Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thoughts on change

with all the changes in the world going on, this may be a good time for me to reflect on some of them.

44 - wow. what can i say. this is obviously the biggest change that everyone is talking about right now. i have to say that the first time i had ever heard of Barack Obama was not during the campaign, but when he spoke at a renewal put on by sojourners, a progressive christian magazine whose editor is Jim Wallis (someone who i hugely admire). Mr. Obama's speech, which was published on sojourner's website at the time (don't know if it is still there) was about the meshing of faith and politics, and it was given at a time when "faith" and "politics" in the same sentence was code for "conservative, white evangelical christian." the political right still had a tight grip on the conversation, but their death grip was loosening. but this speech that Obama gave almost brought tears to my eyes because i felt he was saying things i had been thinking for some time, but also saying things that needed to be said. you could say i was smitten. when i was a community organizer a year or so later, some of us were in dc to visit our senator, Claire mccaskill. we were in the office building (heart, i think it was) waiting for someone in our party to go to the bathroom and senator Obama got off the elevator. some of the guys in our group jumped up to shake his hand. i wish i had, but i usually would have viewed that as brown-nosing. principles-be-damned, i wish i had done it. then about 8 months later he announced his candidacy on a very cold morning. i wanted to hear his speech, and again i was impressed. this guy gets it, and now he is our president! what a change from someone who drove our country into the ground to someone who will start the healing process. this will take many years and maybe several more administrations, but i think we are headed in the right direction. i know he is not our savior (Jesus has dibs on that title and role), but i think Obama will be a great leader.

the church is changing also. in my last post i wrote about minister's school at tan-tar-a. lots of posts in the blogosphere have been discussing this event and i have had some conversation with some of my colleagues about the event and the emerging church that we talked about there at the school. the emergent movement is difficult to describe, but basically it is an organic way to do church that honors the traditions that have worked, returned to talking about theology in a very serious way, and works to include everyone. at least that is the idea. i find aspects of the movement promising for the united Methodist church, which is in need of another big renewal. i see the way the church is weighted down with bueacracy and i am convinced that John Wesley would be rolling in his grave. but as i posted on a couple people's blogs, i wouldn't still be trying to get into this system if i didn't think the church was still capable of discerning and doing God's will in the world and in the community. so i will be learning more about what the movement has to offer and see what i can do to integrate it into the church i am serving.

i am constantly changing too. i feel that my preaching style is still evolving and improving, and my leadership and pastoral skills will be changing and improving as i settle into my new appointment. I'll keep y'all posted on how that all goes.

in Christ's love

rev rob

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