Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's the week after Christmas Conference--our annual retreat with the people who are funding us, along with people who are being and have been funded by the same source--and so it's time for me to make my fast-becoming-annual plug for Wesley Ministry Network. (The scholar who is heading it up, Craig Hill, was funded by the same program, and updates us on his progress every year.)

This program is a video series much like the Disciple series, only with a broader focus: Disciple is predominately a Bible study, while WMN ranges all over. It's also much shorter, so that participants don't have to commit to an entire school year. But the basic principles are the same: in-depth, high-quality teaching, done by top-level scholars who care about the church and its ministry, along with serious reading and preparation by the participants.

If you have anything to do with your church's education program, and are tired of "How does that make you feel?" bible studies, please consider the Disciple series, followed by the Wesley Ministry Network series. Disciple should come first, not because it's better, but because biblical literacy is crucial to any theological thinking. But as a follow-up to Disciple I, for those whose appetite has been whetted for serious thinking about their faith, WMN is ideal.

It's shorter, so you don't have the seriously committed laypeople that Disciple I tends to produce going "out of commission" for an entire year. (I recommended that participants drop all but one other small church commitment the year they did the study with me. Two if they were retired or stay-at-homes.) I'm glad to see that Disciple now has short-term studies that can serve the same purpose. I didn't like the way Disciple II, III, and IV would suck graduates in rather than pushing them out to serve in the church.

Do look into them both. Seriously.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Well, aside from the sexism, the frontier-era machismo, the religious liberties violation, and the part where he all but said that police officers have more important things to do with their time than protect and serve, I think this is a grand idea:

Pennsylvania town mulls mandatory arms requirement.

Good thing there are no United Methodist seminaries in Cherry Tree, PA.