BLOGFORCE: What does society need to hear from the church?

BlogforcelogoAmerica has been in a lot of turmoil before and after the presidential election.  Many have questioned the role of the church in times such as these.  So we post a simple question with undoubtedly complex answers:

“What does our society need to hear (and see) from the church right now?

Anyone can participate in the BLOGFORCE!  Responses and abstracts are due by 5PM Central Time on Monday, Feburary 20th and the roundup will be posted on the 21st.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the BLOGFORCE?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Monday, February 20th .  On Tuesday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE Roundup – The Spiritual Role of Giving

BlogforceVerticalTwo weeks ago, the question was posed to the BLOGFORCE:

“How has financial giving affected your spiritual life?“

We received several responses, which are listed in the order received


Steve Pankey blogged “Contentment”:

In the New Testament lesson for Proper 21c, the author of 1 Timothy tells the young leader that there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment. He warns Timothy of the trap of riches. The temptation that comes with a lack of contentment takes our attention away from God. Envy leads to ruin and destruction. As I rode through my neighborhood that afternoon, those empty TV boxes pulled me to the edge of the root of all evil: the love of money. Thanks be to God, the temptation of a shiny new TV for the big game didn’t win out. In coming to grips with the opportunity cost of tithing, I realized that sacrificing for the Kingdom is something that should bring joy.

Megan Castellan blogged “Stewardship and Anxiety”:

Coming to see money and my material possessions as belonging to God, and not to me was a radical shift in my understanding and comfort level with money. It empowered me to be bolder with my resources, more able to see at work in everything around me–even the things which scare me most.

Alberto Moreno blogged “Como a afectado tu vida espiritual el donar económicamente?”:

El dar económicamente es una realidad que no he terminado de aprender y que siempre me desafía a salir de mi “zona de confort” para ir a los demás en necesidad.

Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale blogged “5 Ways My Spiritual Life Changed When I Got Serious About My Pledge”:

Much as I remember exactly where I was when I made the decision (or was called, whatever) to become a Christian, I can also name the precise moment I decided to become serious about giving to the church. In a nondescript ballroom in the basement of the Sheraton in downtown Indianapolis, Walter Brueggeman was giving the keynote address at the conference for The Episcopal Network for Stewardship.

Holli Powell blogged “Six Stories of Stewardship”:

Sometimes giving to the church can feel a little bit nebulous. It’s not like giving to a food bank or a homeless shelter, an organization with one sole purpose. The money I give to my congregation might go to pay our staff, to heat the building, to fund the youth group, or to do something I don’t even know about. That’s tough for me, and it’s needed. I don’t always get to direct God’s actions. Actually, I don’t ever get to direct God’s actions, and that is the hardest thing for a control freak like me. I have to let the money go and trust that God will do with it what God will.

Adam Trambley blogged “How Has Financial Giving Affected My Spiritual Life?”:

Adam Trambley describes the effects of tithing on his faith and his marriage. “We came to realize just how much we were united “for richer or for poorer”, and the blessing that could be, even when things felt a bit more on the “for poorer” side. Tithing the firstfruits of our finances together meant that we were obedient to God together, and it drove us to prayer together which has significantly deepened our spiritual life together.”

Susan Snook blogged “Putting our Trust in God, Not Money”:

But the thing is, for us, sitting there in church, we heard the voice of God at the same time, calling us to do this absurd thing. And God showed us that he was there, blessing us right through it. In fact, in writing that check, we made the decision that our money was not going to be our savior. Against all our training, against all our professional backgrounds, against common sense, we determined that we would put our trust in God instead. And we’ve never looked back.

Respectfully Submitted,
David Simmons, BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


BLOGFORCE Response – Alberto Moreno – Como a afectado tu vida espiritual el donar económicamente?

” Como a afectado tu vida espiritual el donar económicamente?”

Desde una antropología bíblico – teológica, el ser humano es una realidad holística compuesta por cuerpo, alma y espíritu(1 Ts 5,23), la unidad de estos elementos conforman al ser humano y es difícil además de imposible separarlos, o sea, que no podríamos decir; Lo que hace alguna parte de mi cuerpo, por ejemplo la mano, es algo separado de mi mente o de mis deseos. En el universo, la naturaleza y en la sociedad, todo está en conectado, lo que hacemos, pequeño o grande, bueno o malo, sea en el espacio privado o en la vida pública afecta a los demás. Por consiguiente en una primera aproximación a la respuesta de la pregunta inicial podría decir que mis donaciones económicas a la Iglesia, a las campañas de apoyo en favor de los necesitados, o el apoyo a mis familiares en necesidad están en una relación directamente proporcional a mi crecimiento espiritual, así como la falta de ellas afectara el estancamiento en mi vida espiritual y humana.

