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It is General Conference time in the United Methodist Church. Reactions can vary: Excitement; A Cure for Insomnia; Laughter; Thoughtful Consideration; Anxiety

 

Church Conferences of any denomination can be treacherous, contentious, boring, political –AND inspiring.

 

The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) must have been all of the above, but proved to be pivotal in the church’s encouraging message of unity.

 

The Jerusalem Council brought together experts on Scripture. The Holy Spirit was present. However, soon after, Paul and Barnabas parted ways in a dispute that eventually advanced the gospel.

 

The “Hot Topics” for General Conference: LGTB Legislation; Abortion; World Climate; What company UMC boycotts due to political support, etc…

It looks like to me that the “world” is influencing the United Methodist Church. See the “dread” expressed by this blogger in January.

http://www.confessingumc.org/shall-we-dread-general-conference-2016/

Doctrine is important to religion—United Methodists—any organized religion. Methodists take religious belief with the utmost seriousness as a way of viewing and living in the world. We know that beliefs shape behavior and practice.

 

The Book of Discipline states: “No motif in the Wesleyan tradition has been more constant than the link between Christian doctrine and Christian living.”

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Generally
speaking, as in General Conference, I would hope the 850 delegates would devote their entire time (10 days) to prayer. May they seek God.  Let them hear God clearly.

I watched with some disdain (sorry for the wretched truth) this morning at live streaming. The gentleman speaking ended his 45 minute talk with, “I’ve talked too long, any questions?”

I would have replied, “Yes, why did you speak so long –without focus-on something you had no passion for?”

The onlookers seated at round tables were frozen in perpetual “conference” coma and probably had carbohydrate hangover from the donuts being served.

I understand this is very harsh criticism, but I hope this is not how all 10 days will proceed.

 

We are shaped by our god(s). Whatever is ultimate to us is our god. Martin Luther wrote, “Now, I say whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your god.”

 

As far as we know, Jesus never met an atheist. It was belief in a god(s) that resulted in people calling for Jesus to be crucified. I ask this pointed question on the Hot Topics for the UMC this week. What is your god? Multiple gods compete for our loyalty.

 

Have we reduced God to a commodity to be used as a solution to personal problems or a means to selfish ends?  Is God portrayed as an instrument of one’s happiness, success, and peace of mind rather than as One who invites us to participate in His reign of compassion, justice, righteousness, and joy?  Perhaps this is why the Hot Topics are in line with Twitter’s trends.

 

Beliefs Matter. They mold us into who we are. Recognize who is your god.

Pray for the General Conference. Pray for the Church Universal

Scripture. Tradition. Reason. Experience.

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