Andy Miller III
Cover Image for Reconstructing Methodism with Matt O'Reilly

Reconstructing Methodism with Matt O'Reilly

March 29, 2024

As new forms of Methodism emerge it is necessarily being reconstructed. Rev. Dr. Matt O’Reilly is leading a conference to help give substance to that renewal called Reconstructing Methodism. This conference seeks to answer several important questions like: What will be the role of bishops? What are the theological foundations of starting a new denomination? What convictions undergird our global mission? How will we recover robust discipleship in local churches? How do we understand ordination and different orders of clergy? How will we recover Methodism’s missional heart? What is our doctrine of scripture? How will we cultivate compelling preaching? Find out more about this conference here -

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Welcome to the more to story. Podcast I'm so glad that you have come along, and if you've been listening for the last year or so, or maybe even 2 years, you know that Methodism, on the whole, is in a state of transition, and as there have been aspects of it that have maybe been deconstructed, it's time for us to start to think about it in a way where we think about the reconstruction of Methodism. And there's a great conference happening

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Andy Miller III: in the in April, April 20 sixth and 20 Seventh in Birmingham, Alabama that I want you to know about. And I'm gonna tell you more about it in just a second, as we think about some of the basis of that conference in just a second. But I want you to know this. Podcast is brought to you by Wesley Biblical Seminary, where we are developing trusted leaders for faithful churches. We do that through bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs we have a lay initiative called the Wesley Institute. We'd love for you to find out more about this. And also we have a course of study.

00:07:57.730 --> 00:08:03.830
Andy Miller III: 4 pastors in the global Methodist church just in the last year. We've added 300

00:08:03.830 --> 00:08:28.000
Andy Miller III: Gmc. Pastors to this program, and it's really exciting time for us at Wesley Biblical Seminary, with our highest enrollment in our history. More than 500 for credit students here at this point. And I think it's reflective of the conversation we're gonna have here in just a minute. Also, I'm thankful to Wpo development. They're a group who come alongside of churches and nonprofits schools and help them think about their future in it.

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Andy Miller III: Those who are in this stage of Methodism where they're trying to think about. Well, who are we? Maybe there's some people who are just trying to figure out what it means to be an entity in general, like, how are we gonna have a future? Are we gonna build a new building? If you're gonna do that you probably need somebody who's done that in the past. And Wpo. Po. Development has helped lead more than 250 capital campaigns all around the country.

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Andy Miller III: They've done this for many churches, and I think they might be the type of group that could benefit you in this time. So you can find a link to them

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Andy Miller III: in the show notes.

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Andy Miller III: For this podcast also, I'd love for people to subscribe or like this, podcast particularly on Youtube, that's a helpful thing if you could hit that subscribe button. Go to Andy Miller, the That's Andy Miller. If you sign up for my email list. I'll send you a free tool called 5 Steps to deeper teaching and preaching. I have a couple of small group courses that are available for people there. So love for you to check all that stuff out.

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Andy Miller III: Andy Miller, the third com, all right. I am so glad to welcome in the Podcast my friend.

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Andy Miller III: Reverend Dr. Matt O'reilly, who is a senior pastor at Christ Church, Birmingham, A. Gmc. Congregation, and he is the director of research here at Wesley Biblical Seminary. In addition to teaching classes and theology and New Testament and preaching, Matt welcome back to the Podcast.

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Matt O'Reilly: Hey, Andy? Thanks for having me on. It's always fun to be a part of more to the story.

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Andy Miller III: Yeah, we well, we enjoy having you and like. And even before you and I met, I had seen the work that you're doing online. And I've always appreciated your approach. And I felt like we were doing similar things. So that might be a a good like lead into some of the things that you've done through like you. You haven't had a sense in your calling like you're been serving as a senior pastor, but yet, at the same time you have a Phd. In New Testament.

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Andy Miller III: and you see yourself within this tradit. This kind of emphasis as being a pastor theologian. Tell us a little bit about what that is, and maybe even some of the resources that you've developed like the theology project and those type of things.

