Midweek Message – 17 January 2018
Dear Campbell Church Family,
I am writing from Mount Hermon Christian Retreat Center, while attending 2018 Gathering of Orders. Every year, the United Methodist clergy of the California-Nevada Conference, both Elders and Deacons gather together at this beautiful place and spend three days together in worship, discipleship, and fellowship. This year, with the theme of “Carrying the Cross in Today’s America,” we are reflecting on what it means to be Christian leaders in this particular time in history.
Last night, drawing from the story of Jonah and his own personal stories, our guest speaker, Rev. Alex Awad, professor and dean of students at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, pastor at East Jerusalem Baptist Church, as well as commissioned mission partner with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church reminded us how privileged and blessed we, the United Methodist clergy are, living and serving in the United States with material affluence, health insurance, retirement plan, and smart phone. Counting my blessings, I thanked God for you, my friends! We are a beautifully diverse congregation; I am privileged to be your pastor.
This morning, we had an opportunity to hear an update on the work of the Commission on a Way Forward.” Proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, the special commission was given a task of a complete examination and possible revision of the Book of Discipline, concerning human sexuality. Meeting every 6 weeks, thirty two members of the commission have been exploring options to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church. The Council of Bishops received an interim report from the commission last November (the final report is due in this May), and it is now exploring sketches of 3 models as possible directions for a way forward for our denomination. And, here is a summary about them:
- Model 1 affirms the current Book of Discipline language and places a high value on accountability.
- Model 2 removes restrictive language and places a high value on contextualization. This sketch also specifically protects the rights of those whose conscience will not allow them to perform same gender weddings or ordain LGBTQ persons.
- Model 3 is grounded in a unified core that includes shared doctrine and service and one Council of Bishops, while also creating different branches that have clearly defined values such as accountability, contextualization and justice.
While both the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops continue their work, all United Methodists are invited to engage ourselves in praying for a way forward. At the request of our bishop, we joined other churches of our conference in prayer in the first week of this month. I invite our church family to continue our prayers for the members of the commission and the bishops, as they seek “to discern God’s plan for the future of the UMC; a future that shows love for all of God’s people and a future with hope,” as Bishop Bruce Ough, the president of the COB said.
– Pastor Ouk-Yean
Read more Mid-Week Messages
MESSAGES WORTH PONDERING
For more Sermons, click here.
Read the latest blog post, “Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace” from Pastor Larry LaPierre – “the Circuit Writer”
STATEMENTS OF FAITH
“Why I Am United Methodist: Because Of Love”
– a blog post by Ben Gosden
Precious Pearl ~ On November 5, 2016, Pastor Kathi McShane spoke words of comfort at the Memorial Service for Jim Gilliland… Click to read…
BOOKS WE’VE BEEN EXPLORING
Join the Thursday evening Men’s Group who are reading a new book for a 5-session study beginning Thursday, February 8th, 2018.
The book, “If the church were Christian: Rediscovering the values of Jesus”, by Philip Gulley (a Quaker minister) is a readily accessible, thought-provoking presentation of how focusing on the positive aspects of Jesus’ values can help one to discover their own spiritual path.
The book and e-book are available and can be previewed at smile.amazon.com.
The men’s evening study group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursdays from 7pm – 8pm in the Wesley Lounge. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
by Marcus J. Borg
On the occasion of his seventieth birthday, the renowned scholar Marcus J. Borg shares how he formed his bedrock religious beliefs, contending that Christians in America are at their best when they focus on hope and transformation and so shows how we can return to what really matters most. The result is a manifesto for all progressive Christians who seek the best path for following Jesus today.
With each chapter embodying a distinct conviction, Borg writes provocatively and compellingly on the beliefs that can deeply ground us and guide us, such as: God is real and a mystery; salvation is more about this life than an afterlife; the Bible can be true without being literally true; Jesus’s death on the cross matters—but not because he paid for our sins; God is passionate about justice and the poor; and to love God is to love like God.
Other notable group readings:
In the Shelter, by Padraig O’Tuama
There’s an old Irish proverb: “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live”. In this book much-loved poet, storyteller, theologian, and speaker Pádraig Ó Tuama applies ideas of shelter and welcome to journeys of life, using poetry, story, biblical reflection and prose to open up gentle ways of living well in a troubled world.
The fourth gospel tells of Jesus arriving in the room where the disciples are gathered, full of fear, on Easter Sunday. He does not chide or admonish; instead he says ‘Peace be with you’, which, in the Aramaic of his day, was simply a greeting. ‘Hello,’ he said, welcoming people locked in a room of fear to a place of deep encounter; encounter with themselves, with their fear, with each other and with the incarnate one in their midst.
Interweaving everyday stories with analysis, gospel reflections with mindfulness and Celtic spirituality with poetry, this book explores the practice of welcoming as a spiritual discipline. In particular, Pádraig tells careful stories of welcoming parts of life that are often unwelcome.
When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
New York Times Bestseller • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question, What makes a life worth living?
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
The Active Life: Wisdom of Work, Creativity and Caring by Parker J. Palmer
Vital, down-to-earth wisdom for active people who serve others or work for social change. Drawing from the teachings of Chuang Tzu, Martin Buber, Jesus, and Julia Esquivel, Palmer presents a detailed framework for a spiritual life in the active world–for the uncelibate, unsolitary, and unsilent lives that most of us lead.
More inspirational reading…
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life
by Marilee Adams
In this new expanded edition of her classic international bestseller, Marilee Adams shows how the kinds of questions we ask shape our thinking and can be the root cause of many personal and organizational problems. She uses a highly instructive and entertaining story to show how to quickly recognize any undermining questions that pop into your mind—or out of your mouth—and reframe them to achieve amazingly positive and practical results. The third edition includes a new introduction and epilogue and two powerful new tools that show how Question Thinking can dramatically improve coaching and leadership.
What Did Jesus Ask?
As a teacher, Jesus Christ put many of his lessons in the form of questions. The gospels recorded some 100 others. Some are rhetorical, needing no answer, but most were real questions posed to real people. Many of Jesus’ questions are familiar to readers today, yet the context and the potential interpretations of such phrases will offer enlightenment to many.
Organized by Biblical verse, in “What Did Jesus Ask?”, more than 70 of today’s most prominent spiritual writers, religious leaders and artists offer modern meditations on the questions Jesus asks in the Bible. Their contemplations provide telling context, with both contemporary and traditional interpretations to lead readers on an exploration of their own faith and to shape their own meaningful answers.