Well, my summer blogging slump has arrived. I didn’t think it would — but it clearly has. Taking a break from blogging is often a good thing — but I hadn’t thought it would happen this year. We will have to see how it goes.
In other years I’ve had to take a hiatus from updating this blog during the summer. This is because I am busy with other things during the summer — and last year it was because of my struggle with Menier’s Disease. I am much better now, and expect to be able to be more active at this site — but, (as I said) we’ll see how that goes.
I worked outside ar0und the house on Friday last week — which was great, but I think I overdid it. I felt a little dizziness coming on Saturday, and was slightly dizzy on Sunday when I got up. Dizziness is a serious issue with me and I don’t take it casually. Because staring at the computer screen makes me extrememly dizzy when I am in that state, I’ve stayed away from it. So, nothing is “in the pipeline” to be automatically posted this week.
While I expect to post some at the beginning of this week, I will be attending the 2014 Session of West Michigan Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in the later part of the week. I always look forward to seeing old and new friends there — but I no longer care about the “issues.” The United Methodist Church is, generally speaking, in a very bad place — aging, declining, and fractured over sexuality issues. It may not be possible to pull it out of self-destruct mode. I know I can’t help much. Nonetheless, I love the Wesleyan tradition and appreciate the many people who are faithfully serving within the denomination.
One of the hopeful things going on in the Michigan Area of the UMC is the Vital Church Initiative — something that really does have the potential of revitalizing declining or stagnating churches, and — over time — changing the corporate culture of the Conference.
I haven’t said anything here about the current controversies in the United Methodist Church — I find it heartbreaking but there is little I feel I can say. I think splitting the church over sexuality issues is a foolish thing. But, the last General Conference rejected the possibility of a “middle way” — which would allow for differences of opinion. They had the opportunity to change the language in the book of Discipline to admit that the denomination is not of one mind on gay and lesbian issues. They overwhelmingly chose not to change that language. The current provisions of the Discipline are proving impossible to enforce consistently. So, allowing individuals and churches to graciously leave would seem to make sense to conservatives — but I don’t see how conservatives are going to be able to mastermind the departure of their theological enemies. And, the new wave of Side A arguments are coming from within the evangelical camp itself — Justin Lee, James V. Brownson, Ken Wilson, Matthew Vines, John Shore, Justin R. Cannon, Jack Rogers, and Dave Thompson. (BTW, I’m currently reading Brownson — he’s a New Testament scholar in the reformed tradition who teaches at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He has a much better understanding of the traditional position than other Side A writers whom I have read.) So, there is no way of escaping the controversy. The notion that a church split will solve the problem underestimates the nature of the problem. But, as I said, that is the course the last General Conference chose.
I still do fill the pulpit in various churches — and enjoy doing that — but my schedule is a bit lighter than it has been in other years.
The switch to Word Press did boost his blog’s stats considerably. I like some of the things that I can do with Word press — and the various “add-on” that have been designed for it.
The various Bible studies and studies in Wesleyan theology that appeared in the old blog (and even in its predecessor blog) will, over time, show up here. Some of these I re-post substantially unchanged, but some of them get a very serious re-write. I like this to be a place where people can find actual information, and not just opinion.
The Steele’s Answers and Hidden Life blogs will keep rolling along — I schedule those posts out in advance. My summer slump may not effect them at all. I have especially appreciated the opportunity to work through some of Thomas Upham’s writings — before I knew him more by reputation. Darius Salter’s book — that I read many years ago — interested me. Now I feel I’m getting a much deeper understanding of how Upham thought. It’s a case of: Scottish Common Sense Realism + Jonathan Edwards + pre-frieudian psychology + Wesleyan-Arminian holiness theology + Roman Catholic mysticism.
But, if things get a little quiet here its just my usual summer blogging slump — and it’s mostly a good thing.