31 May 2010

Sunday 30 May 2010 - The Servant King

I was asked to supply-preach this morning on the general subject of "Memorial Day". I chose to use the assigned Epistle reading from the lectionary, Romans 5:1-11 but I departed from the lectionary for the Gospel reading and chose the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet from John: John 13:1-9

The sermon can be found on my sermon blog.

19 May 2010

Non-Profit Panera

I thought this article in today's edition of USA Today was very interesting: Non-Profit Panera Cafe: Take what you need, pay what you can.

It would be interesting to see how this eventually works out.

Very briefly, the former CEO of Panera Cafe, Ron Shaich, "has converted a former Panera-owned restaurant in an urban area of St. Louis into a non-profit restaurant dubbed Saint Louis Bread Company Cares Cafe." The cafe serves the same menu as a standard Panera Bread Cafe but instead of facing a cash register at check-out, patrons face a donation box where they can leave the suggested price for their meal, leave more or eat without paying.

This past Sunday was the first Sunday that the free-will cafe was opened and revenues were up 20% over the previous week.

I hope that USA Today keeps us informed of what happens.

17 May 2010

Heck is for People Who Don't Believe in Gosh

My cyber-friend, Allan Bevere has been kind enough to sponsor a post by me on the subject of heaven and hell, what it means to be a Christian, and what our eternal hope is.

I asked him to do this because it arose out of another discussion on his blog. Also, his blog gets a higher readership and discussion rate than this blog, so I'm hoping that there will be a good discussion. In the event that you read my blog and not Allan's, please go over and comment on the post: Heck is for People Who Don't Believe in Gosh.

If it tempts you over, let me say that I don't believe that going to heaven and avoiding hell is a foundational Christian doctrine. I also don't believe that "going to heaven" is our hope for eternal life although I do believe that "being resurrected into the New Creation" is.

13 May 2010

Women of the Kingdom

I was raised in a very conservative Protestant Christian tradition. A tradition that has a very high regard for the study of theology but which also views the bible as verbally inspired, inerrant and infallible in all matters, including matters of history and science. You'd probably not be surprised to learn that this tradition does not countenance the ordination of women on the ground Scripture teaches that men have headship over women and may therefore not be taught or led by women.

One of the joys and delights of being a Methodist is that women achieved full equality in the Church some decades ago. The US Methodist Church gave full clergy rights to women in 1956 (although some prior historic Methodist denominations had ordained women in the 19th century) and I believe that the British Methodist Church first ordained women to ministries of word and sacrament in the 1970s (although women had been admitted to the office of Local Preacher long before that).

It's also been my experience in British Methodism that men can often be quite fierce in their defending the equality of men and women before God and in our respective roles in the Kingdom. As a woman raised in a "headship" context, I know that I sometimes feel that I dare not get too worked up about the issue for the emotional toll it will take on me if I focus too much energy on the issue. I therefore appreciate men like my colleague, Dave Warnock who speak out forcefully on the subject of equality.

One of the frustrations of being a Methodist, however, is the often widespread view that the matter of women's equality and ministry has been "settled" long ago and that "no one" believes in headship any more and "no one" believes or acts as if women are inferior.

I invite those who think that this is a minor matter to read the following article: Women of the Kingdom by author and house-church promoter Felicity Dale. (Hat tip to Allan Bevere.)

Far from using language that suggests that these attitudes are in the past, Dale says that "the Holy Spirit is beginning to change sexist attitudes".

Which Methodist or other mainstream Protestant Christian would think that anyone in the 21st century would say something like
  • “Of course, we’ll put both your names on the front cover. This book is far too important to have been written by a woman!”
  • "God will use a woman—but only when there is no man available to do the job."
For every Methodist or other mainstream Christian who thinks that the matter of the equality of women does not need to be addressed, I suggest you read this article and then search for other articles on the subject of complimentarianism and the ordination of women. We need to keep speaking about these issues for the sake of every woman who believes that God thinks she is "less equal than others" simply because she is female.

10 May 2010

Rise in Glory

I can't add a lot to the many memorial posts on the death of Octogenarian Methodist Blogger Olive Morgan of Octomusings so perhaps I can add a different photo instead. Like some other British Methodist Bloggers, I met Olive at a "Methodist Bloggers Conference" in early 2008.

An ever-present figure at Conference running the Methodist Evangelicals Together booth, Olive made a point of attending my ordination in Scarborough in June 2008. This is a photo of the two of us outside the Scarborough Spa Convention Centre after the service of Acceptance into Full Connexion and hours prior to my ordination.

I called this post "Rise in Glory" after the traditional wish: "May she rest in peace and rise in glory" because, although I can certainly imagine Olive being peaceful I somehow can't imagine her resting. The two times I met her in person, she was full of life and energy and enthusiasm for the Lord. She is the sort of person that I want to be like when I grow up. Blessings on your family until we meet again in the Kingdom, Olive.

03 May 2010

Sermon: Touchstone Moments

Link to a short sermon for Easter 6 based on the lectionary reading from Revelation 21:10, 21:22-22:5. Written for The Preacher Magazine: Touchstone Moments

02 May 2010

A Word in Time

A bit of self-promotion: Check out A Word in Time this week.