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United Methodist Church is a Connectional Church

Our United Methodist Church is a connectional church. Every United Methodist congregation is interconnected to other churches throughout the denomination via a chain of area conferences. This is the opposite of the non-denominational or independent churches we see popping up out of the blue all around us. At the Mill Creek Fair there was a booth for the Redemption Church – I had to look it up. Canyon Creek Church recently purchased the only American Baptist Church on 35th. Like many of these churches Canyon Creek was started by a single person. On the Church website it says: “Canyon Creek...

A Winning Attitude

Recently I’ve been following college NCAA baseball; the Oregon State Beavers are rated #1 in the country!  It is exciting, anxiety provoking and ultimately… sinful.  We often talk about having a “winning attitude” which can mean having a positive approach toward the game being played – but it isn’t just a positive approach to the game, it is restrictively attached to the results of the game, and when that is done things get problematic.  Winning necessitates the defeat of the other.  The experience of going through a losing season with a child who is playing a sport will tell one...

Shaking Things Up

Confirmation class is underway. Last Saturday, the topic was Jesus and we talked about the different images of Jesus that we have. The starting point is the gospels – four of them in the canon. Each gospel presents an image of Jesus. The gospel writers were not writing history, they were telling the story of Jesus in order to evoke faith in their particular community. Therefore, each gospel is tailored to move their community in a specific circumstance. Before Constantine became Emperor of Rome there were many communities with various understandings and image of Jesus. Constantine did not want this...

Thoughts on preparing for SUMYT Retreat

After my birthday, it came to mind that I might be the oldest person to be the speaker at the youth SUMYT Retreat. I have attended this retreat occasionally over the years between my two sons, and I don’t recall anyone my age as the speaker. One year two seminary students shared the role. I also recall two colleagues speaking and they weren’t “young” like the seminary students but they were younger than I am now. I was surprised to receive the invitation for this reason; how can someone so elderly relate to youth today? I know that the youth...

A Call to Resistance

I have thought about having a Social Justice Committee or Task Force at Cedar Cross United Methodist Church for a while. Different from a Missions Committee, Social Justice Committees work at political advocacy. For example, to be in a relationship with Faith Action Network, the lobbying group that represents churches in the Puget Sound area; or Earth Ministry, and educational and lobbying group in Seattle. But it could be much more than that involving ourselves as a church in issues that concern us: healthcare, the environment, homelessness. What I feel is that after our election it may be a good...

Pastor Jim’s Blog: Faith and Politics

I know that many upon seeing this title will cringe. Faith and politics should not mix!  I think people believe this less for ideological reasons these days than for practical reasons.  It will bring conflict and then division; it will hurt our church.  For quite some time that has been the practice.  At the same time there is a clear biblical mandate to engage the world and that cannot be done without becoming political.  As I believe we all know, the federal tax code does not allow us to endorse candidates or party platforms.  That doesn’t mean we can’t be...