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Matt O'Reilly: Yeah, absolutely happy to do it. So I'll start this way. When I first began feeling a sense of vocational calling to pastoral ministry. I was in college freshman at Aver University, and I remember thinking I wanna be a pastor. But I felt like there was going to be something distinct about that. That maybe wasn't quite

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Matt O'Reilly: typical, you know, a pastor, but a different sort of pastor, and that's no reflection on any pastors of mine or colleagues. I was at a church with amazing pastors, and my my pastor from from childhood is like a dad to me to this day.

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Andy Miller III: Wow! Awesome.

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Matt O'Reilly: They're really grateful for for them, for him. But in many ways I I just had this sense that the Lord

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Matt O'Reilly: had some additional. You know that my ministry would have a particular accent to it?

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Matt O'Reilly: And so went to seminary.

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Matt O'Reilly: pursued my studies, and began to realize kind of what? What what space there is to do, doctoral studies, and what that might involve

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Matt O'Reilly: but I always had the sense that I was supposed to be in the local church. And so I enrolled in a Phd. Program

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Matt O'Reilly: and stayed in pastoral ministry while I was doing that.

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Matt O'Reilly: And and along the way began to kind of just

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Matt O'Reilly: develop the sense that we need

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Matt O'Reilly: pastors who've done

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Matt O'Reilly: advanced or significant theological work. We need folks in the church. So a lot of times. What happens is you know bright pastoral candidates will go to seminary, and a professor will say, You know you're pretty smart. You should do a Ph. D.

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Andy Miller III: Right.

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Matt O'Reilly: I'd like to see us, and some of my colleagues say this as well like to say, You know, Pretty, you're pretty smart. You should do a Phd. And then go pastor a church instead of instead of stepping away from the local church?

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Matt O'Reilly: And so so the idea is, can we have

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Matt O'Reilly: pastors, people in pastoral leadership, associate pastors lead pastors doing serious theological leadership from the context of the local church.

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Matt O'Reilly: And that's not to. That's not to

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Matt O'Reilly: say the Academy has no place. It certainly does. You and I are both deeply involved in the life of the Academy, and and but but I see that as a complimentary relationship, so so there are some tasks that academic theologians are suited for, and there are other tasks that Pastor theologians are suited for, and the questions we ask aren't always the same questions. You know. There there are questions, important questions that a that a theologian in an academic setting is going to consider that may not

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Matt O'Reilly: have the concerns of the church at the front. It's not irrelevant, but it may not have concerns of the church at the front.

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Matt O'Reilly: A pastor theologian is going to be saying, you know, let's keep the concerns of the church at the front like my working agenda, as far as teaching and writing, if it goes, is really aimed at at the concerns of the local church.

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Matt O'Reilly: Well, and so over time I I gotta. I became a part of the center for pastor theologians. Which is I encourage listeners. If they're interested in this as a vocation to check out pastor, theologian, pastor, theologianscom.

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Matt O'Reilly: And there's a lot of great resources there. And I'll say this, the center has done great work.

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Matt O'Reilly: Because 1015 years ago the concept of pastor theologian wasn't prominent in American Evangelicalism. I think it really is now it's become

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Matt O'Reilly: a a term that people are familiar with.

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Matt O'Reilly: And so so the center for pasture theologians is largely, I think, responsible for that. We've developed a lot of partnerships with various institutions to help seminary students begin to to say, Hey, you know, here's this vocation that people weren't really thinking about 10 or 15 years ago, and you're not alone. And there are pathways. And here's what that.

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Andy Miller III: Yeah, yeah.

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Matt O'Reilly: So that's exciting for me, and I'll say this to clarify, and then you can. You.

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Andy Miller III: Yeah, yeah.

