Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Connecting Head and Heart

Last night I had the joy and privilege of attending Perkins School of Theology Alumni Award Banquet. The receipent of the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award was Rev. Adam Hamilton, the Lead Pastor of UM Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. In a movingly eloquent and deeply thoughtful acceptance speech, he spoke of the need to combine the head and the heart. Dr. Hamilton noted that this was a common characteristic of Methodism. He is right that at our best we combine the head and the heart. And yet, I think that we, both lay and clergy, need to be more dilgent in the clarity and depth of our theology as expressed from the pulpit and in our teaching. What is the last new book on theology that you have read? How have you been chanllegned to think through your faith (and its expression) in light of the human dilemna. It is easy to unthinkingly reflect the bias of our own education and cultural situation. It is hard to think widely and reflect deeply. The early Methodists were required to do theological reading as the traveled on the circuit. Maybe it is time for us to reinstitute such a policy by covenanting to read and reflect together.


  1. Bishop,

    I had the privilege of being a part of the Young Pastors Network with Adam Hamilton and Mike Slaughter which was a truly life changing experience. Having also attended Leadership Institute at COR on a number of occasions, I hope our conference will soon invite Adam to come and share with us as he has done with Annual conference's around the country. I truly believe that Adam has a compelling vision for the future renewal of our denomination.

  2. In this day when lectionary sermons are all over the internet, it does become easy to regress from theological study and we, clergy, fall into managing, politics, and hand holding. Three great processes that will get you far. We don't get rewarded for theological study. Theological study, which is always second order or third must lead to first order, personal epiphany. People may or may not want personal epiphany, but they want to know that God speaks to us, the Clergy.

    It boils down to expectations of people when they want an encounter with God or want to hear from God. What is exclusive to the expectation of Clergy.

    Praying for us,

  3. This Sunday, I am concluding a 3-part sermon series on "Grace: It's More Than What You Say at Dinner", focusing on prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace. Many members have not heard of these Wesleyan emphases, and I have been pleasantly surprised with how well these messages have been received.
    Rather than reading a "new book" on theology for these messages, I went back to some of the "old ones" from my seminary days, particularly Outler's small volume, "Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit." He really made me laugh last night as I read his description of "sins of omission" -"getting tired and supposing that what you've already done is plenty - or at least enough." How often have we heard this or thought it ourselves!

    Shelly Brooks
    (a not-yet-fully sanctified pastor)