Courageous Conversations and Prophetic Preaching with West Ohio Conference Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer
Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Trimble has the personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential. It is his commitment to his personal mission that led Bishop Trimble to create the “To Be Encouraged” Podcast along with co-host Rev.Dr. Brad Miller.
Bishop Trimble says, “I am compelled by Jesus to share with you an encouraging word or two about Jesus, theology, the Bible, the pandemic, the environment, racism, voting rights, human sexuality, and the state of the United Methodist Church.”
To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble is to be published weekly and is available at www.tobeencouraged.com and all the podcast directories.
Episode 035 is Part 1 of a two part interview with West Ohio Conference Bishop Gregory V. Palmer.
Part 2 is available at this link: https://tobeencouraged.com/episode/036
About Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer
Ohio West Area, The United Methodist Church
Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer serves as the episcopal leader of the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church. He was assigned there on September 1, 2012.
Born and reared in Philadelphia, Palmer is a “child of the church,” the son of the Rev. Herbert E. and Mrs. Charlotte Sue Hewitt Palmer. Palmer’s father (now deceased) was a retired United Methodist pastor; his mother (now deceased) was a schoolteacher in the Philadelphia Public School system.
Bishop Palmer received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and the Master of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. Baldwin-Wallace College, Iowa Wesleyan College, Simpson College, Hood Theological Seminary and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary have awarded him honorary degrees.
He was ordained a deacon and elected a probationary member in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference in 1977. In 1981, he was elected into full membership and ordained an elder in the East Ohio Annual Conference.
His pastoral career includes student pastorates in North Carolina and post-seminary appointments in the East Ohio Conference in Cleveland, Canton and Berea. Palmer also served as superintendent of the Youngstown District of the East Ohio Conference.
Elected to the episcopacy by the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in 2000, Palmer served the Iowa Area until assuming responsibilities in the Illinois Area in 2008. Palmer served as president of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry from 2004 to 2008 and president of the Council of Bishops from April 2008 to May 2010. Palmer served on the Commission on a Way Forward. Currently, he is a member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and chair of the Comprehensive Africa Plan. He also is a board member of several organizations, including The United Methodist Publishing House, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, United Theological Seminary and OhioHealth, a family of nonprofit hospitals and health care facilities, Ohio Northern University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Mount Union University and Emory University.
Married for 46 years to his wife Cynthia, they are the parents of two adult children.
Hello Good people welcome to the to be in courage to podcast with Bishop Julius C. Tremble. This is the podcast where we offer an encouraging word to a discouraged world. I'm your co host, Reverend Dr. Brad Miller. We are privileged today to have as our guest, the bishop of the West Ohio of the Ohio west area, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Gregory, Bishop Palmer comes to us as a child of the church and we're gonna get into some details about that. He has been the Bishop of Ohio since 2012. Previously serving in Iowa and Illinois as a bishop, and in parishes in in Cleveland, Ohio and other areas as well. But prior to that, he has a extended background in life at the church and he's going to be sharing with us some, some great insights about the life of the church today and his point of view of some encouraging words. We welcome Bishop Palmer to our podcast and Bishop Tribble, would you help us welcome Bishop Palmer to be encouraged?Speaker:
But well welcome, my dear friend, and this is Gregory Vaughan Palmer, for friends for 30 plus years now, and accounted a joy to to be a neighbor in a neighboring state, but also to have been able to labor together in this ministry in the United Methodist Church for lo these many years. We've been looking forward to this conversation. Our main goal is just to be a blessing to be used by God to be a blessing to others in this particular season. So good morning, and welcome and good afternoon, and good evening, depending upon when people hear this podcast.Speaker:
Amen. Thank you very much great to see you. And to be with you.Speaker:
Awesome. Well, it is indeed a delight in Bishop Palmer, we love to talk to people involved with the life of The United Methodist Church and so many levels, we talked to lay folks and folks involved with various ministries and a number of Bishops we talked to but one of the things that is in common is we talked to men and women of faith. And we really love to hear faith stories. And so we'd really like to hear Bishop Palmer, your faith story, just a portion of that, perhaps, how you came to Christ, know Christ in the first place, and how that navigated in your life to become a bishop in the church.Speaker:
Sure, thank you very much. I would say that I came to Christ, because I was brought to Christ. Meaning my parents presented me for a holy baptism as an as an infant. So as our book of ritual and worship, and himno says, you know, the rubric says, For this was the order of the baptismal covenant for those unable to answer for themselves. And when I was unable to answer for myself, my parents took me to the altar, and had me baptized. And they made certain commitments as every family does. And they, in the long haul, follow through on those on those commitments. My My hunch is, and my recollection, as I hear, recall, my parents telling the story, they probably had a little bit of where they were not knocking the doors of the church down every Sunday morning, as young adults with a small child. But when they moved from an apartment and got their first home in the Northwest section of Philadelphia, they were connected with a church called Trinity, then Trinity Methodist Church, now Trinity, United Methodist Church, and it's been through several mergers. And they started attending that church with friends that were really like family to us. But I remember my dad telling me a story about he said, Well, I think I'm going to send Gregory to Sunday school next week. And, and then an elderly woman who was like an odd to all of us, my parents and to me, said to my dad, Herb, well, don't send the boy bring him and my dad talks about how that was so transformational. He took an ADA seriously. He, he and my mother started bringing me to Sunday school, they got involved in Sunday school, young adult fellowship, etcetera, etcetera, and got highly engaged in in the church. So, through through Sunday school, and experiences in the church, and subsequently my dad entering set apart ministry. So I was going through a lot of different Sunday schools over time, but I remember distinct early as late adolescence or early early adolescent, walking down the center aisle and giving the preacher my hand which would have been my dad, in a church that he was serving when the invitation to Christian discipleship came. So all had come to fruition from, you know, unable to answer for himself to that moment when I walked down the aisle at Union Memorial, United Methodist Church, and put my hand in the hand of the preacher, when the proverbial doors of the church are open, and etc, and then subsequently enrolled in the membership training, some may call it a confirmation class, and was received in the membership with several other young people that year, in the spring, in the spring of that year, etc, where you make public profession of your of your faith, so that the rest is history in one sense. And I've not looked back on that primary commitment first made in my behalf, and by my parents, to the time when I ratified that commitment in membership and confirmation in the church, to my own life of service in the church. So it's a great question, and I'm delighted to reflect upon it.Speaker:
Absolutely. And that life of the church has meant a number of postings and positions and local church settings and for last 22 years or so as a part of the Episcopal see, and so, Bishop treble you and both Bishop Palmer are very veterans of the Episcopal see. And the situation in the church is one that is embroiled in an angst in a way and in many ways, and yet there are some signs of life and some encouraging signs. I know, base for triple what we I know you and Bishop Palmer engaged lots of conversations being in neighboring states and and involved with Episcopal See, I know you had a few things you really wanted to chat with Bishop Palmer about.Speaker:
Yeah, I've been talking a lot lately with with both lay and clergy in Indiana and beyond Indiana about what we are encouraged about. We don't want the sole discussion and the headline to be disaffiliation. So I've been I've been saying I'm encouraged most about how eager people are to be used by God in this season, as instrument of God's grace in the church. I do have things I'm a bit troubled about. But I'm more encouraged by the enthusiasm that I've encountered in recent weeks, both here and abroad, about how how people are eager to be engaged in ministry, even with all of the things that are going on in the world today. And I just curious to bestow upon what encourages you in this season, particularly as we get ready to go to jurisdictional conference.Speaker:
Sure. Well, one of the things that encourages me sounds very similar to what you were saying Bishop are the ways in which United Methodist disciples of Jesus Christ and local United Methodist congregations are not letting the disaffiliation rhetoric narrative suck out all of the air out of the room. And they are focused on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, in their local communities, in the continuing formation of their own members, and providing a missional outreach in those communities where people's lives are literally being changed, because of the worship and study and fellowship and service and prophetic witness of those of those congregations. And I think they need to be highlighted more. We've given it understandably so a great deal of attention to the angst that we have in the United Methodist Church, and particularly since the special sessions of the General Conference, but we need to give an appropriate and a healthy amount of attention to all the ways in which people are heads down on the ministry. Now let me let me bail that out just a bit, because they are focused on ministry proclaiming the gospel, forming