Las congregaciones cristianas de cualquier latitud geográfica, étnica o nivel socio-económico se enfrentan ante esta misma constante, que parece ser una ley del crecimiento espiritual y comunitario, que Jesús mismo formula en la siguiente frase:

“Dad y se os dará”. Desde mi experiencia puedo decir que he experimentado la bendición de dar todas mis ganancias a la comunidad en las primeras etapas de mi vida espiritual siendo soltero, es decir, sin estar casado. Después de pasar a la etapa de matrimonio y tener la bendición de dos hijas, he cambiado mi patrón de ofrenda económica, ya no ofrendo todo, sino solo una parte que sea significativa, pues es obvio que Dios me pide nutrir y educar a mi familia, es decir mi esposa e hijas. Esta etapa de matrimonio también me ha hecho madurar como persona en otros ángulos de la realidad humana y espiritual, que son dos realidades que están íntimamente relacionadas. Finalmente el dar económicamente es una realidad que no he terminado de aprender y que siempre me desafía a salir de mi “zona de confort” para ir a los demás en necesidad. Desde mi experiencia de servir en una congregación latina, ha sido también una tarea desafiante enseñar y dar testimonio de ofrendar, pues muchos latinos han desarrollado su vida espiritual con un bajo aprecio por ofrendar económicamente a la iglesia, pero a veces siendo más generosos para ayudar a las personas y familiares en necesidad.

Rev. Alberto Moreno

ONGOING BLOGFORCE: What’s the Spiritual Role of Financial Giving?

BlogforcelogoOur BLOGFORCE continues this week with the following question:

“How has financial giving affected your spiritual life?

Anyone can participate in the BLOGFORCE!  Responses and abstracts are due by 5PM Central Time on Monday, October 3rd and the roundup will be posted on the 4th.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the BLOGFORCE?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Monday, October 3rd .  On Tuesday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

15 Ways to Reach Out on Social Media Sunday

social-mediaSunday, Sept. 25 is Social Media Sunday – a great time to let others know about the wonderful things that are happening at your church! The resource below offers 15 ways that members of your church can use social media to PROCLAIM the good news, ENGAGE your networks, and INVITE others to join you. Feel free to copy/share/reproduce/tweet/anything-that-works for you on social media or on paper.

social-media-insert.pdf

BLOGFORCE: What’s the Spiritual Role of Financial Giving?

BlogforcelogoIt’s the time of the year where churches start looking at stewardship campaigns and talk about the role of financial giving in our lives.  Therefore, Acts8 proposes this simple question to the BLOGFORCE:

“How has financial giving affected your spiritual life?

Anyone can participate in the BLOGFORCE!  Responses and abstracts are due by 5PM Central Time on Monday, October 3rd and the roundup will be posted on the 4th.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the BLOGFORCE?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Monday, October 3rd .  On Tuesday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE ROUNDUP – Gathering the Generations for General Convention

BlogforceVerticalLast week, the question was posed to the BLOGFORCE:

According the Pew Research, adult GenXers and Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers by nearly 2 to 1, but when we look at General Convention the statistics don’t match up.  In what ways can the Church create opportunities to lift up younger leaders, lay and ordained, to serve as Deputies to General Convention?“

We received several responses, which are listed in the order received


Joe Parrish blogged:

In general, younger people are not leaders because they have few if any to lead. Some few lead teams to feed the homeless in some churches, with their parents’ guidance, but in general TEC itself does not have venues for younger people to lead, and that is reflected throughout the church; and vice versa. If we have ways to raise up leaders in our parishes, then we might find ways to raise up leaders in our dioceses, and thus for TEC. In general the leadership process has worked through the ordination process, and has omitted other access to potential leadership. So we thus need to find non-ordination ways of raising up young leaders. To wait until someone is a success in business, or has become a lawyer or accountant or doctor is to stymie young leadership. To seat a young person on a Vestry often omits the need to have people of substance and generosity in those seats, as younger people usually do not have earning power, jobs, or experience. And if they begin an endeavor right after high school, they are generally consumed by that. So the challenge is to find young entrepreneurs, self-starters. They will have a different orientation to the church as it exists, however, so learning how to guide a great ship with little ship experience is the challenge. We face the problem of putting new wine in old wineskins. So TEC needs to found new wineskins in order to nurture new wine. We need new parishes to be formed even if there are old ones still there. Opportunities need to be discerned in order to begin a process of producing new wine skins who will nurture new wine.

Andrea McKellar blogged:

Andrea McKellar was a first time deputy to the 2015 General Convention at the “youngish” age of 36 from The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. She shares her experience in being raised up as a leader in The Episcopal Church as an example of what works and challenges other dioceses to go out and find people. Young adults want to change the world but sometimes they needed an extra push to get a seat at the table.

