helpful to understand our tenants of the church. and we had the scholar greg burke west with this. thank you for coming here from sacramento and for making the effort to be here. if i wanted to be part of a methodist church, and i know that many of the churches do not like the denominational names and what does it mean to be at united?>> what it means to be a united methodist is consistent with what much of culture and society is looking for. we try to hold together the personal spirituality and we believe that many of us are looking for ways to grow within our spirit and our faith. and in secular terms we talk
about self-help, personal growth. but in spiritual terms, it is better understanding the relationship with humanity, the divine and the influence. there are tons of people in society and culture asking for that similar spiritual question. alongside of this we realize that is not enough, that we are looking for more. we also have a strong tradition of being active socially, and social justice is a key issue along with social responsibility. we believe that in order to live fully into our own spirituality we have to be good corporate citizens, and the care deeply about our world and our society, and we try to hold those things together. how does that fit with people say they are not spiritual but religious?>> i believe, what they are actually
saying, and listening carefully is that they care deeply about the questions on the ultimate reality and what is the connection to life, god and how we perceive god. and how do i grow more fully into that. i believe there is a human spirituality connection. when they see not religious, what they mean is that we no longer feel a connection to the organized religious institution. what that is, there are all sorts of reasons for that. i don't believe we have been doing a good enough job in the church and talking about who we are, getting outside of the doors of the church and engaging people in questions of spirituality, questions of society that are meaningful to them to make that connection. going back to the personal tied -- ties with social justice. >> we believe you cannot have one without the other.
the more we grow in faith, it pushes us out to be responsible in our community, and the more week engaged the justice in the community, the more the faith grows, and we do not understand how we can do one without the other>> some of your experiences, as -- where do you come from originally? >> i come from the south and i grew up in florida to a blue- collar family in a small town in central florida, and i have spent about eight years in georgia working in the churches, and i actually started my work as an industrial systems engineer for procter & gamble. so i have science and engineering in my background. i was eight years in georgia, four years in texas in graduate school and here in california
since 1991. >> we have been impressed with you brought to the conference and the leadership, and your title as conference superintendent of leadership and we will talk more about that in the next segment and further about what is happening in the united methodist church. with a number of conferences, the general conference and annual conference, and the jurisdictional conference and so forth. we are glad you're here with us this morning. please join us in our next segment with greg bergguist. ,,
announcer: todd's a great guy. i mean, look at him. what. a. sweetheart. attaboy. wait, todd, what are you doing? how totally selfish and un-toddlike of you. come on, todd, come on, man. welcome back to mosaic, and i am ron swisher. we are talking to try night about the united methodist church and tell us what it means to be a superintendent.>>
in my case, being the superintendent is being in a relationship with pastors and churches all over northern california and most of nevada to try to help them think about how to make ourselves more relevant, or relevant once again to society. in particular, i function about issues of leadership development. if you know about the literature and leadership, we have made a shift from simply competency training or straight ahead leadership training, talking about the development, we also have to develop the capacity of the leader.>> that transcends religion. >> it does. honestly, much of what i have learned and leadership i learned in procter & gamble in manufacturing management. i have taken that, and stayed on top of it, and translated it
into the bridge for the church. the institution, a leader is a leader, and there is much crossover. when you say capacity to develop, what are some of the major changes in leadership focusing on now?>> there are several things. there is a lot of talk about the adaptive leaders, leaders that can lead through change. and there is also the ability to understand your own personal commitment, and your passion for whatever it is you are doing. and you have probably experienced this. you have someone that is saying and doing the right things, but not getting a sense that they are totally committed. >> no passion. >> exactly, and if you're not passion about it, don't try to make changes because people will see through it and not follow you. you said the salt, the
light, spicy in bright. -- spicy and bright.>> one of the critiques of our tradition is we no longer speak for ourselves, and we have to get spicy again. people say that taste good and it makes sense, and that they could be engaged by that. we need to shine the light, not only on the injustices in the community, but also a places of hope and to find a way through. as i was talking at conference i was basically saying that we need to get outside of the doors of the church. our ministry is in the streets, the public square. people want to be in conversation and in partnership as we try to make a change in
society. to make spicy again and to shine the light on the issues we need to make come to light. you spoke of conferences, and we have a general conference that affects the church for the next four years and what took place at this?>> as in most mainline denominations, we have been talking about issues of human sexuality, about full inclusion of the lgbtq people, and about 40 years of conversation. some denominations of split over this issue, and to be honest i think were trying to find a way through this, and we call ourselves united methodist, and we pride ourselves on that, but this is a very complex not only religious issue, but a social
issue. we were hoping that we can come and do something different instead of strictly following the legislative process strictly, the roberts rules of orders, that we could engage a time of what we are calling the holy conferencing.>> yes that is good.>> this means in a mutual respect full an in-depth conversation about here's what i feel, here's why, and here's what you feel and here's why, and how do we find that common ground in between. the sad part about it is that early on in the conference we actually voted against doing that.>> explained that to me. >> i can guess that there are some people that they have their minds so made up that they are thinking that they have nothing left to talk about, and i had people actually say that to me. some people are so profoundly uncomfortable with talking about human sexuality that they
cannot imagine having that conversation. i don't know how we can move through this without doing that and talking about it. and i was actually saddened by that decision. but you have heard me say that the annual conference, some of us ignored it and chose to do it anyway. for example in my legislative session, even though we are dealing with structural issues around the full inclusion, we decided as a subcommittee that we would ignored the vote against the conferencing and did it anyway. we had a subcommittee that brought in the illogical -- theological divide, we felt we did good work together. summer probably saying why is this still a major issue even though we came to the conference understanding possibly separating in splitting over it as some churches have done, so why do
you think this is still a major issue where you see the ucc, and the united church of christ has artie made that decision, and piscopo 80 and have made that -- episcopalian have made that decision. >> the reason it is still a major issue in our churches that we put a lot of emphasis on finding unity in the mist in the midst of diversity. i think what we are confronting right now is the unity that is not fully in expression or the embodiment of the love of god and thyself. i think we are realizing that we will have to begin making some hard decisions, and can we really find a place of mutual love and respect in the diversity, or are we going to have to face the fact that we may have to think about
we have and talking about the united methodist church, and i see, i hope you see the parallel in your own faith, and we want to continue this journey. tell us more about what will be in the next couple of years, i think the bishop is a -- a division by making this proposal.>> exactly. essentially what the general conference said is that we are not prepared to make these decisions without the holy
conferencing that was voted down. the bishops have responded to us, proposing a special commission that will guide us over the next four years dealing with these in-depth issues. it is not just about human sexuality but who we are as a people. reclaiming our tradition and talking about what does it mean to be united methodist in this day and time and in the future. we don't want to just make a precipitous legislative decision. the bishops are calling us into this debt and a whole conversation that will hopefully lead us to a place, either that we find unity and diversity and talk about that, or if there are some folks that cannot do this anymore, that can find a way out that is as graceful as possible. but at least we are taking this seriously, and we will work at this very hard.
