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WNCCUMC Annual Conference Roundup

by Drew 1 Comment

In United Methodist world, we are coming out of Annual Conference season.  I was grateful to be able to contribute in a couple of different ways to covering the events of my own Annual Conference June 22-25 at Lake Junaluska.  Lake “J” as many of us affectionately call it, might be the closest thing Methodists have to Rome’s Vatican. Aside from being the site of many Annual and Jurisdictional Conferences, and the home to many other Methodist gatherings and retired clergy, it houses the World Methodist Council and its museum.  Thus, it represents a spiritual and geographic home for not just United Methodists, but for members of the Methodist/Wesleyan family around the globe.  This year, I wrote two pieces reflecting on worship services and helped out with a couple of podcasts discussing Annual Conference.  Links and descriptions follow below:

  • Remember Your Baptism” is about the opening worship service on the morning of Friday, June 24.  Bishop Leonard Fairley from our neighboring North Carolina Conference preached (he’s currently assigned to Kentucky), and we all remembered our baptisms together.  Besides covering the service itself, this piece covers the significance of United Methodists remembering our baptism.
  • Ordination Service – A Reflection” is, if you’ll forgive me, a bit self-explanatory.  Taking place Saturday night the 24th, the ordination service was preached by Bishop Lawson Bryan of South Georgia.  Here, I reflect on the impact that such a sacred service has on those who experience it, both lay and clergy alike.
  • For the third year in a row, I was fortunate once more to sit in with Michael Rich in the WNCC Communications office and cover Annual Conference happenings on the UM Connect podcast.  In the first episode, we discussed clergy session and the upcoming business of the week.  In the second episode, recorded Saturday afternoon, we reflected on what had already gone on and looked forward to the ordination service that evening.  Whether you are in WNCC or not, there are some great Methodist folks on the podcast regularly, so subscribe on iTunes and give it a listen!

There’s all the things you may have missed from Annual Conference! Thanks for reading and sharing this content. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to put your email in to the right and subscribe. God bless!

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Shifting to a New Gear

by Drew 0 Comments
Time for a shift. Fiat 500L 6-speed shifter, courtesy Peter Milosevic via Wikimedia Commons.

Time for a shift. Fiat 500L 6-speed shifter, courtesy Peter Milosevic via Wikimedia Commons.

Buckle up – things are shifting!

This is my first post at my newly reworked homepage.  Any links from my previous site, pastormack.wordpress.com (aka Uniting Grace) should now connect here.  You may notice a few changes.

What’s New?

  • Location. I now have my own domain name (and it’s the same as my twitter handle).  What can I say? It was time to go legit.  If you had previously subscribed, you should be migrated now to the new site and not have to do anything. (And if you have not subscribed, now would be a great time to do just that…there…over on the right!)
  • Name. The name has changed to Plowshares Into Swords, and the tagline is also new: “Contending for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.”  Both are biblical references (Joel 3:10/Jude 1:3), and I chose them together to clarify the purpose of this blog.  The Christian tradition has, in most times and places, agreed with Qoheleth that “there is a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:8)  There are times to turn swords into plowshares, and times to the do the reverse.  I believe that the state of Christianity in North America today demands the latter.  It is a time to fight some fights that need fighting.  It is a time to contend for the things that matter most.  The faith “once delivered” is under assault from within and without the Body of Christ: dehumanizing forces like secularism, individualism, and materialism (to name just three) degrade Christian faith and practice from the outside, while gospels of sin management (left and right), prosperity gospels, self-help masquerading as preaching, infotainment substituting for worship, and pastors-cum-CEOs threaten to rot the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church from within.  It is a time to take seriously the call of the church to be an alternative community of Word and Sacrament, called out of the world for the sake of the world.  It is a time to face the winnowing of Christendom and decide: will we remain faithful to Christ and his Church, confident that the “gates of hell shall not prevail” against his Bride (Matt. 16:18), or anxiously flit from fad-to-fad, servile to market research and technocrats to tell us how the accomplish the Missio Dei?
  • Conversation Partners. I will continue to help curate Via Media Methodists and the WesleyCast, both of which are a joy and continue to grow their audiences.  I will no longer be contributing to UM Insight, but I look forward to participating in the conversation at an exciting ecumenical project called Conciliar Post. (I previously participated in a round-table discussion hosted by Conciliar Post on the incarnation here.)  Conciliar Post boasts some of the deepest cross-communion dialogue happening on the Christian blogosphere today, and I will have to be on my game as I try and keep up with the sharp young minds there assembled.  It will be a treat to offer a Wesleyan voice in conversation with so many charitable, bright folks from across the theological and ecclesial spectrum.

    conciliar post

    If you don’t know about Conciliar Post, you’re missing out.

What stays the same?

I will still post on a variety of topics, mostly having to do with Christian living, theology, ministry, and the church, but with occasional book reviews, political/cultural commentary, and miscellany.  There will be some Wesleyan/Methodist content but most of that will now be at Via Media Methodists, in addition to occasional guest pieces at Conciliar Post as well as a variety of Metho-nerd outlets.

Thanks!

To all of my readers, those who are fans and those who are critics, those who are fellow theology geeks or Metho-nerds and those who are Jesus-followers looking for bread on the journey as we seek to tarry on with our Lord, I give my sincere thanks.  It is a joy to share reason, wrestle, pray, and wonder with you, and I thank you for reading and sharing, for offering feedback, and for inspiring me towards sanctification even in this peculiar world of theo-blogging.  I raise my glass to you and thank you for joining as we shift gears and drive on to the next phase of the journey.

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