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Matt O'Reilly: Conversation. A pastor theologian is not someone who steps into the pulpit and uses a lot of technical jargon to, you know, it's not a. It's not a sermon as seminary lecture. It's it's about

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Matt O'Reilly: thoughtful.

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Matt O'Reilly: rigorous.

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Matt O'Reilly: theological leadership. I use the language of theological shepherding quite often. So what does it look like for for the, for pastors to offer theological shepherding

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Matt O'Reilly: to their local church, and perhaps some of us to the broader Church.

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Andy Miller III: Yeah, I love this, and I'll love for you even think about the difference with what a d men which you, you direct. Our demon process at Wesley Biblical Seminary. What the Demon has traditionally done. So I'm not talking about the Wbs d men necessarily, and the difference is like ha a Phd. In. In my own experience. Now I I had a demon. I'm finishing a Phd. This year.

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Andy Miller III: when I I had the great privilege of working with Billy Abraham in my demon, and I I love that experience. And and it may it helped me be what you're talking about, a public theologian in my my various appointments as a savage, stormy officer. But what I think maybe the demon for me missed

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Andy Miller III: was the engagement in the Academy. Like I. While I was studying, I did, and while I was writing for a demon, I did. But at the same time I didn't have. I didn't get as much access. I had a couple of peer reviewed articles published that was like, totally independent.

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Andy Miller III: but

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Andy Miller III: it wasn't even a part of that process. The the role of the theologian, though, is to have more engagement, maybe, than a typical

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Andy Miller III: demon process does. This isn't just kind of like stamping on. Give you a chance of being called doctorate, but it's be being called doctor. But instead, it's this process of being a certain type of person for your church and for the Academy in in like in the life, a life of your community, right.

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Matt O'Reilly: Yeah, that's right. So just the difference between a Phd in a doctor of ministry. Phd is a research degree that aim that you know, you have to make an original contribution to knowledge. In whatever field you're working in, that doesn't have to be a huge contribution. But you have to move the conversation a little bit right.

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Matt O'Reilly: A doctor of ministry is aimed at questions related to the practice of ministry. You're not. You're not asked to make an original research contribution in in the same level as the Phd. Also, a lot of times. The language requirements are are quite different.

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Matt O'Reilly: And so. But the the question is for the doctor. Ministry is someone doing specific work, more advanced work in relation to a very specific issue, a problem, or or some issue in in the quite in the practice of ministry, and what we've done at Wesley in the last couple of years with our doctor ministry is is to sort of invite our students to say.

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Matt O'Reilly: what would it look like, whatever that you know, if there's a problem with the practice a minute with the practice of ministry or pastors are running into this problem or that challenge.

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Matt O'Reilly: What does it look like to think about that theologically? And we address matters of practice with a view to theological shepherding. It's challenging. It's been. It's been a the sort of thing that we we've wrestled with and had to ask serious questions. But it's been really fun for me to watch students kind of think through.

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Matt O'Reilly: You know, what what are we running into, you know, like, in terms of our missiology. Here's some practical things that missionaries do. But but you know, are there theological aspects that maybe, aren't it

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Matt O'Reilly: as emphasized as they should be? Right.

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Andy Miller III: Yeah, yeah.

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Matt O'Reilly: You know, Secularism is rising, and we've got students looking at what kind of theology of discipleship do we need if we're gonna push back against the influence of Secularism right.

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Andy Miller III: Right.

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Matt O'Reilly: So just really interesting things and great questions. And it's fun for me to watch our students kinda lean into the theological leadership as opposed to a lot of a lot of Dr. Ministry programs for a long time leaned into kind of social scientific case studies and things like that, and those have a place. And even students do that kind of work. They're thinking about the theological foundations and and and questions related to theology.

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Matt O'Reilly: But I think, I think. And you're you're seeing a shift right now with with different seminaries who are kind of leaning into more theologically oriented doctor administry programs.