i am proud we are able to to do that and i look forward to the conversation. >> and i think the team has come up with some suggestions, working on some of the things that they have said could help us all, not just the method is that all christians. what were some of those core values? we talked about that some of the conference, and that is key to remind us who we are and who we need to be. one thing is the denominational mission statement is making disciples of jesus christ for the transformation of the world. making disciples of jesus christ is talking about taking a serious personal spirituality and development, or the transformation of the world, taking seriously the justice issues, and being socially responsible. there was a vote at the general conference but unfortunately it did not occur at that point, we
were no longer being true to our tradition. we are saying that to be faithful as churches in california and nevada we need to understand what that means and how to live it out, not only inside the church but also outside of the church in a respectful and loving way. the other is that we need to be more collaborative, and i don't mean just in partnership with the other united methodist churches or denominations, trade traditions or community groups trying to make the change in the world, and we need to be innovative. things have worked well over the past 30 or 40 years, but they necessarily don't work well anymore. we need to be open to new systems and new things. >> and maybe instead of talking about creating a new church, creating a new emerging faith to make the difference. and finally, what do new places for the new people look like? it may not look like the church that you and i grew up in an
hour we open to identify those folks that have the same spiritual concerns and social concerns, and allow them to teach us about new ways of expressing that. maybe emerging all different kinds of leadership.>> absolutely. >> maybe a stronger involvement, which we hope.>> as responsible in leadership development, i no longer teach leadership development, i do require the clergy teams to come together and talk about how we will lead in the future together. we had a revival for two years in a row and you were at the first when it did leadership surrounding it.>> i did, absolutely, and a talked about the four rings we need to focus on. we need to focus on the faith and understand who we are. the able to articulate, and if i cannot talk about jesus, who is going to?
we also need to focus. we need to be sure that we understand these are the key things we need to be looking at over the next 3 to 5 years and put our energy into that. third, we need to care about the fruit, and talk about the outcome and have vision and work toward it. and i have learned that a procter & gamble and it works, and we can do that in the church. and finally, you have to have fire and to care about it. >> faithfulness, truth and fire, i like that. >> i garner that from somebody but i don't remember who right now. it is yours now. [ laughter ]. that is what we do sometimes in preaching. every now and then we give credit, but if it works, we use it. >> absolutely. we will have one more segments for we wrap up, but this is helpful to all of us hearing this, and thank you, and join us for our last segment.
i hope you have been with us because we've learned a lot about not just about the church, but christian and any -- christianity and the power of the spirit in our lives. we have a great understanding of the leadership, and great asked me a question during the break, and you ask what questions sometimes. what i was saying is that if i believe that the church needs to get outside of the doors of the church and in the community, i practice on myself and routinely go out in the community and engage people in questions of spirituality, faith and social justice. most people want to talk about it, but the question i get
asked over and over, and when they discover who i am they asked me to tell them about this jesus that i believe in and why they should care about it. i think that is a great question and if we as members of the church do not have answers to that question we come across as being disingenuous. for me, jesus is the decisive re-presentation of the love of god for the world. we see it and all inspiring ways and god is awe inspiring and in deeply intimate ways, and jesus was a part of life and cared about life, he laughed and cried, in a relationship, and stood up for justice issues to remind us that the things of ultimate reality, they are right here. we can point to them and experience it. jesus for me is the
representation of the god that i will never fully understand, but a god that is an intimate part of my life that i can engage as we engage each other. yes, it makes me think of marcus borge and he died last year talking about meeting jesus again for the very first time. exactly, and as i read this scripture, regardless of how familiar it is when you hear it, listening to something that surprises you, and ask what difference it makes in your life. if our sacred document does not make a difference in my life so that i do something different, it is no longer sacred for us.>> how does that scripture impact my life? >> exactly, and the world as i know it, the world as i see it. i believe in the idea incarnation theology, and as
jesus is in cars -- incarnated for us, we allow jesus to be in our lives and that of our children. he moves into our neighborhood. he became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. that is what we need to do. absolutely. and she said during the break, we try to tell people things they can remember, that they will actually remember that, faith, focus, fruit and fire. you brought the fire here, and i can tell the energy that you brought to this, one of the reasons i invited you is that i knew you would bring scholarship and experience, and also passion for what you are doing, and i commend you for that. thank you and i do not know how to separate my mind, heart and spirit, and when they all come together than i have found something important.
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