Friday, June 15, 2007

From the RevGal ring:

Friday 5, books, books, books....

"I've just returned from a meeting in Cambridge so I'm posting this late here in the UK (it is 3:45pm).. because I took the opportunity of a free afternoon in Cambridge's wonderful book shops... I only bought a few- and they were on sale- very restrained for me!!!

So with my head full of books I've seen and a long wish list in my mind, I bring you a Friday Five on books!!!"

1. Fiction what kind, detective novels, historical stuff, thrillers, romance????

Hands down, science fiction/fantasy. I've tried to branch out multiple times, but this seems to be the genre that I get drawn back to, time and time again. It's not that I don't enjoy other genres, but when given the option to read something new, I automatically head toward the fantasy section in the bookstore or the library.

2. When you get a really good book do you read it all in one chunk or savour it slowly?

How about chunks over a period of time? I think I devoured the latest Harry Potter within 48 hours of getting my paws on it. However, I am naturally a slow reader, so even the most engrossing books take me awhile to chew.

3. Is there a book you keep returning to and why?

There are several. One is the Lord of the Rings. There is just so much in that book, and the story is so captivating. The other is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, largely because it's just so darn funny.

4. Apart from the Bible which non-fiction book has influenced you the most?

This is a tough one, primarily because I don't read much non-fiction. There are two that I read for my Intro to Sociology in college. The first is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. The second is Jonathan Kozol's book Savage Inequalities.

5. Describe a perfect place to read. ( could be anywhere!!!)

On the rocks by the ocean with a cool ocean breeze (that's not strong enough to turn pages).

I have to say, this was a timely Friday Five, as the AAUW of Madison is having their huge book sale this week, and I just picked up a bag of used books. Oh, used book sales is definitely a weakness of mine...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

There are lots of ideological stances that divide us, particularly when it comes to theology - whether or not one believes that Christ is the only way to God, whether or not one believes that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, whether or not one believes x, y, z....you get the idea.

I've always been fascinated by the fact that in our conference, one's perspective on the homosexuality "issue" automatically lands you in one of two camps: the "liberal" camp or the "conservative" one. I think you can figure out which is which. Rarely (with few exceptions) does anything else factor into this strange sorting process. (Interestingly enough, the Institute of Religion and Democracy paints with a similar brush...if I can find the article, I'll post it here).

Part of the problem here is the labeling of people into categories based on individuals believing "this" vs. "that". Such a dualistic way of thinking I find to be inherently dangerous (as it grants humans too much power to decide who is "in" and "out"). But another part of the problem here is that...some people just don't fit.

I, for one, don't. It's not just that I'm not liberal or conservative, or that I have some "conservative beliefs" and some "liberal" ones all mixed together. I'm not even sure I'm in the middle, really. It's more that these categories don't make sense at all when applied to me, or to some others that I know. I feel as if I'm outside of the current system all together.

When it comes right down to it, though, why can't we all just call each other brothers and sisters in Christ? Why can't we all see each other as God's children - just the same as everyone else? If we have to go around defining people, why can't this definition trump them all? In the end, "liberal" and "conservative" - or even "moderate" won't make an ounce of difference. How faithfully we lived out the gospel message, however, will. And really, isn't that all that matters?

NEAC Brief Update

I'd first like to thank everyone who has helped me discern about getting my name in to General. As it is, I have been elected as the first alternate (or "reserve") lay person to Jurisdictional Conference. This year, we had only 5 lay slots to General and 5 additional ones to Jurisdictional (down one each from last time).

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked in session because of the two "learning centers" Ben and I did (which went well). More people came than we anticipated, and everyone was engaged and asked really good questions.

So that's conference in a nutshell. Perhaps I will offer a few more reflections later; I've got a few thoughts brewing based on certain events that have transpired here over these past few days. But for now, I must leave Conference a bit early; my sister is graduating as the valedictorian from high school this afternoon!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

the last time I took this, I scored much higher on the Holiness/Wesleyan...

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern, You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.

Emergent/Postmodern

93%

Roman Catholic

61%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

61%

Classical Liberal

57%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

54%

Modern Liberal

50%

Neo orthodox

50%

Reformed Evangelical

4%

Fundamentalist

0%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Help Me Discern!

Annual Conference is only a few days away. I've been getting ready by doing lots of different things; Ben and I are doing two workshops - one on the church and postmodernity and the other on emerging worship. This means preparing presentations, and making darn sure I know my stuff (which is a humbling experience in and of itself).

However, I've also been praying a lot - for the New England Conference, for its leadership, for those who will be receiving new appointments and their churches...that sort of stuff. I've also been praying about submitting my name as a floor nomination to General Conference.

When I was looking over the names of those to be elected, I noticed a few things on the laity side (bear in mind that we get six lay delegates to General, and 12 to Jurisdictional):

1) Out of the nine people running, only one is under the age of 30.

2) Out of those nine, only one is a woman.

I feel rather conflicted, though I think in some ways I'm leaning toward submitting my name. The downsides would be traveling to the pre-conference meetings; they are held in Mass., which would mean traveling from New Jersey one weekend every couple months. I also really hesitate to play the diversity card. Although I celebrate having a diverse delegation with a variety of different gifts, it really, really bothers me when before people vote, members of AC get up to make a brief speech about how we already have three white men elected, or one black woman, but no Asian men or what have you. I feel that by submitting my name, I would be the young white woman under thirty (the only one who would run, mind you).

Although I struggle with this, I do feel like I need to make sure the voice of the young people are heard. I still love this denomination, and I feel called to help lead the United Methodist Church into the future. There appears to be some good legislation being sent to General Conference this year (http://www.gbod.org/youngpeople/connected/global/leg.htm). Granted, whether or not the future of the church includes sitting around debating legislation, I don't know. But I feel like I do have something to add to the conversation as a young person. I was elected in 2004 as a delegate to Jurisdictional, so hopefully people remember my name...

So -- there you have it. If you could help me shed some prayerful light on the situation, I would greatly appreciate it...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cleaning out

I'm in the process of cleaning out my room at home. Boy, is that ever a project! There's a lot of stuff to sift through - sometimes, 24 years worth of stuff!

One of the things I have done throughout the years is keep a large shoebox stuffed full of cards and letters and other assorted things. I went through the box today (keeping a large portion of its contents) and marveled at the number of letters and postcards that I have kept. It made me realize (yet again) what a bad corresponder I've been. So starting in the summer, my goal is to write one letter to someone each week. A letter - not an e-mail - but a letter, since I think they are much more personal.

Plus, it'll make me keep an up-to-date address book (which is always in a state of disarray).