Where the Road Forked

I am reminded this month of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken which end,

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

In October 2009 I decided to take a new road in my life.  The road I’d been traveling on was familar and well worn for me.  I knew its ways well and understood all its mile markers and road signs.  But I came to a fork in the road and realized the road I was on wasn’t the road for me any longer.

The fork in the road I’m talking about was on October 22, 2009 when, after a memorable conversation with the Central District Superintendent, I dropped in the mail an application to the Iowa Conference of the UMC seeking appointment in the United Methodist Church.

I’d spent most of my life as a Baptist and much of my pastoral ministry in American Baptist life.  But for quite a few years I kept passing sign posts which pointed down another path that seemed inviting and, though not familiar as the path I was on, one that kept calling to me.

Some of the sign posts were my experence of the realization of the power of Prevenient Grace that I found in my pilgrimage and work with several Emmaus Communities.  Another sign post was my attraction to and membership in the UMC related Order of Saint Luke and my own personal love of sacramental theology that really doesn’t fit into a Baptist theological context, but now gives me great joy as I share in the Great Thanksgiving with the people of Grace UMC!

Other factors included my growing belief that connection is better than standing alone.  United Methodists are a connectional family in which the church is connected and works together at all levels from the General Church, in the Annual Conferences and districts, and at the local level.

For anyone standing near me in the post office that day it appeared I was just dropping a package in the mail.  But for me it was a powerful moment of decision in which I had finally chosen to take the path I’d wondered about for so long, a path I’d longed to experience, and a path that kept drawing me in. I took the road less traveled and it continues to make all the difference!

In July of 2010 I started this blog to commemorate the start of my first UMC appointment.  The anniversary of my choice to go down a different path is still a few days away.  But to commemorate my decision to become a United Methodist I started an online discussion forum today for anyone in the Methodist/Wesleyan family of the Christian faith.

When I first was moving into the UMC I looked around for an online forum for discussion and only found local church discussion forums or one or two related to particular political viewpoints in the denomination.  But I didn’t find a general discussion forum for Weslyan Christians.  Some such discussions are on Facebook.  But I find that Facebooks restrictions often get in the way of discussion and their forum/discusion software has some issue with security.

My new forum can be found at http://methodist.forumatic.com.  It will have its own domain at http://methodistsonline.com as soon as the DNS registration gets straightened out.

Feel free to register and join me in further discussion about the Methodist family that I am now so much enjoying being a part!