Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Canada Losing It's Religion

Canada is headed the same direction as Europe. And, it's likely showing the U.S. where we are headed, even in the southeast, as secularization sweeps the land. "Before 1971, less than 1 per cent of Canadians ticked the “no religion” box on national surveys. Two generations later, nearly a quarter of the population, or 23 per cent, say they aren’t religious."

Catch this-- "Religious scholars see perhaps the majority of today’s young Canadian adults as disappearing down a black hole of spiritual illiteracy from which institutional religion cannot retrieve them. The cause is also a product of young adults increasingly seeing organized religion as illogical and out of touch with reality."

Later, "Religious scholars see perhaps the majority of today’s young Canadian adults as disappearing down a black hole of spiritual illiteracy from which institutional religion cannot retrieve them." And then, "What attracts native-born Canadians to church these days, says religion sociologist David Seljak of St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ont., is the availability of parking, quality of preaching and children’s programs, in that order."

Does any of this sound eerily familiar to your community and conversations?

"Canada: Losing It's Religion?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

UMC Call to Action

Just in case you missed it here's the link to the UMC Call to Action.

I'm curious what North GA UMC is talking about & planning on in terms of this report. Are we already making adjustments or waiting on further UMC action including General Conference before moving ahead? Will we be making 2011 appointments with this in mind? Will Jurisdictional conferences choose bishops based on this criteria and complementary skill set? Should delegates to annual conferences choose delegates for GC & JC based on this sort of thinking about the UMC? Or should we fall back to what we've done in recent years?

So many questions as I peer into the CTA & 2011. How do we jump to NOT doing "business as usual?" Are we REALLY going to elect THOSE people?! Much of the report has focus on congregational vitality, growing membership, and in particular successfully engaging the younger generations. I'm not sure we'll quickly or easily move away from status quo, "toxic," and "unsustainable." See CTA Final Report News if you don't get the references. I'm also curious if this will prove more contentious to the UMC than some of our hot topic social issues of recent years! In terms of Methodism, it will be curious to see if these truly become our top priorities at the congregational, clergy, & episcopal levels or if we'll prefer to give top shelf to some other aspect of our historic/past identity.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Waiting for a Wrecker & Looking Into 2011

Our car broke down on Christmas Eve after my wife returned home from the early children & family worship service. The intent was for my teenage son to then drive to church and attend a traditional candlelight service. But in the hand off, when they tried to start the car back up, it would crank but not move well. So, change of plans for them as I finished the night at church in the various worship services.

Now I'm sitting here waiting on the tow truck to pick up the car to visit our mechanic. He knows this old car well & they visit a little too often!

I'm thinking back on the roller coaster ride of the last year. The days and weeks do fly. And our rapidly changing times add spice... no, wait, is it anxiouisness... hmm, maybe challenge... oh, I don't know what the correct word is! But it seems the rapid change & challenges are tough for our institutions to deal with-- family, school, city, denomination, country. Just think about the havoc of the economy of the last year/s and how that is leveling/changing the playing field. Or read
Methodist Year in Review to recall what the last year brought us.

2011 huh?

As I said a few times through the end of 2009, and early in 2010 before life got hyperacitve, it appears that we are in a time of institutional reformation. It will be fun, and exciting, to see if 2011 is a time of spiritual reformation and renewal in addition to the "process" changes that are occuring. In particular, it will be exciting to see what the next 2 years brings the United Methodist Church as we move toward a reformation and realignment of the church to best meet the needs of our day with the available resources. I haven't heard any North GA UM convversation about the Call to Action. My guess is I'll soon hear more on appointments (unless there's another lock down on talk), delegate politics (it's an election year), and talk about funding woes.

Well, the tow truck is here. I hope 2011 is unlike my old car, & proves a fine running machine that won't need the wrecker too often!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Heaven Cannot Contain

After the kids opened presents and we hit that slow, nice part of Christmas Day, I found myself listing to some of Carl Gladstone's Advent Hymns based on great Charles Wesley music. I appreciate the depth of C. Wesley theology and the way Carl is brings it to life today. These are some of the words that helped my experience of Christmas today. Merry Christmas!

Heaven Cannot Contain
words by Charles Wesley,
music by Carl Thomas Gladstone

Glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend;
...God comes down; bows the sky,
and shows himself our friend!

Heaven cannot contain!
Knees and hearts to him we bow;
Jesus is our brother now.

God invisible appears,
God the great I AM
Sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is his name.

Stand amazed, ye heavens, at this!
Lord of earth and skies
Humbled to the dust he is,
And in a manger lies!

Emptied of all majesty,
Dazzling glories shorn,
Being's source begins to be,
And God himself is born!

2008 Carl Thomas Gladstone
Some Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 22, 2010