people in Christ, and those congregations are not spending their energy. So much on how can we not be United Methodist, or even answering the question? Why should we be United Methodist, they actually are being United Methodist. So they're answering the question with their faith, their life and their witness. That does not mean that they are insensitive to all else that's going around going on around us in the United Methodist Church, and they are making an appropriate I have a space for healthy Congress conversations. But none of them are distracting from the execution of ministry in those places. So I'm gonna give you one example I was at a church on yesterday. And they had this, I don't know, if they got the idea from somewhere else, or somebody made it up, every one of us has been at a stoplight. And there's been some man, woman, maybe sometimes children, and they're holding up a sign, please help me. Sometimes it says, I'm a veteran, and I'm homeless. So people, you know, at least presenting the picture of being in some abject meat. And they had these wonderful large ziploc bags, that they had pulled together a group of people proceeding Sunday morning, and they filled them with a water bottle with a gift card to fast food type restaurant, there was Kleenex in there and all sorts of things that were very useful. And they said, the next time you're at one of those places, and you're feeling like you should do something, but you don't necessarily want to pull out cash out of your pocket, we all have our level of how much good that will do. Take a couple of these bags with you, and, and hand it at that stoplight to that person that's standing there in need. I mean, I was so inspired and so challenged, and they have several things that they were doing in this in this season. But you know, that wasn't related. That was related to the ongoing crisis of people who are economically disenfranchised, who are not living in safe housing, who maybe are unemployed. And I was so inspired, that our faith expressed through the worship service, proclaiming our love of Jesus, and are following in his footsteps had these tangible signs. And in the same service, they took in a dozen new members into the life of the congregation, Lord and God said, I mean it was all happening, evangelization, missional, outreach, etc.Speaker:
Now, that's a story worth being told Brett, yes, sir. And told again, and again. And too many of these stories happen. galore. We call them glory, signings, look at God, look at the church. And we never hear about it. But But sure enough, praise be to God for that, for that testimony.Speaker:
I love what you said. I loved what you said, Vishal Palmer, about energy, about energy about how so many of the stories are being told now about the church, you know, from those who are kind of, you know, good knock the church right now are stuck out the energy. And we need to continue to have good news stories. And that's what I love about big trouble. He's always focused on encouragement. And I know, I just happen to know some of the discouraging things that have happened to Dan in our state. And, and I admire that so much about having an encouraging word, but what you're talking about is being very intentional about speaking positive energy, and doing the work of the church. So that's one to interject there. But I know Mr. Trimble, you had something else you wanted to share.Speaker:
That was that was worth the podcast right there. Bishop Palmer. So when I find I've been blessed now I feel like I want to walk down the aisle and join the church. There are some things in all honesty that do troubled me. And I just wanted to share a little bit what's troubling me, you've been watching the news the last 2448 hours. And I want to, we'd like that we'd like to deal with some of the difficult topics as well. I'm troubled by our our society with addiction to violence, both violence of words and action, as a preferred response to disagreement. And, you know, whether it's whether it's the attack on Mr. Pelosi in his home, or, or some of the campaign ads that are just filled with so vitriolic, and now there's this whole new campaigning cycle, it seems like where you know, you have to add a little, a little, a little gun gun, some pictures of guns and so forth, in order to make your point. It seems as though we have an addiction, that it almost become idolatrous in our society, and I don't want to blame I'm not blaming any particular party, but they seem to be too many individuals that have gone down the road that takes us away from the teachings of Christ. Who calls us to be both peacemakers and those who who embrace something other than violence loving God and loving neighbor that troubles me and I, so and some of that has seeped over into the church maybe, you know, in different levels. So, I just wanted you to speak to that bishop Palmer, and brand as well. You know, when people ask me what What troubles me, I'm not troubled by God, God still calling people the ministry, and calling people to service we have a number of people who've offered themselves to be candidates for Bishop across the church. So I know God is still calling, but It troubles me that our body politic our society. And this seems to be a global problem is drifting into a somewhat of an idolatrous relationship with violence, and despising of the other as, as many will will Aman and others have written about this as well. So you want to comment on that at all, Mr. Palmer?Speaker:
