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I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to witness to Biblical Obedience and full LGBTQ inclusion:

You are invited to participate with The UMC Connectional Table this Monday evening for an online conversation on human sexuality. There are specific details below on how you can participate or observe in real time. Monday’s dialog will be used to generate questions for another panel that will take place February 10 in Mozambique with RMN’s Rev. Izzy Alvaran.

In the Mark lectionary text for this week, Jesus traveled to Galilee. It was a time not unlike today: many religious leaders were doing their best to keep certain people as outsiders, John the Baptist had just been arrested, but Jesus had Good News to get out. To accomplish this, Jesus sought and called the very people the church was closing their doors to: fishermen like Simon, Andrew, James, and John.

Jesus is still calling those today to help share the Good News that oppression and injustice do not have the last word. Hearing and responding to that calling is Biblical Obedience.

Will you follow me in practicing Biblical Obedience on Monday at 9PM Eastern/6 Pacific for this Twitter conversation?

Matt Berryman
RMN Executive Director
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What’s a hashtag?
A hashtag or # is a way of cataloging tweets or facebook posts that are on a similar topic. You could search Twitter or Facebook now using “#UMC” and read everything posted that people have included “#UMC.” In Monday’s conversation, everyone who includes “#dreamUMC” in their Tweet will be included in feed.

How do I Tweet in the conversation?
First, to follow the conversation, you will need to create or login to your Twitter account and then type “#dreamUMC” into your Twitter search window. Moderators will pose questions, typically organizing them with a Q1, Q2, Q3 format. If they tweeted “Q1: Would you introduce yourself? #DreamUMC” You may choose to answer their question by tweeting “Q1: Jenn from Charlotte, clergy #DreamUMC.” You may also choose to engage other people who have answered or retweet (RT) an answer you really appreciated.

Can I follow along if I don’t have a Twitter account?
Yes! Simply go to this link or you can always search Google for “Tweets about #dreamumc hashtag on Twitter.” Be sure to click “All” at the top and not “Top” in order to see all of the Tweets in real time. If you do decide to contribute to the conversation, you will need to login to your account.

What is the benefit of holding a conversation this way on Twitter?
It is not a perfect medium, but then again, any medium has its problems. Among other benefits, Twitter allows everyone who has internet access the opportunity to participate and have their voice heard at the virtual table. It allows more people and more diverse voices, leveling the normal protocols that favor certain voices over others. On Twitter, a bishop has the same privilege to participate in the conversation as a high school student does.

How should I handle abusive Tweeters?
There will definitely be people with whom you disagree. Some you will learn from, some you may choose to engage, but there are some who might be especially offensive. You have the ability to mute or hide them by clicking on the “…” at the bottom of their tweet. Oftentimes engaging these types of people gets you nowhere, especially if their goal is to antagonize and tear down. Try to engage with grace, but do not allow yourself to be abused.

If you have any other questions or need further assistance with Twitter, please contact RMN Communications Director, Rev. Andy Oliver who would be happy to help as time allows.


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DreamUMC hosting #UMC Human Sexuality conversation

by Rev. Jeremy Smith who blogs at www.hackingchristianity.net

Monday, January 26th at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific, the online chat for United Methodists will feature special guest The Connectional Table which will lead us through a conversation about human sexuality and the UMC.

The Connectional Table is one of the big-time committees in the United Methodist Church, tasked with articulating the present and visioning the future of the UMC. One of the areas they are exploring is human sexuality, including the debate over LGBT inclusion in the church. They have hosted several forums and alongside each have included live questions from online folks (Twitter and email).

There’s a problem: the next chat in Mozambique on February 10th doesn’t have the proper technical needs to be able to livestream the conversation so that the online community can engage in real time. A conversation they were hoping to have simultaneously between the African community and the rest of the world via online channels cannot happen in real time.

To solve this problem, DreamUMC, the online community (TWFB) that has been chatting about UMC-related issues twice a month since the 2012 General Conference, has been asked to help fill that gap. The Connectional Table will take over the chat and allow the global community to preview some of the questions and ask some of their own for the panel to consider bringing to the conversation. Since DreamUMC has a diverse online conversation twice a month anyway, it seemed an easy match to bring this topic to every United Methodist with a Twitter or Facebook account.

Here’s their press release:

On January 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm EST, DreamUMC will host a Twitter chat where participants will get a glimpse of the types of questions and topics for the panel, an opportunity to answer or comment on those questions and topics, and an opportunity to pose questions of their own, which will be presented to the panel. Any submitted questions will be asked of the panel during the last 20 minutes on February 10.

“We want to thank DreamUMC for helping us to provide this opportunity to reach out to our UMC connection via Twitter,” said the Rev. Amy Valdez Barker, executive secretary of the Connectional Table.

As one of the moderators of the chats, I was happy to help facilitate this conversation. DreamUMC has crafted a regular community over the past 2.5 years and there are always new people joining in. I think we have the necessary infrastructure in place for the CT to gather the information they need before the human sexuality conversation in Africa.

The Connectional Table will be providing all the questions, and as usual, DreamUMC only posits the questions, pushes for more clarity, and the entire community sounds off with their responses.

Here’s how to connect to the Twitter-based chat, and as a bonus, we will also be posting the questions on our Facebook page.

DreamUMC is a grassroots movement that arose out of General Conference 2012. They conduct biweekly chats about the mission and vision of The United Methodist Church including such topics as the role of social media in church life, racism, sexism, community engagement, domestic violence, women in ministry and more. Over 400 United Methodist clergy and laity have been involved in those chats.

Thanks for considering the chat, and see you online on January 26th!

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