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Andy Miller III: Right. I think that's what people people are wanting to go deeper in some of these questions, and I think churches are looking for this, too, the and it's interesting. If you are a person who has, like some

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Andy Miller III: academic interest

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Andy Miller III: I think there. And and also you're an orthodox person. The Wesleyan tradition. You wanna serve as a pastor. There are a lot of jobs right now available, and you and I have talked about this. We and Wbs, if you go to our employment page, I I don't know if daily but weekly we're updating with churches all around the country in world, but particularly around the country

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Andy Miller III: that have great positions that are available. But I also, regularly, as that academic dean have people contacting me who want to teach full time. And here's the the the hard part about that is, there are not th. Those jobs are not plentiful.

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Matt O'Reilly: Provider.

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Andy Miller III: Like, you know, we have a posting. We are gonna have dozens and dozens, even at a school that emphasizes inerrancy and the reality like the promise of the sanctified life like that. These are really clear distinctives about Wbs. We have dozens of applications of qualified people who want these jobs. It's really hard to get an academic post, but you know what I do need is. And, Matt O'reilly, you're a great example of this, like.

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Andy Miller III: you know I I need Matt to come along and and help teach adjunct. And meanwhile he has a probably a job that would support him financially better at a church and can accentuate his finances, but also service a scholar and and be able to help along the way. I mean, that's part of the role, too, of what the center for pastor theologians is thinking of, too, is having people who are prepared to do this other work as well right.

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Matt O'Reilly: Yeah, that's right. And there's, there's a some of the literature that the Cpt is is produced, especially in the early days, highlighted, that American Christianity, American Evangelicalism.

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Matt O'Reilly: you know, is is sometimes characterized by something of a theological anemia. You got Martin ol stuff. The scandal of the Evangelical Mind scandal. As there was no evangelical mind right.

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Andy Miller III: Right, right.

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Matt O'Reilly: But 2030, 40 years ago that kind of stuff was in the air, and and and so we sort of said, Well, let the academics. Let the seminary professors do the intellectual thing, and let the pastors be the practitioners, and and the problem with that is, pastors have have not

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Matt O'Reilly: pastors don't normally see their work as

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Matt O'Reilly: as a matter of theological identity or theological vocation.

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Matt O'Reilly: and and that means that the Church is not being fed

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Matt O'Reilly: theologically.

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Andy Miller III: Yes.

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Matt O'Reilly: A healthy theological diet. And again, that doesn't mean here's 5 technical terms that you have to learn. It means that we do serious, deep engagement with Scripture, and we we draw that into the life of the Church and God's. You know the questions are.

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Matt O'Reilly: you know, what is God made known about himself. What is he made known about his purposes, for his people, and his purposes, for the world and his people in the world, and those are. Those are serious questions, and the answers to those questions are theological questions. And so the Cpt

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Matt O'Reilly: wants cinder for pastor theologians. We want pastors. Think of it as an identity project. This is what our new.

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Andy Miller III: Awesome.

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Matt O'Reilly: Our new President frequently frequently puts it this way.

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Matt O'Reilly: We want to form pastors to think of themselves as theologians for the complex, the complex world we live in.

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Andy Miller III: Amen. Yeah.

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Matt O'Reilly: Hard questions, challenging questions. People in the church come with difficult questions about hard issues right now, and our pastors.

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Matt O'Reilly: They don't have to be original research

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Matt O'Reilly: theologians.

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Matt O'Reilly: But you've got to be able to make

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Matt O'Reilly: accessible.

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Matt O'Reilly: thoughtful.

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Matt O'Reilly: theological.

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Matt O'Reilly: articulated statements

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Matt O'Reilly: to answer the questions that people have about who is God, and what does he want for my life? And what am I supposed to do in this world? So so? That's not just a pastor taking what they learned in seminary and translating it is doing a synthetic theological task, and offering that to the Church.

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Andy Miller III: Right. Yeah, it's it's not just saying, Hey, Matt O'reilly and Andy Miller, when I was in Seminary, had me read this book so you should read this book, too. It it's it's this processing of that information and bringing it to the the community. Now I you know Kevin Van Hooser has been a big part of center for pastor theologian, and now, before I had ever heard of it.

