September 24th, 2006

hound of heaven

Autumn colors

Sassy at McCormick's Creek Sassy at McCormick's Creek

First weekend of Fall, 2006

I took Sassafras for a good long walk last Friday at the nearby State Park. She loved it. She's at her most active in the Fall -- and her color is so seasonal, too.

Here I stand

I preached a sermon on the ordained ministry today. We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of full ordination for women in The UMC, and while that's not an issue for me, I don't feel comfortable preaching about "women in ministry."* So I got down to basics and preached a sermon about the clergy, their place in the Church, the challenges the Church faces in regards to the clergy, and how laity can support those who serve and those who need to hear the call by their prayers.

It was a tad more straightforward than what most congregations are served up, I'm sure. I did not rant, but I left few doubts about where I stood on certain issues. Yeah, it was a ripsnorter. I was a bit apprehensive going in, but they loved it. You know, the more I back the good sense and intelligence of ordinary Christians, the more they reward my trust in them. People want to know stuff. They want to be in on things. They care about the fate of the Church. And they can take hard news, if it's got to be shared. (And they really like it when their pastor comes out of the closet and says he actually believes all that stuff in the front of the book, instead of playing cutesy with doctrine.)

To my surprise, my District Superintendent dropped in today for worship. So I wound up delivering my soul on ordained ministry to the boss. I figure this'll either seal my nomination to the District Committee on Ministry or maybe blackball it for ever. But I said only stuff that really matters, and that I really believe. More than that can no one do.

*Assuming that the issue is settled -- as it is in my denomination -- then any sermon I could preach on "women in ministry" would wind up either a)full of stuff better said by an actual female elder, or b)questioning the desirability of women elders. I can't speak to their experience, and I'm not setting myself up to oppose their participation, so why bother with that theme?