Friday, November 30, 2007



Everyone's favorite liturgical holiday is coming up soon- World Aids Day. This is the one special day out of the year that Christians remember that some people have aids. Recently I read an article where a theologian that I really admire a lot, Donald Messer, says that on World Aids Day we should "focus on names and not numbers". I am so glad to hear Dr. Messer say that!

This is the ONE day out of the year that we in the church can have the common decency to not treat people like another number but as human beings. In a previous worship service in Nashville Dr. Messer addressed the issue of Aids, by holding up a list of 1,220 names of children affected by HIV/AIDS. Messer declared "these are names, not numbers. To me they are faces, not facts."

How many times on Monday mornings I wanted to yell in Dr. Messer's prophetic voice during our church staff meetings: "Hey, why are we spending so much damn time talking about attendance being up or down and what we need to do to improve our "numbers". Is that what "The People of God" who show up every week to "do church" are to us- numbers? Maybe in our large membership church instead of counting people we should do a better job of introducing everyone to each other and then send them out to meet other people who are being left out and invite them in and learn their names.... oh never mind, or we can just complain that we need to tighten things up in our worship service so we get to sunday school on time."

But enough about Monday morning staff meetings in the local church. Fooey on me for going there. This post is about the most important liturgical day of the year- World Aids Day- the day when numbers don't count but names do. Thank God we get it... at least one day out of 365.
One day I'll see you and know you
Because I heard your name spoken
One day I'll reach out for you
But every other day its all about.... well....


From the United Methodist News Service:
Concerned about the critical need for more young clergy in The United Methodist Church, representatives from 13 annual (regional) conferences are brainstorming ways to assist young people who are called to ordained ministry.

"We stand a better chance at success in helping people hear God’s call if we are intentional about fostering environments in our communities of faith that make the possibility of hearing God’s call more plausible," said the Rev. Brandon Harris, associate pastor of Anniston (Ala.) First United Methodist Church.

I have an idea that might work. Instead of focusing on our communities of faith as where the breakdown is regarding our shortage of younger clergy, why not hold our District and Conference Committees on Ordained Ministries accountable to not be arrogant and staunchy old or middle class white men who (not meaning to be be politically incorrect- I encountered old and middle class african american men who acted like old or middle class white men too) feel the need to be gatekeepers and not instruments of Discernment, Guidance, and Wisdom for a younger generation called by God to be leaders. Hmmmm....

Gatekeeper oh gatekeeper
Where did you get that power from
Was it from God- so white so priveledged
Or was it from God- so Good so Grace filled

Gatekeeper oh gatekeeper
It's ok that you do what you do
there's more of us and we don't need you
Death to a dying church
You'll go down with your ship my captains
And I, will paint a new day
A new Church, a new way