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November 13, 2008
Recent Election of New US President
I noticed in the recent edition of Newscope an article about the Council of Bishops celebrating the recent election of Senator Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.
I write this blog to clarify what I experienced and was apart of during the recent Council of Bishops meeting.
First of all the Council of Bishops since the time of Francis Asbury has always celebrated the election of the president of the United States by sending to the elected president and his wife individual bibles signed by the Bishops. In 2004 at the Fall Meeting of the Council of Bishops as a newly elected bishop at Epworth by the Sea I was privileged to sign bibles for then elected President George W. Bush and First lady Laura Bush.
When we began our meeting on Sunday November 2, 2008 we began signing the two bibles as we always do before we know who would be elected. We also drafted a letter and approved the letter prior to the election being completed as is always our custom.
Secondly, the COB celebrated two issues around this election which I would hope all United States citizens would celebrate.
1. We celebrated the democratic process that is ours to cherish and to guard as citizens of this nation.
2. We celebrated the tremendous strides this country has made since 1865 when African Americans were freed from slavery to 2008 when tremendous numbers of Anglo Americans helped to elect an African American to this high office.
It is to this end that we celebrated, some who probably voted for Senator Obama and some who probably voted for Senator John Mc Cain and I believe the vast majority of Americans celebrated for the same reasons. I listened to the concession speech by Senator Mc Cain and heard him say with pride how historic this election was and his support for newly elected president.
Yes this was a great day not just for Senator Barack Obama but for the vision the founders of this nation had when they worked to create these United States of America.
October 28, 2008
Current Economic Crisis How Should the Church Respond
The church is challenged by our current economic crisis to respond. We will respond whether we realize this or not. We must resist the temptation to join in the panic.
I would like to suggest that our response should be theologically and biblically grounded. First of all Jesus spoke more about our money than any other issue. Jesus saw money as not ours but a gift from God. We are thus called upon to see ourselves as stewards of God's gifts and not the owners to decide to do with our monies as we choose. The biblical standard of the tithe i.e. the giving of 1/10th of what God has blessed us with is where we must begin our conversation. This is far different than beginning with the resources we have as being ours. If God is the source of all our gifts then do we not have a responsibility to use our monies in ways that glorify and bless God's plan for the world.
Even before our current crisis began we were only giving somewhere around 2% of our income to our churches.
In addition this current economic upheaval is a call for us to remind our congregants and others that our real strength does not come from ourselves but from a Generous God. I want to encourage pastors and laity to begin having conversations around the topic..."Whose Money Is It Anyway?"