Something the Storms Blew Away

The Longest Night

The night Irma came to Eagle Lake was the longest night of the year!

When her 120 mph winds swept over our house it was as if we were sitting in a train station with high speed, non-stop trains roaring past. We wondered if the windows could withstand the pressure and if the old cedar tree and the newly planted magnolia would still be standing when the sun came up.

We were among the fortunate ones, unlike so many people in Houston, Key West, or Puerto Rico for whom so much was blown away.  The windows held, the trees are still standing, and insurance will help cover the cost of a new roof.

What can we do to help people who have lost so much?

Before the power came back on, we sent another donation to the United Methodist Committee of Relief (http://www.umcor.org) and started collecting items for “flood buckets.”  As it always is, UMCOR was ready to meet the real needs of real people and provide the rest of us with a way to serve.  Faith-based agencies like UMCOR are usually the first into the crisis and the last to leave.  Because it receives denominational support, every dollar designated for a specific need goes there.

The Longest Word

That’s when I remembered the longest word in the English language: Antidisestablishmentarianism.

It was planted in my brain when a young contestant correctly spelled it to win the prize on the 1950s TV show, The $64,000 Question. It’s actually the longest “non-coined” word (Mary Poppins takes that prize with supercalifragilisticexpialidocious) or the longest technical or medical term.

In the 19th Century it identified a movement that opposed displacing the Anglican Church as the established church in England, Ireland and Wales.

One of the things that gets blown away by natural disasters like Harvey, Irma, Maria or the earthquake in Mexico is the disestablishmentarianism of our time. Politicians who get elected by promising to tear down the Federal government are the first in line for FEMA funds when the storms hit their states. People who are determined to slash government spending expect the first responders to be on call in a crisis.  And folks who wonder if these weary, old, mainline, denominational churches make any difference in our world are grateful when agencies like UMCOR are ready to help.

It’s just one of the reasons that I can’t give up on finding a way to hold the United Methodist Church together.  UMCOR is just one example of the way the really important things that bind us together — our Wesleyan theology, our history, our tradition, and our mission — are stronger than the things that divide us.  If we Methodists can find a way to be in ministry together while honoring the diversity of our convictions, we may have a critically important witness for our deeply divided nation.

Join the Movement 

That’s why I feel called to be a part of the Uniting Methodists movement.  If you are a United Methodist and share this conviction, I hope you will join us!

Grace and peace,

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Will Your “One, Wild and Precious Life” Make a Difference?

The Shameless Commerce Division 

Saturday mornings will never be the same without NPR’s “Car Talk.” You didn’t need to know anything about cars to enjoy the Magliozzi brothers humorous chatter which ends this month.

If you were a fan, you’re familiar with their “Shameless Commerce Division.”  You could put this post in the same category, but I share it because I hope it will helpful to faithful people who are searching for the way their “one wild and precious life” (Mary Oliver’s beautiful phrase) can make a difference in this world.

“Make A Difference” includes the stories of real real people who have discovered the unique way they can make a Christ-like difference in this world.  9781501847585I’m grateful for each of them and for many others whose stories didn’t make it into the book, but who have shown me what it looks like for followers of Christ to participate in the ongoing work of God’s Kingdom, coming on earth as it is already fulfilled in heaven.

I’m particularly excited about the DVD  that accompanies the book.  The young leaders who gathered around the table with me are the kind of people who give me great hope for the next generation of leaders.

This resource completes the journey that began with “A Disciple’s Path” by exploring what it means to live into the mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

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It led through  ” Disciple’s Heart”  to  “Earn. Save. Give.”  Finally, “Make A Difference” leads us to discover how we can become participants in God’s transformation of the world.

I’m humbled by and grateful for the way the Spirit is using these resources and pray that they will continue to make a real difference in the real lives of real followers of Jesus Christ in this very real world.

Thanks for listen…now back to “Car Talk.”

Grace and peace,

Jim