Some thoughts on church,
and postmodernism,
and how it is that we find integrity and wholeness
in our varied forms of worship
and understandings of God.

An Entry Point

I've organized this blog chronologically from its inception, which is backwards from how most blogs are organized. Basically that means that the dates you see for each post to the right are imaginary. Don't worry about it. They show up in the right order...think of the "older posts" link as a "next" button.

And a BIG THANKS! to those who were willing to be interviewed, and who offered suggestions. You're really good sports, and I'm glad to know you (even though I've only ever really met Jay Voorhees, and I'm not sure that we did more than show up at the same seminar once).


Some Deeper Thoughts on COF and Jay Voorhees

Thus far, what strikes me most from what Jay has said is the notion of pastors being "environmental engineers, creating spaces by which Christian community and the experience of God can flourish." I, like Jay, found my seminary experience to be formative rather than indoctrinating, and thus a valuable part of my preparation for ministry. Coupled with the belief we share that the UMC's theological heritage may suit us to minister to postmodern/emerging people, as we live in the belief that we are on a journey of dicovering and growing in relationship with God and one another. Our Wesleyan roots give us the freedom to accept that there is tremendous mystery in our relationships with God and God's desire for us, yet we can also have assurance that God's love and presence are real, even as we work out what that means to us on an individual and corporate level. Jay also brings out the very real issue of how we can be present to postmodern/emerging people, as a way to make the prelimiary contacts that lead to relationships. I think the Internet is one valid and potentially effective way to establish a presence, whether is be through splashy websites, blogging, or local contacts through a social networking site like Facebook. I continue to be concerned that we have a way to have good and healthy relationships online, and also to have some means for these relationships to become incarnate (pardon the pun): to take on some flesh-and-blood or brick and mortar context. Jesus taught the value of affirming one another face to face, of healing touch and the ministry of being truly, physically present to one another; I don't think we can be truly successful in ministry if we do not do this, although I am also convinced that online relationships can have real value in helping people grow closer to God and one another. It's a bit of a paradox to hold both ideas in tension, but this is the place I find myself. There is an old illustration that wanders around in email from time to time about a little girl who was afraid to be alone in the dark at night. Her mother and father shone the flashlight under the bed and made sure the closet door was securely closed; they made sure no tree branches would brush up against the house and make scary noices. Finally, they told her that she would not be alone in the dark; Jesus would always be with her. "That's fine," she said, "but won't you stay with me? I like my Jesus with skin on." That's how I think most of us like our Jesus: with skin on, incarnated in the community of believers. That's why I think that virtual relationships are fine, to a point, but should lead to incarnate relationships, where we can meet our Jesus together with his skin-on body. Geez, that sounds vaguely nasty, but you know what I mean. I like my Jesus with skin on.

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About Me

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I am a United Methodist (UM) pastor, married to a UM pastor, which makes life entertaining from time to time. I am a newly minted D. Min--yes, that's Rev. Dr. Anne, to you. I am a learner and teller of stories, looking at how we share faith and relationships. Any views I express here are not necessarily United Methodist views: they are mine.