Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

I know I said Sunday I would explore more why and how people get fixated on a particular point of religion, but then I got sidetracked by Trump’s dream, and now you will have to wait some more to learn about religious fixations, because I feel the need to comment on General Conference, and say, “I don’t care!”

As an old person, there are many things about which I can gladly and legitimately say, “I don’t care about that.” I don’t care if young people have never heard of Ignacy Jan Paderewski or The Chad Mitchell Trio or “The Big Story” radio show. I have heard them, and hear them still, through the miracle of memory. I feel no need to require others to listen to them, or to tell them how superior they are to the dreck young people listen to now. [One reason I don’t care is that I know when I was young, old people thought what I listened to was dreck. That’s the way it always is.]

So there is a way I really mean it when I say that I don’t care about the General Conference or what the folks there decide about anything [except my pension].

The General Conference [GC] is the contentiousness center for The United Methodist Church. Every four years delegates/members from the UMC all over the world gather in the same place to be contentious. [One of the contentions is often what the delegates or members or whatever they are should be called.]

The contentious issues there are the same as always—sex, power, and exclusion. And the folks at GC bring with them not the spirit of God to apply to these issues, but the current cultural consensus of their particular place in the world. That’s okay. The world needs to be brought into the church. The world is where the action is. The world, not the church, is where the Holy Spirit is at work. Albert Outler, the great church historian, used to say, “The church never does the right thing except from the pressure of the world.”

The problem is not bringing the world into the church, into the GC. The problem is that the world brought into the GC is already gone. So I don’t care what the GC does. It will always be behind.

The problem with “the noise of solemn assemblies” in the church is that the folks at GC bring the current cultural consensus into the room with them, not the cultural consensus of tomorrow. They contend about where the Holy Spirit used to work. Tomorrow is where the Holy Spirit is already.

 I care about the how the Holy Spirit is working in the world, not the church. The spirit of God “blows where it will.” The church is always behind, so why care what it does?

Pentecost didn’t happen when a bunch of church people were sitting in a room contending about what to do next. Yes, the tongues of fire and the sound of a mighty wind came then and there, but Pentecost didn’t happen until they followed the Spirit out of the room and into the world.

I go to church for the learning and the fellowship and the singing and the food, not the action. I go to the world for the action, because that’s the home of the Holy Spirit. That’s where the action is. I like to be where the action is.


I tweet as yooper1721.

They called them heroes. They said, “Thank you for your service.” Then forgot about them. Joe Kirk lost a leg. Lonnie Blifield lost his eyes. Victoria Roundtree lost her skin. “Zan” Zander lost his mind. Four homeless and hopeless Iraqistan VETS who accidentally end up living together on an old school bus. With nowhere to go, and nothing else to do, they lurch from one VAMC to another, getting no help because, like the thousands of other Iraqistan VETS who are homeless, unemployed, and suicidal, they do not trust the system and refuse to “come inside.” After another fruitless stop, at the VAMC in Iron Mountain, Michigan, a doctor is found dead, and the VETS are accused of his murder. Distrustful, strangers to America, to each other, and even to themselves, they must become a unit to learn who really murdered the doctor, so that they can be free. In doing so, they uncover far more, about themselves and about their country, than they dared even to imagine. VETS is vailable from your local independent book store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Books-A-Million, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $12.99 for paperback, and $3.99 for ebook. Free if you can get your library to buy one. [Yes, it’s all capitals, VETS, when you look for it. otherwise you’ll get veterinarian stuff.]

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