Oh, absolutely. Thank you, Mr. Trimble. You said, it seems like we have an addiction to violence, we are addicted to violence. And I think I think the addiction is not just in our own culture. In America, I mean, I think it's, it's it's global in scale. And it shows up in many ways. But the place where we likely have the most influence are the places where we live our lives. And so for us on this, we've got more influence here, even though we have global and international interests. And as you have intimated, it is not just the gun violence, it's not just you know, home invasions, as happened in the Bay Area in the case of the policies, but it's also the rhetoric that we use. So when I look at, you know, what's coming out in the ads, in the campaigns, they intend to be destructive. And we seem not to be able to get away from saying what I'm for, we're only announcing what we're against. And the way in which we do that is to make out of someone else. Make them the other. And, and the other part of that addiction that I've discovered or learned or observed over the years, is somehow or another, there's a part of our unredeemed Ness, that we feel better about ourselves, by having our foot on somebody else's neck, so to speak. And whether or not that's physical, whether or not that's emotional, whether or not that's spiritual, whether or not it's cultural. It's, we like to have this one up, that we're better than other people, or at least we that's the story we tell ourselves so that we can, we can sleep at night. And at some point, we have got to be willing to disarm ourselves. And I mean that physically, I mean it in terms of the rhetoric, etc. And I don't want to act like that, you know, given the right set of circumstances and the right buttons getting pushed that any of us, any of us can be sucked into that. We've got, we've got that inside of us. Hopefully, it's not our whole story. And hopefully, the love of God has flooded our hearts and keeps flooding our hearts. But we've got to, we've got to keep working at it and be conscious of it. Not in the sense of neuroses, but conscious of it, that we check ourselves. And we're checking in with the Triune God and to say, is this word I'm about to speak? Or if it has to be reflected these words that I just said, Do they resemble the dignity of my humanity? And did I recognize the dignity of the humanity of others, this physical action, etc. And we ought to be able to point to the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the chief of Redeemer, obviously, and the chief model to shape our own behaviors afterSpeaker:
we've seen a better example than what we then what we are demonstrating as a society and and I think that it's it behooves the the Christian church to take our finger off the mute button, as I've said over and over again, as it relates to, as relates to speaking out against the psalmist says in Psalm 11, verse five, the Lord test the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates the lover of violence. So this notion that you can somehow get a get a blanket, call it Christianity and put it over violence and mix it together and come up with something God is pleased with this just is hogwash.Speaker:
Seems to be what we're talking about here is is how we have some of these courageous conversations in our churches and in our communities and also prophetic preaching, you know, have a prophetic word into our churches because you know, we have to be honest, Bishop treble Bishop Palmer, we have some These folks are inclined towards violence in our churches, they are there. They are there. And also, certainly in our communities, they are there they are there. So excuse me, we have some responsibility and obligation and place, as, as, as the church and as pastors and as prophetic people to speak into that. So I just like to hear both of you speak about courageous conversations that might be around the, you know, around the conference table in your church, but it also might be at the school board in nearby or, and also prophetic preaching not only in your pulpit, but preaching somehow in the public eye, maybe in some public manner or podcast was one of those. Can you speak to prophetic preaching courageous conversations?Speaker:
Sure. I think it's my belief that absence, absent creating a framework, in which people in congregations and people who are not explicitly and by their own choice, living out of a wellspring of religious faith and conviction, ought to be able to hone the tools of what it means to engage in meaningful conversation with our neighbors, particularly about the things that may be between us things that are matters of difference. Sometimes, what we differ on, doesn't mean we're in opposition to one another, it means we see it from a different angle of view, and that there's a wholeness in getting all of the angles of view on a particular a particular situation, or a particular conversation. So I think the church has capacity. And we have resources out of our history in our life of time to equip not just our members and communicants. But we have resources to help larger communities to have these conversations. And I think not all of the resources for having meaningful conversations are in the church or in religious institutions. So we have something to learn from other places, and communities and institutions that have modeled this. Well. The second thing you raised is prophetic, prophetic preaching. And I do think our preaching ought to move out to the edge. So whether we call this prophetic or otherwise, of preaching that invites us into transformation. And I think sometimes the use of the term