1000th Post

This is my 1000th post (on this blog).  I started a blog when my son was born and it went through a couple of name changes before landing on this url and official name.  I then moved my blog from a blogspot address to its own url and I have seen the audience dwindle.  That is also because my posts have dwindled considerable.  Time to write and think and post have not come as often as they have in the past.  I hope I can improve this habit because I do miss it.

For my readers and those who have witnessed the ups and downs, let me thank you.  Thank you for your patience, your willingness to read and the ability to look past the typos, all 1,000,000+ of them.  I have never professed to be good at writing but that hasn’t stopped me either.

For my 1000th post I wanted to highlight some things I have learned along the way.  One, the traffic to this site is usually to look at sermons I have posted.  I have moved away from the lectionary in this appointment a lot and do more sermon series now.  I am going to try and post some of those here more often but my sermon writing has changed a little and I hope for the better.

Two, this is a confession.  Since posts on this blog now go out on Twitter and Facebook I have become a little hesitant on posting my true thoughts and reflections.  The main reason is because I am in a new appointment (only 14 months in) and I didn’t want any of my personal beliefs to get in the way of people getting to know me.  There are some subjects that my current congregation (I would say the majority of them but not all) would disagree on.  I wanted our relationship to start as mutual respect and adoration for each other.  Not polarizing ideas on politics and social concerns.  Now that they have gotten to know me I hope to start to get back to some of my commentary and reflections on what is happen in the world.

Over these seven years I think Facebook and Twitter and Vine and Instagram and all other social media  sites have put a damper on the conversations I use to get into on my blog.  That and I don’t interact with other bloggers as much as I did 5 years ago.  I may read some of the blogs that I use to but now much of my reading is in other areas, even Goggle Reader has gone by the way side.

I still think though, now that I am 1000 posts in, that this provides a good place to explore ideas of theology and ministry.  This blog is a place where I can share my struggles and voice my opinion.  I appreciate the space to do so and I am not sure if I would be where I am in ministry if it wasn’t for this avenue.

So as my 1000th post, let me say thank you to my readers, thank you to this thing called the internet for giving me space (although now I pay for it) to write, and for the connections I have made along the way with people I may never met except in the blogosphere.

Peace be with you all and here’s to another 1000 posts.

Jim

PS: This is not the blog of the actor that plays Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory”, so stop trying to friend me on Facebook!

NC Pastor’s post receives interesting comments

Talbot Davis, minister of Good Shepherd (a UM Congregation) in Charlotte, NC, ran a post on his blog entitled, Top Five Things I Don’t Really Believe.  It was picked up by the United Methodist Reporter‘s Facebook page.  His #1 Thing is on Infant Baptism.  The methopherse has been in an uproar since.  What is really interesting are the comments, both on his blog and on the UMR’s Facebook page.  

Here is what Davis wrote on his blog; (go to the link above for full version)

1.  God Does The Baptizing.  In seminary and beyond, I heard teaching on the subject of infant baptism that grounded the practice in the confidence that “God does the baptizing.”  The logic goes  something like this:  “The reason we Methodists can baptize babies is because we put the emphasis on God in the sacraments.  The reason Baptists don’t is because they think sacraments are more about people.”  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Makes our tribe a bit more erudite and theological than our immersion-happy brethren.  You can baptize an infant because even though the baby doesn’t know what’s happening, he or she now has a divine, moist seal of approval. I was taught it, I believed it, I spoke it, and that settled it.  My own children (now 23 & 20) were even baptized as infants.
Here’s the problem:  God doesn’t baptize.  God saves.  We respond by getting baptized.  
Nowhere in the New Testament do we read the words or even intuit the concept that God baptizes.
Whether it’s Peter’s emphatic “Repent and be baptized” in Acts 2:38 or the wandering Ephesians who get re-baptized in Acts 19:1-7 or even Paul’s subtle yet unmistakable picture of baptism-by-immersion in Romans 6:3-5, the New Testament is consistent and clear: people choose their own baptism.  They come to faith and then to make that faith public, they get wet.
It’s not complicated, it’s not a spiritual birthmark, it’s not a naming ceremony, it’s not even the New Testament equivalent of circumcision.  It’s death to the old life and resurrection to the new.  And babies don’t have old lives to die to.  
And . . . best of all the practices I’ve learned from some of our non-denominational friends . . . in the context of a church gathering parents can baptize their own children and friends can do the same for folks they have led to faith.  
That may not be very Methodist but it sure is contagious.