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Andy Miller III: his book, on being a public theologian was incredibly helpful to me in thinking about my role in in the savish army. When I for 15 years sort of the savage army officer that was that helped me think about. Oh, well, this is what it means to go before a zoning board. This is what it means to interact with the local homeless coalition. This is what it means to preach a sermon. So that tied together nicely. And I like how, and this transitions us to think about this conference, which is a title. This Podcast took me a while to get there. But,

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Andy Miller III: you you. This calling is a part of you in the church that you've just come to this church in the last year or so.

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Andy Miller III: part of the ministry of that church. Is

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Andy Miller III: you functioning as a pastor theologian, and then putting on a conference that's serving the wider church. So this is this about the reconstructing Methodism. I just encourage people. There's a link in the show notes reconstructing This important like you as a pastor theologian, are speaking into life of the Church by hosting this conference at this time. So let's talk about this. Well, before we get there. How does this conference fit into this calling that you have.

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Matt O'Reilly: Yeah. Good question. So several years ago,

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Matt O'Reilly: after I've been in the the fellow of the Cpt for for several years.

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Matt O'Reilly: I I started thinking, how can the local church

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Matt O'Reilly: like so think about this way? When I first got in the Cpt it was well, maybe I'll take some time on my day off to work on that journal article, or or like pastor theologian, was almost like a side hustle or something like like that. And so. So. My question then was, What does this look like for for it? To not just be something I do in my spare time.

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Matt O'Reilly: but but but for the Church as a local church to become

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Matt O'Reilly: a place, a venue, a community that offers theological leadership to the larger church.

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Andy Miller III: Hmm.

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Matt O'Reilly: So several years ago, in in previous appointments, we do small conferences, continuum education units for clergy in the area, things like that.

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Matt O'Reilly: And and we would invite

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Matt O'Reilly: folks to come in and do the teaching and and those sorts of things.

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Matt O'Reilly: and this this conference is kind of a next step, reconstructing Methodism where we're in it. We have a new denomination, the global Methodist church

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Matt O'Reilly: the higher, the the hierarchy, the the transitional Leadership Council. They're working so hard to get general conference off the ground to do the poly thing.

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Andy Miller III: Huge.

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Matt O'Reilly: And the question. And so there's not a lot of extra time. But there are questions that need to be raised. Theological questions, right? So we gotta decide how we're gonna like bishops. That's a polity question. But we have to understand. We have to decide what bishops even are and what that office entails?

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Matt O'Reilly: And does it mean you oversee an itinerant system of folks and manage kind of conference offices like a branch manager of a of a corporation or something? Or does it mean you are a a guardian of the faith, and a teacher and a shepherd of the Church? Right? So those are. Those are kind of different visions of the bishop, the role of bishop. And and we need to ask that question like theologically, What's a bishop? And what does church said about this? And how does Scripture guide our thinking about it?

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Matt O'Reilly: Ordination is different. Right? We shifted instead of deacon and Elder being kind of 2 different

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Matt O'Reilly: ordination tracks.

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Matt O'Reilly: Now, Deacon, can be a per. You can be a permanent deacon, or you can be a transitional deacon, which is a throwback to the Anglican Church. John Wesley was formed in

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Matt O'Reilly: into this day. I think so. So. But what's happening there? What's our theology of ordination? What what does that look like? Andrew Thompson is a pastor theologian. Also he's done theological leadership. He's lead leading a church

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Matt O'Reilly: he's ordained in the Gmc. And he's gonna be at the conference to talk to us about our theology of ordination? What's our theology of global missions like we can talk about missions, partnerships and strategies and things like that. That's important.

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Matt O'Reilly: But what's the what's the what are the theological foundations of actually engaging in global missions, anyway? And here's the piece. This is where the reconstructing comes in United Methodist Church, and I don't want to sit here and just sort of bash old.