prophetic preaching, which on the one hand, I love, on the other hand, it's very limiting, because it's become a trigger word in various sort of thought communities. And, and I think it's really the combination of, you know, in our office, so to speak, bringing together the pastoral, the priestly and the prophetic. So for example, I think that the ritual life of the church is as important as the proclamation life of the church, whether or not it's permitted for prophetic preaching, we ought to be leading and inviting people and engaging them in the ritual life that rehearses over and over again, Eucharist does this the mighty deeds of God, the action of God in Jesus Christ, for our salvation and the empowerment and equipping of the Holy Church of the church, by the Holy Spirit, to live the life that God dreams and intends for us. So at the end of the Eucharist, service, the rich of the liturgy, excuse me, as you before before serving, you know, we say make us one in Christ and one in ministry to all the world. It's this bending around our oneness, that that is what we're what's intended for us to, to be kept in mind, even as we receive the body and blood of Christ. And that Eucharist is just one example baptism, a part of our sacramental life. And because we don't name something a sacrament, doesn't mean there are not important rituals, and liturgies that the church needs to engage in and to teach what's really at the core of those. So that member our communicants can engage those some of these things they can do in their homes. And, and I think we've sort of hidden them, if you will, behind the altars of the church and not empowered people, particularly for the rituals that are not quote sacramental unquote, to engage them in their daily lives.Speaker:
Fisher treble Would you care to speak to this prophetic preaching courageous conversations and some of the things that that the bishop Palmer has raised?Speaker:
I think It's excellent response from Bishop Palmer. I remember years ago at a ministry gathering, the Baptist preacher Dr. Manuel Scott said, all teaching is not preaching. But all preaching should contain some teaching. And I'm I'm of the firm belief that preaching in some say prophetic preaching is not in and of itself preaching the gospel is not in and of itself non partisan. It's not it's non political. It doesn't prefer a particular party. But the Gospel itself is calling us to, towards the reign of God. So it's not part nonpartisan in the sense it doesn't expect any change from those who received the word or those who are proclaiming the word or those who are through the ritual of life or living the word. So in our efforts to be non political and non controversial, I think sometimes we have put a lid on the actual, on the actual gospel and the preaching of the preaching of the living Word of God. So I've told our pastors they listen, if you're really preaching from the Bible, if you use the lectionary, you look at our social principles, you look at our Book of Discipline, you look at the life of your own congregation, and your community challenges, you're on solid ground, and you're preaching, so you don't have to, you don't have to conjure up controversy, to proclaim the gospel. You just have to read the Bible live, live into live into your faith and into your community and address issues, whether it's, you know, whether it's the children are hungry, at the school down the street, or whether we really have not been demonstrating love to one another, as we all do, and the example that bishop Palmer shared about the church that was using the sandwich bags to put together care packages for homeless as an example, as a great example of how all of that is part of the ritual and life of the church, that should also be connected to the preaching of the church, right? I believe that prophetic preaching, maybe we have kind of overused that the term, but I want to help pastors, to not be afraid to really live their whole faith, live their faith out and make sure that some of our preaching includes a little bit of teaching. And part of what I think we have been suffering from is people don't even have some basic understandings of our baptismal ritual. What it means to be a follower of Christ. And maybe we can use it a bit of the time that we have for, for for preaching, to make sure that we include some elements of teaching as well.Speaker:
That's good. That's good. And I would, I would, piggybacking on what you've said, Bishop tremble about politics, partisanship, etc. This, this notion, which I find so insidious, that God doesn't take sides is nuts. It's not biblical. It, it lacks any profundity? theologically, you're not does take sides. And we may not like the side that God takes. But God is on the side of the outcast, the poor, the oppressed. God is in love with sinners, and God loves righteous people who recognize their great need of God. And you just look at the couple of examples in the Gospels. When, you know, there was derision toward our Lord and Savior, sort of like, doesn't he know better? He's going home to the house of Zacchaeus. That was the Gospel text. He ought to know better, not have no better look at Luke 15. And this idea, you know, his befriending of sinners and they were murmuring and whispering and criticizing the prince of glory, because he was hanging out with sinners. Well, thanks be to God. He hung out with them so he could hang out with me one day and, and he wants to hang out with everybody. Hang out with everybody until we become shaped in the likeness of Jesus Christ.Speaker:
