Clearly, this blog has been a massive failure. I suppose it became a superfluity among the immediately pressing activities with which I have been involved this summer. But, I thought I'd give a quick update on my rapidly ending internship.
In the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to be involved in a number of ministries. I've done hospital visits, home visits, been a liturgist, helped serve communion, prepare a funeral service and sermon, preach, construct and lead a book study, etc. My summer has been inundated with fantastic learning opportunities and wonderful interactions with parishioners. The life of the parish is tough; and this might be one of the greatest intangibles I've learned this summer. I am more convinced than ever that adequate theological training is a necessity, nay an absolute requisite for pastoral ministry. I worry to no end about those Christian denominations that consider it either a hurdle to get out of the way or ancillary concern to effective ministry (ahem...my own Wesleyan denomination). I worry about those Christians who have been taught that Christianity is relatively simple and easy, and that to be a Christian is predominantly associated with something we confess, rather than with how we live our lives. And I am even more alert to the danger that Christian acquiescence to American culture and patriotism poses to faithful Christian discipleship. We need to get the flag out of our sanctuaries, and we need to do it now.
Nonetheless, with all of these worries that have become more acute I am also extremely hopeful. I am hopeful because 1) I believe that the Holy Spirit actually is active in His church, and 2) I think parishioners are smarter than we give them credit for.
I hope to post a few more reflections before my time at Myers Park UMC finishes, but for now I will provide you with access to my recently preached sermon, and transcript for my funeral sermon. I hope and pray all is well with each of you!