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Matt O'Reilly: old relationships and things.

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Matt O'Reilly: But we didn't have

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Matt O'Reilly: strong theological foundations.

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Andy Miller III: Oh!

00:27:08.570 --> 00:27:11.149
Matt O'Reilly: In 1972 the United Methodist Church

00:27:11.210 --> 00:27:15.400
Matt O'Reilly: affirmed the value of theological pluralism. That's the language that was in the discipline.

00:27:15.400 --> 00:27:16.449
Andy Miller III: That's right. Oh.

00:27:16.450 --> 00:27:35.264
Matt O'Reilly: And so if you affirm the value of theological pluralism, you're saying, no theological claims have any sort of authoritative role. And so that means you don't have a theology of missions, and you don't have a theology of bishops, and you don't have a theology of clergy and laity and things like that, holiness.

00:27:35.800 --> 00:27:43.079
Matt O'Reilly: we worked to get that language out of the discipline. And we did. And we worked to to produce a document called our theological task.

00:27:43.270 --> 00:27:49.470
Matt O'Reilly: So those were attempts to reconstruct something. But we even to this day.

00:27:49.920 --> 00:27:50.730
Matt O'Reilly: you.

00:27:50.880 --> 00:27:53.189
Matt O'Reilly: you have to sleep in the bed. You make right.

00:27:53.420 --> 00:27:53.859
Andy Miller III: Yes. Yeah.

00:27:54.248 --> 00:27:57.750
Matt O'Reilly: And and the United Methodist Church as an institution

00:27:57.770 --> 00:28:01.379
Matt O'Reilly: was built on theological sand. At best.

00:28:01.380 --> 00:28:02.560
Andy Miller III: Yes, yes.

00:28:02.560 --> 00:28:03.366
Matt O'Reilly: And so.

00:28:03.770 --> 00:28:09.069
Andy Miller III: Let me just clarify, Matt. Just jump in because you're not saying that Methodism

00:28:09.777 --> 00:28:37.290
Andy Miller III: was was built on theological sand. But this is the evolution of the the Methodist Church becoming the Methodist Episcopal Church method is Episcopal Church, South north, then eventually back to the Methodist Church. Then we get to a place where, combining with the Evangelical United Brethren, become in 1,968, the United Methodist Church. It's like it's that expression that you're saying, was built on sand.

00:28:37.290 --> 00:28:37.830
Matt O'Reilly: That's right.

00:28:38.100 --> 00:28:39.690
Andy Miller III: Lack of theological foundation.

00:28:39.690 --> 00:28:47.060
Matt O'Reilly: So the Umc bill formed in 1,968. And then, with this this pluralism language was published in 1972,

00:28:47.120 --> 00:28:52.249
Matt O'Reilly: I would say the Methodist tradition has strong theological foundations.

00:28:52.250 --> 00:28:52.690
Andy Miller III: Right, right.

00:28:52.910 --> 00:29:07.973
Matt O'Reilly: At some point the Me. The Methodist tradition, got tied up with American theological Liberalism, Protestant Liberalism, and and the shift was away from the out theological claims to more like we need to do theology and social related ministries.

00:29:08.350 --> 00:29:09.070
Andy Miller III: Right.

00:29:09.070 --> 00:29:12.679
Matt O'Reilly: Protestant Liberalism leaned away from theology into social ministries.

00:29:13.180 --> 00:29:15.819
Matt O'Reilly: And so theology kind of got a bad name

00:29:15.830 --> 00:29:19.289
Matt O'Reilly: theology divides. We can be, we can be.

00:29:19.720 --> 00:29:22.980
Matt O'Reilly: we can work together and ministry to the poor. So we shifted away

00:29:23.100 --> 00:29:27.729
Matt O'Reilly: from from strong theological claims. But but Wesley was a pastor, theologian, right.

00:29:27.730 --> 00:29:28.860
Andy Miller III: And Amen, yeah, yeah.

