary’s Ministerial Education Fund (MEF) distribution was mentioned in the January/February Good News article: “Money Well Spent? The Future of Theological Education.” I want to share the perspective from my institution. The revised MEF formula is weighted toward both the number of ordinands (based on a three-year average) and the number of United Methodist students who have become Certified Candidates. To begin to understand any school’s distribution would require looking at both the number of ordinands and the number of students. But this mathematical analysis is insufficient. Here’s the bigger picture.

Welcoming the foreigner

By Jim M. Ramsay
A church in Alabama was discussing the issue of unreached people groups as part of their mission focus week. Church members were surprised to discover that at the local university, there were more than 70 unreached people groups represented among the student body! Unreached people in Alabama? Indeed. In fact, in my own county of Gwinnett in the metro Atlanta area the 2010 census states that 25 percent were born outside the United States. A local parent told me there are 30 nations represented at his children’s local elementary school. Many people within the American church community are simply unaware of the huge migrations of people from all over the world that have been taking place over the past couple decades.