Miranda Hassett blogged:

Many people in this age group have or will have young kids. Going to Convention without your kids is hard and sad, even if you’re lucky enough not to have to worry about arranging extra childcare at home, sacrificing family vacation time, etc. And going to Convention with your kids is quite expensive. Let’s do better next time with that second point?

In addition, there were many comments on the post on Facebook.  Some examples are posted anonymously below:

Schedule diocesan conventions outside business hours, provide childcare and focus clergy on looking for folks who know little about polity

Some equivalent of term limits. Only electable so many times.

Figure out a way so those of us who don’t work for the church professionally (either lay or ordained) don’t have to take so many vacation days to attend.

Make General Convention interesting and engaging and much shorter.

Not make it two weeks. If you even get a paid vacation, general convention takes it all. And if you have kids, childcare becomes an issue. And make a connection between General Convention and the parish-I have a hard time seeing that connection very often as clergy, much less as someone who doesn’t work in the church.

I had a clergy person I deeply respect tell me it took her five general conventions as a delegate to feel like she knew what was going on (and she’s intelligent and capable). I was still in high school when she first started going. Why is it so unwieldy that this is the case? That it takes years and years? Maybe we need to set term limits on delegates.

What is required is for our older saints to begin actively mentoring younger people and gradually and willingly stepping aside to allow new leaders to emerge. Not always easy, but our failure to learn to do this will be our undoing. It takes great generosity of spirit to give up ones prestigious, well earned position of authority to help the church breath and grow.

Respectfully Submitted,
David Simmons, BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


BLOGFORCE: Getting the Generations to General Convention

BlogforcelogoIt’s time to get the dust off the wings of the BLOGFORCE!  Here’s a question brought up by the Acts8 Core Committee:

“According the Pew Research, adult GenXers and Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers by nearly 2 to 1, but when we look at General Convention the statistics don’t match up.  In what ways can the Church create opportunities to lift up younger leaders, lay and ordained, to serve as Deputies to General Convention?

Anyone can participate in the BLOGFORCE!  Responses and abstracts are due by 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 29th of May and the roundup will be posted on the 30th.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the BLOGFORCE?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 29th of May.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE Roundup – Where is Galilee for you?


A couple of weeks ago, our new Presiding Bishop Michael Curry released, “This is the Jesus Moment,” a video where he talked about a new movement for evangelism in the Episcopal Church.  In it, he took a part of the Gospel where Jesus and the disciples go to Galilee and used that area as a metaphor for the mission fields where we can spread the Word.  The question for this BLOGFORCE followed that thought:

“Where is your Galilee?

We received several responses, which are listed in the order recieved


Steve Pankey blogged “Where is Galilee? – An Acts 8 BLOGFORCE Challenge

I get to go to Galilee for at least an hour every week.  Sure, there are some weeks where I spend most of my time “out there,” the reality of full-time ordained ministry is that I sit at a desk a lot more than I thought I would.  But even when the week has nothing but study, sermon prep, and administration to offer, I know that at 9am on Thursday morning, I’ll enter the Galilee that is Mrs. Davis’ Kindergarten class.

Kit Carlson blogged “Where is Your Galilee? — An Acts 8 Blogforce Challenge

Going to Galilee weekly at our local coffee shop, where Jesus shows up in many different guises, as people join me for coffee and a chat.

Andrew Leigh Amanda LeAnn Bullard blogged “Onward to Galilee: The Mission Field Within Us

When we speak of evangelism we often think of a one-way path of information. Andrew Amanda turns this model around as they describe their experiences of oppression within the Episcopal Church and the formation in the Gospel that they’ve found in the mission fields others treat as foreign ground. Through it all they challenge us to ask ourselves on the way to Galilee if we’re making the Gospel too small. Are we ready to give up our expectations and privileges, and set aside our power and judgement to follow the one who set aside all heavenly glory to enter a relationship with us? Do we dare to offer the unthinkable Gospel of mutual transformation in the name of Jesus Christ?

Kevin Morris blogged “My Galilee

My response takes the form of a poem that I wrote while reflecting on moments in my ministry and the places that I have been called to serve.

Nurya Love Parish blogged “My Galilee: What I Haven’t Been Telling You

Galilee may be a lot of different places for me (none of which I have been writing about, although I’d love to). Or it may be just one: a healthy church in a healthy creation.

David Simmons blogged “Saving the Shire

In the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbits represent the reader.  They leave home and venture into legend, returning to transform their community.  The Christian Story has been sanitized to the point where it has lost power for those who are looking for meaning.  Those of us who have been immersed in the divine story of Christ have the duty and ability to return and transform our communities.

Robyn King blogged “There is a balm in Galilee

Most of us live with, care for, or love someone with a chronic health condition. May Galilee be a place where the Church can be healed of it’s blindness and ableism; a place where all of God’s children are encouraged to participate in the ways that best suit them.

Respectfully Submitted,
David Simmons, BLOGFORCE Wing Commander