I’ve a mix of feelings as I leave this year’s Annual Conference (i.e., the yearly gathering of United Methodists in a specified area… in my case, the East Texas area) behind. (Don’t want to bog down here, now on all that.)
Adam Hamilton, Pastor of the quite remarkable United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (outside Kansas City), was a most refreshing inclusion in this year’s agenda — although, even here, I must admit to a mix of questions and emotions. (Don’t want to bog down on these here, now, either.)
Where I would “bog down,” though, is on what was, for me, at least, the highlight of it all – of both Conference and Hamilton’s presentations (three 1.5 hour sessions): his concluding 10 minutes… in which he shared his heart on why Methodism (vital, historic, Wesleyan Methodism) maintains an approach to Life and Faith which matters–an approach, in fact, which stands in this 21st Century to be the most relevant and effective one in helping non-religious and nominally religious people appreciate, if not embrace, Christianity. It was ten minutes that framed, in a new way, the “dance” I seek. For in the “radical center” he commends, I see the very dance of paradoxes that captivates my heart, mind and soul.
Admittedly the video is a bit choppy (from some of the converting I had to do on the way from ustream to youtube), still it’s worth engaging for the message it conveys:
Let us beware, though, as even Hamilton suggests: maintaining the “radical center” – holding things together in the middle of the dance floor — is tough and takes a lot of energy. In our humanity and especially in this day and age, it’s easier to polarize than to hang in the murky middle. (It’s easier, for example, to be either a conservative or a liberal than it is to be a centrist. Or again, it’s our tendency, according to Myers-Briggs folks, to be primary thinkers or feelers. And, on we could go.) Still, when I hear it described and fleshed out, I cannot help but perceive the “dance at the ‘radical center'” as the way of Christ and, therefore, well worth all the work and the mess!