One of the great sermons I heard years ago and I mentioned it to him he didn't remember preaching. It was from the now retired this John Bishop John Prine of the AME Church. years ago, he preached a sermon in Chicago, how Jesus keeps hanging around. And then he'll keep hanging around until we get it until we till we come to you. One of the texts that, that we're all familiar with is when Jesus went home to Nazareth, and was in the synagogue and got up and it was handed to scroll and read from what from Isaiah 61 The Bible says you can go look at this, that when he was teaching, he received a five star rating. It's in the Bible Go there. Go back. It said he received a five Star rating. And then your textbook is on, you know, he proclaimed good news to the poor and so forth. Jesus was doing fine. But what happened was later on, that he proclaimed and said the message wasn't just for the Jewish community, but for the Gentile community. You know, sometimes the prophetic preaching is when we say, this isn't just for all of us inside the church, this good news is for everybody, even the folks outside it may be of a different ethnic group or racial group or socio economic group. And sometimes that's where we, we met, we're faithful to the gospel, but maybe not as popular as we'd like to always be.Speaker:
I love the I love the fact that both of you have brought up here scriptural references in the last part of our conversation, because it's such an important thing. And yet, I'm going to share it you've mentioned things that troubled you were things that troubles me is how so often, descriptors are manipulated, to serve a certain purpose, sometimes political sometimes, you know, just a personal agenda. And I find that very troubling, I even find that see that in, you know, in our churches at times. And I'd like you to speak to that for a second how we can be true to respect others to be sure, but be true to the gospel and speak to this issue, if you believe it to be the case about the Scripture is being manipulated.Speaker:
Well, let me say I want to I want to acknowledge we all have some capacity to latch on to our favorite scriptures, and to use them in ways that that suit us. I don't think we're necessarily intended all the time. But a phrase that I like that I first heard from Gardner Taylor, he had been routed elsewhere, where he talks about preaching the whole counsel of God. And so it's this notion of, you know, that we learned in seminary and learn in well done Bible study in a local church, that there's a there's always a, there's a subtext, there's a free text. And there's the context. And everything that said, and sometimes we lose, we lose sight of that. Now, I think at other times, we just take a snippet of scripture or even a narrative, and we use it to hammer other people over the head. Here, here's here's one that I've heard use over and over again, as sort of an answer to, don't beat your head against your wall against a wall on this. People take the saying of Jesus, the poor, you will have with you always. And then they use it as an excuse not to work too hard to eradicate poverty. I do not think that was the subtext, the context, the preaching, at cetera, that Jesus had in mind that we would not work aggressively in terms of mission delivery, and in terms of public policy, to see that more people have access to the things that make for a flourishing with access to clean potable water, access to safe housing, access to sanitary conditions, access to health care, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So we you know, and that's, that's one that I've heard that just I find obscene and nauseating in the ways in which people have used it Another would be the misuse of the language of the apostle Paul, about the subject to the authorities. I think that's Romans and the 13th chapter, as as if you cannot offer any godly resistance to that which is immoral, unethical and illegal. That at whole notion is exactly the track that that slave holders went down in proclaiming a gospel that said, you know, this is God's will that you be my slave. And you need to be subservient to me. So you take you think of all of the people whether or not American chattel slavery or any other group of people that has been subjugated to take that language and subject to those of you be subject to those who are over you in authority in a way that is demeaning, and squeezes the life of people.Speaker:
Mr. Trimble, I know this has been a part of our conversation, sometimes, you know, particular scriptures related to human sexuality and so on. This is part of the ongoing conversation. What do you have to say about this issue about how scripture isSpeaker:
used? I think we need to approach scripture with a great deal of humility and a hunger for God to really speak to us in a contemporary context so how how how we can be healing as opposed to be hurting, you know and not use scripture to legislate or to someone said to legislate hurt, but, but to lift up and bring healing. So you know, often say it just like when people come for counseling or something before getting married, and they want to quote the Scripture, you know, husbands obey their wives often say, Well, can you tell me the two verses that I prefer that was passed away, man? Well, I'm just quoting isn't that in the Bible. So we often want to, quote, quote, scripture, in part without reading the Bible in whole. So I often say, you know, follow the example of the, of the of the elders and let's just read the Bible as a whole, you know, people want to see what the Bible says it's and I don't dispute that there are scriptures, relative to the long going conversation and conflict around human sexuality. But there are a lot of things that we seem to skip over and neglect. While we want to hang our hats on that. And even when it comes to like you said, preaching and the misuse of Scripture, I have preaching professor used to say, you know, some of you are guilty, some of us are guilty if we come up with a great sermon title. And then we want to bring in the Scripture kicking and screaming, to support what the sermon God hits a home run, then we go looking for we go,Speaker:
