Schism Is a Failure of Love and Leadership

Posted: October 13, 2016 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

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.

shiftingmargins

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.[1]

As Christ’s followers, we are commanded to love one…

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Loyal Disobedience

Posted: August 26, 2016 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

Oboedire

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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Where Does God Dwell?

Posted: August 26, 2016 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

Jim Harnish

The Sacrament of Summer Days

220px-2009-0619-BayView-CottagesWe spent the past week at  Bay View, Michigan.  It’s a summer community on Lake Michigan that started as a Methodist camp meeting in 1875.  Later it joined the Chautauqua movement, providing a summer program of religious, cultural and educational activities that continues to this day.  It’s on the National Register of Historic Places because of its perfectly-preserved Victorian “cottages.”  (Don’t let that word fool you; most of them are actually large houses.)

I had the privilege of preaching and lecturing during the last week of their 141st season. The cool breezes gave hints of autumn which is definitely on the way…up north, at least.  Many  residents have left.  Some of the cottages were already closed for the winter ahead.  By the end of October the community will be entirely shut down until next spring.

In the final lecture, I shared a beautiful poem by Emily Dickinson which captures the feeling of “Indian Summer,”…

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The Kind of Leader We Need

Posted: July 22, 2016 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

Jim Harnish

What Kind of Leader Do We Really Need?

It goes without saying — though I will say it anyway! — that we are facing deep divisions in both our nation and (speaking as a United Methodist) in our church.  What kind of leaders do we need to show us the way forward?

I had never heard of William White, but he’s become a model for me of the kind of leaders we desperately need at this moment in history.

220px-William_White-Bishop_Episcopal_Church_USA-1795 (1)Born in Philadelphia in 1747, White was a priest in the Church of England. In spite of his ordination vow of loyalty to the King, he supported the Revolution and served as chaplain to the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789.  He then served for ten years as the Chaplain of the Senate. He led in writing the constitution for the Episcopal Church in America and became its first Presiding Bishop.  One writer points to…

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