September-October 2012

Jurisdictional Divides

By Thomas C. Lambrecht
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”
Most of us remember learning this saying and using it as a defense against the taunting and mocking (what we now call “bullying”) that was all too common on our elementary school playground. We have recently begun to acknowledge that words do hurt, because words have the power to convey ideas, thoughts, and feelings that impact others.

A crack in the sidewalk

By B.J. Funk
I have been a United Methodist all of my life. However, 30 years ago I began taking a harder look at my denomination. I sensed an overall apathy spreading through our church. At that point, I had a renewed love for Jesus along with a desire to allow the Holy Spirit to completely claim my life. I felt a fire inside me, and the words in the Bible became personal. I connected with this wonderful Lord who claimed me, and every day I could not praise him enough.

The Kitschy Wesley

By Steve Beard
Several years ago, I spoke at a retreat for the fun-loving students and staff of the University of Kentucky Wesley Foundation. The gathering was held at picturesque Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. On the first night, Dr. George Freeman invited us to have pizza at the World Methodist Council Museum. The World Methodist crew could not have been more gracious. It was a bit surreal, however, to be munching away on pepperoni and double cheese pizza while surrounded by such a stunning collection of “Wesleyana and Methodistica” (I didn’t make that up).

Why I became a United Methodist

By Chad Brooks
Over the last few years, as I have been in the ordination process in the United Methodist Church, I have been asked the question, “Why did you become Methodist?” Given my background, I can see why it would be a puzzling question. Growing up the son of a Southern Baptist preacher in a large church doesn’t provide the best incubator for someone whose theological influences are now the Wesley brothers, church fathers, and desert monks.

Brazilian Bishop shakes up Aldersgate conference

By Matthew Hamilton
Bishop Joao Carlos Lopes is the president of Brazil’s Methodist bishops who preached in June at the annual Aldersgate Renewal Conference in Charleston, West Virginia. His sermon was on how to revive dead churches.
Aldersgate is a ministry for charismatic United Methodists who emphasize the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their worship. More than 1,000 United Methodists attended this year.

Letters –– September/October 2012

Vicarious experience
Congratulations on your May/June 2012 issue of Good News. It was a magnificent combination of writing, organization, and photos to give those of us who could not be in attendance a vicarious experience of the exasperation and frustration at Tampa, plus a detailed report on the multitude of issues and those not reached for lack of time.

A task for the second half our our lives

By Ruth Burgner
Austin Boggan has spent 24 years serving on the mission field in Asia and Central and South America. A dear friend and former missionary of The Mission Society, he “attended” one of our staff gatherings via speakerphone last year. After our president, Dick McClain, greeted Austin, Dick asked him, “What would you like to say to the staff?” Enthusiastically, Austin belted out, “Just don’t stop!”

UM membership still sliding

By Heather Hahn

The United Methodist Church saw a reduction of at least 71,971 U.S. members in 2011. Put another way, the denomination in the United States lost in one year roughly the equivalent of the Minnesota Annual Conference and Red Bird Missionary Conference combined.

A prayer for revival

By Liza Kittle
After witnessing the confusion and chaos of General Conference 2012 this past May, Renew prays that the entire United Methodist Church will seek this type of revival. A revival that brings us to our knees, renews our hearts, and restores our purpose as a church.
The disruptive protests and rule violations of some groups, the failure of the UM restructuring plan, and the lack of efficient time management were a few indicators that we are a broken church in desperate need of refocus and revival.

Memory flashes and the knock of Jesus

By Andrew Thompson
Scientists tell us that certain powerful experiences can get “seared into our brains” so that we remember them more vividly than the normal day-to-day. Journalist Bridget Murray Law wrote about them last year in the Monitor on Psychology. These experiences are called “flashbulb memories,” and they explain why some people can remember so vividly where they were and what they were doing when, for instance, they heard that John F. Kennedy was shot or when they first saw images of the twin towers of the World Trade Center falling down.