we go and make that home run into,Speaker:
we really need a much greater dose of humility, when it comes to even our exercise of, you know, our hermeneutical responsibility, if you will, when it comes to Scripture. And, you know, because there's so much that I think we come as imperfect vessels. doing the job, I think, are in the tail that said this, you know, we've been called to do a job that's too big for us to actually do, to preach the gospel is too big for us to preach. But God uses us anyway. So that's why I think we really need to come with a sense of confession, and humility. And ask the ask the question, you know, how does this bring healing? How does this bring hope, whatever that takes might,Speaker:
and that, so important for us to understand those scriptures in that light. And I want us to kind of bring our conversation around to close in the next few minutes. But it's so important that I really want to hit hit on this last area here, because it's relates to you being as a political leadership bishops in the church, among other things, you are pastors to the pastors. And so many pastors and lay leaders and people in the church will say something to this to me and those conversations I have with my color, clergy colleagues, I'm just so weary. I'm just so tired. This whole, the whole world is just wearing me out the situation and the church and politics and, you know, COVID, and everything else is just beating me up. So bishops, I would really like for you to speak, if you don't mind, a word to that beat up pastor or lay person who's feeling a little bit weary here. today. I'd like to hear a bit of a an encouraging word from you to speak into their lives, about what's God doing in your life, particularly, but what can God be doing in their life in our churches? Can you speak an encouraging word to that weary pastor or layperson?Speaker:
I want to first I want to thank you, Brad, just for just for posing that question I asked, I asked Mr. Palmer to speak to at first but just you're taking time enough to spell it out? What is so true and obvious, and not necessarily obvious to others? My wife was saying this not too long ago, she said, a lot of people don't see what you are seeing. And she was making reference to me as a bishop, but also as pastor as a pastor. She said, people don't see that she does, obviously being married to one. But and the same thing with you, Brad, you know, and Greg, you know, but a lot of people don't see that. And so I sort of want to defer to Mr. Palmer and then I certainly want to,Speaker:
it is, it is tough. It is tough out there, as you know, but I really would like to hear from both of you, Bishop Pom, would you speak to this, please?Speaker:
Well, I want to acknowledge Bishop Trimble has been quoting other preachers from yesteryear. And I want to remind him of something he said, With great alliteration years ago when we were both serving in another annual conference as pastors, but he was in some setting. He was talking to clergy and he said you got a tough job. Illuminated listed, litter just obliterated all of the ways in which the job of clergy was tough, and it was not we were not facing what we're facing now. So and I say that by way of Both reminding and blessing, Bishop Trimble for the impact that he's had on me and others, but also saying sometimes you got to say it out loud. And the place that I want to leave from is actually from the one of the texts from the Hebrew Bible from yesterday, in the Revised Common Lectionary, it was verses one through four of both the first chapter and the second chapter of the book of the prophet Habakkuk. And, and in the first chapter, in the first four verses, there is this complaint, there is this lament. And one of the things that I tried to say and that I can include it in my own head and heart, it's alright, for us to name when we are hurting, when things are not going, the way in which we had them sort of planned out. And it was not our picture of our preferred future. The Bible calls that lament, sometimes it uses the word complaint. If you look at the Psalms, if you look at portions of different ones of the Prophet, the Bible is replete with lament. And even in the gospels when Jesus comes to the city and looks over it, and things are misaligned. And depending on what Habakkuk says, justice is perverted. The master prints of glory, He weeps over the city. So I think the first place in encouraging pastors and lay people and ourselves as Christian leaders in this time is we need to have a good cry. And get this thing cleansed out of us. The the the poetic writer of the narrative out of Egypt says that salt water, heels, tears, sweat, the sea, salt, water heels, so we got them, you just have to have a good cry, and we sometimes fight it. I know I do. Why don't want to be caught crying up here in the Lord's house. I don't want to come on done in the pulpit. Sometimes you just got to have a good cry not not to draw attention