Kim Cape explains how ministry in a rapidly changing world like ours requires dianoia – loving God with one’s mind, loving God with the way we put things together, and loving God with the way we put our world together in the name of the Gospel.
Tiffany Knowlin explains how believers must be deliberate in our effort and our commitment to honor and respect difference as we work together to worship the one living God. There will be difficulties and challenges to work through, yet as we do the work of the kingdom, fear of rejection, fear of acceptance, and fear of division cannot reign.
Quynh-Hoa Nguyen, a UMC missionary in Viet Nam, shares how patriarchal hierarchy, sociopolitical vulnerability, and an otherworldly, deterministic theology have reinforced fear and silence among the evangelical Christians in Viet Nam. She uses the Exodus story to challenge Vietnamese Christians to embrace courage and freedom, to find their voice, and to speak truth that has been silenced in the presence of power.
Rosanna C. Panizo shares how at a gathering of Peruvian Methodist women in October, she realized the Holy Spirit keeps moving beyond our imagination and perspectives. “We learned again that we, as part of the people of God, can have different and even opposite experiences of life. If we are willing to listen with the purpose of understanding each other, and not first reacting to what we are listening to, then the Holy Spirit will work in us and through us.”
Grace Cajiuat, of the Wisconsin Area of the United Methodist Church, shares how when we learn of and from our identities, we can better develop and practice humility, curiosity, and empathy: the three traits that can hold together our integrity in the tapestry we are trying to weave. When we take the time to discover the fibers/identities that make the yarn, we align love with truth that makes the weaving that is the “kin-dom” of God.
Rosemarie Wenner explains that unity doesn’t necessarily mean harmony. “If we insist on harmony, we will create an illusion and disregard the reality of those who are excluded, silenced, or forced to fit into our system. Conflict is not the opposite of unity. It is, instead, a lively expression of seeking reconciliation of interests.”
M. Kathryn Armistead makes a plea for unity and shares how disagreements within the church in recent years have overshadowed the Missio Dei: “We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will; we have broken your law; we have rebelled against your love; we have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy.”
In the aftermath of the special General Conference in St. Louis, HiRho Y. Park shares how United Methodists need to optimize our commitment to worldwide connectionalism; localized regional culture, internal diversity; and global mobility. In a word, United Methodists need to update ourselves for life in the 21st Century.