The comments that are range from support to utter shock that Davis is United Methodist.  There are critiques that since Good Shepherd is one of the top 100 largest United Methodist Congregations that the DS and Bishop turn a blind eye (see comments on Facebook).  Others are glad to see him profess this openly and are proud of the work he is doing.

I will confess it made my blood curdle a little bit but this is not the first time that I have seen Davis come out like this on infant baptism.  I have questioned him on his stance in other posts of his on blog in the past.  Is this theologically controversial, yes.  But it leads to good questions and dialogue.

Whether you agree that Davis is in alignment with UMC theology or not, it does demonstrate the basic value of the UMC.  As we attempt to hold down the extreme center we will have people we disagree with theologically, practically, politically, and personally.  That will happen and I think that is a great image of the Kingdom of God.  We should have open and honest conversations about what we believe and what we disagree with when it comes the theology of the UMC.  God knows I don’t agree with 100% of what the Discipline says too.

Through conversation we grow deeper in our understanding of and relationship with God.

Plagiarism

Here is a pretty good article from the UMCom about plagiarism and six ways to avoid it. I try not to be too guilty of this but I guarantee I have some on this blog. For that I apologies!

Here is a summary of their points:

  1. Give full Citations
  2. Ask permission
  3. Use content from original sources whenever possible
  4. Don’t use material from social media without verifying its origin
  5. Use a plagiarism checker
  6. Use online resources for education

My DS Reads My Blog Along with Other People I Actually Know

I found out the other day, via email, that my District Superintendent reads my blog. She commented on the photo of my new daughter. I am on the conference list of blogs and I am finding out more and more that people, fellow clergy, are reading my musings. Also I threw out a reference to this blog in a sermon and now there are some parishioners who are reading this too.

HI EVERYONE, THANKS FOR COMING, HAPPY READING.

Because of the revelation that people I know actually read what I write a question has been posed in my brain. Should I filter what i write and my thoughts about certain subjects, especially when it comes to the Western North Carolina Conference or the local church?

I have always been willing to be honest and I still think honesty is the best policy. But I will confess that this new found knowledge does change my thoughts about what to blog about. Now questions are popping into my brain. Is this post appropriate? Do I really want people to know this about me? Will this affect my relationship with people at church and my DS? They are there and I cannot ignore them.

Here is my promise, to all three of my readers. I promise I will continue to write about what is on my mind, heart and soul. I promise to do it so openly and honestly. I promise to be as transparent online as I am in person (maybe even more so online).

To my readers who know me personally, thank you for reading. I hope you see me the same after reading these posts as you do in person. This blog started as a Lenten discipline and has morphed into a place where I work through my thoughts, my sermons, my ideas, and my joys. This blog chronicles my adventures as I journey through Revland!

Would you change what you write on your blog if you knew who was reading it? Your friends? Your family? Your boss? Your peers?

2008 Round Up

2008 was a crazy year. Here at Adventures, I have had ups and downs. Here are some highlights:

Most commented posts:
More thoughts on Gay Marriage
Pastor’s Salaries
Cabinet Hiding Clergy

Most Traffic: apparently people looking for sermon ideas is a huge traffic source, and placing my sermons on this blog puts me on the front page of a Google search when searching for a sermon on that week’s lectionary text. The top 4 posts are:
Matthew 15:21-28 – Sermon – Scraps (717 views)
John 14:1-14 – Sermon – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (502 visits)
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 – Sermon – Seed Slinger (484 visits)
Pastor’s Salaries (483 visits)

Personal Favorites:
The Adventures of Pastor Bob – Episode 3 – The Bulletin
Lament for a Grandfather (Awarded the Best of the Methoblogosphere) (to follow the story here is Part II and Part III)
Sermon Distraction #14 – Guess the Google

Thank you for stopping by and ignoring the hundreds, or even thousands, of typos.

God be with you in 2009 and I promise more Adventures to come.