to yourself, and not to have a pity party, but to allow that which is overwhelming us to go ahead and flood over us in ways that are redemptive, because until I get that out until I say it's okay. Not to be okay. In this moment, I cannot see the hope. So my vision for the hope is already blurred because I'm fighting the tears that are both in my eyes and in my heart back. So I want to encourage our workforce to go ahead and not be okay for a minute. Have yourself a good cry, have yourself a good sweat, dive into the ocean of this thing not to tarry forever, but to let it be released. Because in the Bible when lament is coming forth, what makes it as I recall, as I call it, biblical lament, and godly of the Met is it is staying engaged with God knows when earning and we got to we got to say it out loud, not because God doesn't know it, but we need to articulate it for ourselves. So the hymn writer comes to mind I must tell Jesus, all our troubles, I cannot bear these burdens alone. And here in Western culture, we think we can solve and fix anything in a microwave minute. And, and so part of it back to what Bishop Trimble talked about humility, part of the humility is accept the Lord help us accept the Lord help us we cannot fix this. And and we can't see the hope that God has for us. And I do believe that God has a hopeful future for us. Until we name in a sense our helplessness and then the opportunity to put on new lenses will will be opened up to us so that's where I start.Speaker:
Thank you, Bishop all rubbish for trouble. Can you speak to this and also offer a word of thanks as a part of our closing to Bishop Palmer for being with us?Speaker:
Yeah, that was great. That was great. Bishop Palmer. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen. Nobody knows. But Jesus, Jesus hits I wrote an ark or you may remember Brad, this was maybe a year ago now or not. I forget it was since COVID. It's okay not to be okay. Yes. And I've said you know, hey, I I have seen and and willing to continue to see when I see a therapist, I have an ambition Palmer and others people that I can not only cry with, but I can laugh with some answers and say, Hey, you got to find a place where you can have a good laugh, mate, if that's not part of that's kind of part of my family tradition. So So we I have a brother that we call each other And then I have brothers like Mr. Palmer, and sisters as well that I can call and have a good laugh with it as well. The other thing is, is to constantly in leadership as a servant leader to say thank you. So I would say to all who are hearing this, clergy in particular, but clergy, and all baptized believers and those who made be seeking to know Christ, thank you. And how do we say thank you, you know, when you're going whether you're going to the grocery checkout counter, or picking up your coffee from Starbucks. That's one of the benefits. Brad, you and I've talked about this? Yes, that'd be great of having grandchildren. Yes. remind you to say, somebody reminding you to say thank you. So periodically, this this podcast has reminded me to say to the clergy, thank you, thank you for your faithfulness. Your witness, and and, and it's okay not to be okay. Is both Mr. Palmer and I are saying and to recognize that we don't have to really, even though it feels like at some time, the heavy lifting has already been done. One of our colleagues, one of my colleagues, Bishop beard, I like to wait says, he says, I know the end of the story. God wins. So if you know we, I like going to the movies sometime, Brian, I think you do too. And our oldest son Cameron, Cameron, he would often call and say that you can go see this movie, because the it's got a good ending. It's kind of fitting. So one of the things about being followers of Jesus Christ and not, not not to say suffering isn't here, but you know, trouble isn't gonna last always. So we praise be to God and to those who are serving. Thank you. Thank you. And, you know, be encouraged in the witness in the work that we do.Speaker:
Absolutely. Well, it's been a pleasure talking to both Bishop Gregory Palmer today and Bishop Julius tremble today and and Bishop Palmer in a moment I usually have visual trouble close us in prayer but a moment if you don't mind I'd like for you to close us in prayer if you're okay with that. The bishop treble is there any word of thanks you'd like to say to Bishop Palmer or to Oh,Speaker:
yeah, big, big thank you to Mr. Palmer for taking time we're both getting ready to head to the jurisdiction North Central Jurisdiction of conference where our theme is pressing on. And this is part of pressing on right now to encourage each other and encourage those who are followers of Jesus Christ to press on.Speaker:
Thank you so much. Well, Bishop Palmer. We use this podcast as an encouragement to the clergy and to lay folks, Bishop trouble often closes in prayer. But do you mind if I impose on you to close with prayer today?Speaker:
No, I'm happy to I'd like to offer this the prayer to be a blessing from the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans. May the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace in the leaving so that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.Speaker:
Amen. It's been a pleasure to have with us on the to be encouraged podcast today. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer. And of course, this is Bishop Julius he trembles Podcast. I'm Reverend Dr. Brad Miller, pleasure to have you with us on the podcast, which have offers an encouraging word to a discouraged world.