June 4th, 2013


Methodists and Apostolic Succession, FWIW

This article was linked to on the Confessing Movement FB page. I'm not endorsing it in toto, but I've posted on many of these issues before. For those who are advocates of Apostolic Succession, this will not convince them of the validity of Methodist ordinations; meanwhile, there are many who would understand apostolicity in an entirely different way, and the cachet of AS in Methodism does not add anything of value for them.

The important thing to keep in mind is that Methodism is not one of those movements that just decided to start with a blank piece of paper and make it up according to some theory of church governance derived from their own reading of the Scriptures. We received our practices and theology from those before us, and we see ourselves* in continuity with the English Church tradition going back to before the breakup of Eastern and Western Christianity.


*Well, some of us do.
by himself

Update on Hera

Hera is a very sick kitty. She has recently stopped eating her special food. She nibbled a bit of dry food yesterday. She's restless, and she holds herself in a kind of crouch. Her tummy hurts, I'm sure. She wants a lot of attention.

She was diagnosed with cancer last week or so. She's been losing weight for a year (and has none to lose, really). We're trying to keep her comfortable and enjoy her while we have her. She's only three and a half years old, no great age for a cat. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated for her.

This picture was taken of her on our bed this morning. She jumped up there to get my attention while I was getting dressed. Though she may be uncomfortable, yet she is very loving and purrs all the while one plays with her.

Hera in typical pose

Hera in typical pose
She's always looked at the world upside-down

No cause for celebration

I was running a quick errand to our local Boy Scout Council office this morning, where I met up with a fellow Council Board member. He informed me happily that he had a Troop in his District that was going to be dropped by their chartering organization -- a conservative church -- because of BSA's new membership policy, but that the leaders had already contacted a United Methodist congregation and were going to transfer to that organization.

We chatted a bit about the hit BSA is going to take in members and units as some people and organizations withdraw their support. There will be a fair number of people who are mad now, but who will calm down and continue -- though I'm guessing their level of volunteering and giving will drop significantly. And there are others, of course, who will let their membership expire or who will drop their charters and sever their orgs' connections to the Scouts. Nobody knows quite how big the hit will be, or how quickly BSA will recover from it.

But I gotta tell ya, to be seen as the go-to charter partner of last resort doesn't make me all kinds of happy. If I had some Scouters come to me, a UM pastor, asking for my church to assume their charter, I'd be asking some tough questions of them. When I ask, how do you see us in partnership, I'd be expecting the typical answer, "all you have to do is give us a place to meet," etc. To which I would reply, I know what you expect of me; I want to know what I can expect from YOU. In what sense will your Troop/Pack/Crew be OUR Scouting ministry? From my point of view, merely re-flagging the ship so that a Liberian tanker becomes a Panamanian tanker is not any kind of improvement. If you don't understand the church's goals and want to advance them, why do you think we want you to be acting on our behalf?

I find that too many Scouters (even church-related ones) find it impossible to think in those terms. I sit on our Council Board and try to remind my fellows what the "charter partner concept" actually means. I am singing to the tone-deaf.

Of course, when I go to Annual Conference and talk to my fellow clergy, I am like a man doing shadow puppetry for the blind. *sigh*