Everything here represents my own opinion and not the opinion of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection or the United Methodist Church.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Transition to WordPress

Well, the test period did not last too long. I will be moving this blog to WordPress. Please use the following link: http://thoughtsofresurrection.wordpress.com


Saturday, January 27, 2007

wordpress.com and blogger.com

FYI - I have been working on a new blog located at: thoughtsofresurrection.wordpress.com. I have been intrigued with what I perceive to be some additional functionality of Word Press. On Church Communications Pro, there is a new series: Word Press for Churches. With the pages and other features of Word Press it could be used as a tool for a small website, which may be useful in the future. In Word Press, there is no longer the ability to add outside java script. I will be able to include all the current sidebar features, but in a slightly different ways.

In addition, I have shifted the feeds for these blogs:
Blogger: http://feeds.feedburner.com/revaeconard
WordPress: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThoughtsOfResurrection

Bottom line - I will continue to post on both sites until further notice. At this time, take your pick and subscribe to the appropriate feed from the link in the sidebar of that site. Thanks!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Amazing Grace

This morning I had the opportunity to screen the upcoming movie Amazing Grace along with other church leaders from the Kansas City area. Amazing Grace will be released on February 23, 2007. The movie tells the story of William Wilberforce who was a leader of the effort in the 19th century to end the slave trade in the British Empire. I found the film to be a quality portrayal of figure in history standing up for justice against great opposition.

Before the movie we heard historical background on the story that was about to be portrayed. I did not grasp the entire history when hearing it read, but this history helped give greater meaning to the movie while I was watching. After the screening, a representative from the production team spoke about the intent and hope for the movie - that it would be a catalyst for action. We had the opportunity to pick up an "Amazing Grace Leader Kit" at the end of the screening. This contained promotional literature for the movie, study guides, and ways to get involved. From that literature:

Five Amazing Ways to Join the Movement of Grace
  1. Sing Amazing Grace on February 18.
  2. Sign the petition to end modern day slavery.
  3. Ask your friends and family to pray for "A Movement of Grace."
  4. Use Amazing Grace for outreach.
  5. Buy a block of tickets on opening weekend.
At first, I reacted negatively to this packet and encouragement to action. I felt that it was a thinly veiled marketing tactic. However, one of my friends on staff at Resurrection gave a different perspective which I appreciate and helped me to think about the issue in a different light. My friend asserted that the use of media was an effective way to proclaim the gospel in ways that would never be possible from a congregation. An example that was given - the reformation of the meat packing plants in the United States in the early 1900's was catalyzed by the book, The Jungle, in ways that would not have happened without the writing of the book. I take this as a valid point. The movie will certainly reach an audience that may not be reached by any particular congregation.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Word Press

I am considering a switch from Blogger to Word Press. This site will be the location of Thoughts of Resurrection unless other notice is made. However, I would be interested in your thoughts and comments on http://thoughtsofresurrection.wordpress.com/. I am particularly interested in your thoughts in:

  • layout
  • design
  • differences in the sites
  • your suggestions
Please comment on this post to provide feedback.

Important Notice - http://thoughtsofresurrection.wordpress.com/ is still in development, as such please. It is a draft of what may or may not be a new location for Thoughts of Resurrection.

How do you interpret the statement Jesus Christ is Lord?

This is post 4 of 17 in the Probationary Membership and Commissioning series.

Response to ¶324.9 of the 2004 Book of Discipline

How do you interpret the statement Jesus Christ is Lord?

I believe that the statement Jesus Christ is Lord is best interpreted through an examination of three words: Jesus, Christ, and Lord.

Jesus is a personal name that refers to an individual that lived in first century Palestine. The personal name of Jesus reinforces his humanity and points toward his unique identity among humanity. The meaning of the name Jesus also implies salvation. Christ is a title that points to the role of savior or messiah. This title has particular significance considering the Jewish expectations for the coming Messiah at the time of Jesus’ life on earth. Jesus Christ as Lord means that he is someone that has power, influence and authority.

I believe that the supreme power and rule of Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Word, extends to all of creation.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”12

Not only was Jesus present with the Father at all times and before creation, but through Jesus all things were made. This implies that nothing is outside the scope or care of Christ. Every aspect of creation is loved and has value; the light of Christ can be found in all places. As all things were created through Christ, Jesus Christ is Lord can and should extend to all creation.

It is important to affirm that Jesus Christ is the one Lord. There are no others that can successfully challenge the lordship of Christ. There are no other individuals or conceptions of God to be held on the same level as Jesus Christ. “The true God and His activity can never be perceived within the framework of a general philosophy. … It would have to look first at the true God and His activity – in a specific occurrence.”13

12 John 1:1-3 (TNIV).

13 Barth, Church Dogmatics III.3, 140.


Barth, Karl Church Dogmatics III.3: The Doctrine of Creation. Translators: G. W. Bromiley and R. J. Ehrlich. Editors: G. W. Bromiley and T. F. Torrance. London: T & T Clark International, 2004.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Humanity and Need for Divine Grace

This is post 3 of 17 in the Probationary Membership and Commissioning series.

Response to ¶324.9 of the 2004 Book of Discipline

What is your understanding of humanity, and the human need for divine grace?

I understand humanity to be a part of God’s good creation. The book of Genesis provides a description of this creation:

Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. … God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”10

Humanity is created in relationship - relationship with God and relationship with each other. Evil distorts humanity’s relationship with creation and with God. Humans need divine grace to be able to be in right relationship with God, neighbor, and creation. When one accepts the need for God and a relationship with God as a beloved child, one is enabled to move toward perfect love of God and neighbor.

Divine grace convicts people and draws them to God. Divine grace comes before humans do anything. It is what prevents creation from being hopelessly lost. Divine grace restores us to right relationship with God through the forgiveness of past sins. Divine grace is not only something that God does for us, but something that God does in us. Divine grace gives us the ability to follow Jesus. An excellent description of the need and work of divine grace is found in the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church:

Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.”11

10 Genesis 1:26-27, 31 (TNIV).

11 The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, ¶103.


The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2004.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Mainline Emergent / S

I am looking forward to attending the following event next week: Mainline Emergent / S: Conversations in Theology, Practice, and Hope. The event is being held at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. It will be great to connect with other Methodists. To my knowledge Jay from Only Wonder Understands will be there.

Are you planning to attend this event?