By Matt Horan
A couple years ago I preached a sermon on Matthew 12:30-35 at Seminole Heights United Methodist about our motivations in ministry. Do we participate in the life of the church out of a superstitious, “karma-like” fear that something bad might happen if we don’t, and a hope that the chances of good things happening will increase if we do? Do we feel guilty if we don’t? Are we trying to affect how we’ll spend eternity by our participation, as if we’re storing up points in our favor?
To test and see if the congregation was alert and understood the concept of motivation, I asked them to watch a compilation video of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s infamous press conference before the NFL’s Super Bowl XLVIII to see if they could discern his motivation for showing up to speak to reporters on the required media day.
As an added element to help make the point, I ordered an “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” t-shirt to wear. What if that was the motivation for your pastor showing up on Sunday morning? Read the rest of this entry »
A profound word about the kind of model of unity the church of Jesus Christ has the opportunity to be for our increasingly divided world.
Talk of schism in The United Methodist Church abounds, exposing an already distracted church. Contemplating split precisely when the world needs an embodied message of reconciliation is a transparent betrayal of the church’s nature and mission.
John Wesley in his sermon “On Schism” declares:
To separate ourselves from a body of living Christians, with whom we were before united, is a grievous breach of the law of love. It is the nature of love to unite us together; and the greater the love, the stricter the union. . . . It is only when our love grows cold, that we can think of separating from our brethren. And this is certainly the case with any who willingly separate from their Christian brethren. . . The pretences for separation may be innumerable, but want of love is always the real cause.
As Christ’s followers, we are commanded to love one…
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The various acts of non-conformity which have followed The United Methodist General Conference have been swiftly described as acts of disobedience, which are then promptly labeled as manifestations of disloyalty. Various groups and bodies have attempted to frame the issue this way.Unfortunately, to do so is to misunderstand resistance as a study of nonviolence reveals.
Of course, there are forms of disobedience that are reflective of disloyalty, but to name every act of disobedience as disloyalty is to caricature it–which essentially means dismissing the necessity and validity of nonviolent resistance, and treating it rather as something to be punished. It is crucial to distinguish between disloyal and loyal disobedience.
I first learned about nonviolent resistance as a student at Asbury Theological Seminary under the guidance of Dr. Robert Lyon, who organized the L.O. Society (Loyal Opposition). He used the group to teach the principles of nonviolence and to train interested…
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