00:29:28.860 --> 00:29:33.939
Matt O'Reilly: And and his theological influence is worldwide. 300 years after his life.

00:29:34.040 --> 00:29:47.620
Matt O'Reilly: Right? So so. Wesley was an an imminently trained Oxford trained theological mind. He produced tons and tons voluminous pages. He never wrote a systematic theology.

00:29:47.650 --> 00:30:05.640
Matt O'Reilly: but he, instead of making the the the Academy the center of his theological leadership. He made the parish and the ministry the center of his theological leadership, and he offered theological leadership to the poor and to people at all in all walks of life, at every level of

00:30:06.440 --> 00:30:11.610
Matt O'Reilly: of society. That's what a pastor theologian does. He's he's well trained, but.

00:30:11.610 --> 00:30:12.539
Andy Miller III: She or she just don't.

00:30:12.998 --> 00:30:21.709
Matt O'Reilly: Right, right. He or she is well trained, but is deeply, deeply, deeply committed to making the ministry context

00:30:22.255 --> 00:30:26.710
Matt O'Reilly: the place where the theological leadership happens. Theological shepherding.

00:30:26.850 --> 00:30:30.149
Matt O'Reilly: So reconstructing Methodism is about saying, Hey.

00:30:30.330 --> 00:30:34.440
Matt O'Reilly: the last generation of our denominational life

00:30:34.660 --> 00:30:36.020
Matt O'Reilly: was really

00:30:36.410 --> 00:30:38.020
Matt O'Reilly: did not have

00:30:38.160 --> 00:30:40.729
Matt O'Reilly: a strong theological foundations.

00:30:41.120 --> 00:30:50.579
Matt O'Reilly: We can't just assume we're all in the same place. Theologically. Generally, we're we're orthodox. We're we're there. But we have some questions to answer. What do we believe about

00:30:51.000 --> 00:30:55.606
Matt O'Reilly: what do we believe about holiness? What is our theology of preaching?

00:30:57.080 --> 00:31:02.599
Matt O'Reilly: all those kinds of things? And so so reconstructing Methodism is an initial opportunity.

00:31:02.780 --> 00:31:04.915
Matt O'Reilly: We're not gonna solve all the issues.

00:31:05.220 --> 00:31:13.070
Andy Miller III: It's not an official group, either, like you're not coming in saying you've not been commissioned, even though you'd be a great person to be commissioned to do this task.

00:31:13.070 --> 00:31:13.910
Matt O'Reilly: But you.

00:31:13.910 --> 00:31:17.819
Andy Miller III: Not commissioned by the Gmc. Hey, Matt, go, solve these problems for us, and.

00:31:17.820 --> 00:31:18.810
Matt O'Reilly: Right, right.

00:31:18.810 --> 00:31:20.601
Andy Miller III: You're you're trying to just

00:31:21.500 --> 00:31:38.060
Andy Miller III: these things matter to your local church. They matter to Christ Church, Birmingham, and you're trying to be put. Put put your church as a in the assets that you have, and to be able to put on this sort of conference so that we can just begin to have these conversations.

00:31:38.450 --> 00:31:45.029
Matt O'Reilly: Right. That's right. And if somebody's asking, you know, where does? Where does somebody like Matt O'reilly get off trying to think they can? They can, they can

00:31:45.120 --> 00:31:54.609
Matt O'Reilly: have a conference and lead the Church in these questions. I think it's important to recognize. This is a theological matter in our tradition ordination.

00:31:54.850 --> 00:32:07.179
Matt O'Reilly: It involves the responsibility to order the life of the Church in terms of its worship in terms of its theology. And so we need the Church's elders, deacons, and elders to offer that ordered leadership.

00:32:07.476 --> 00:32:30.930
Matt O'Reilly: This is one of the reasons. When I first got the audio for the conference, the first person I got on the program was Bishop Scott Jones, because I thought you know my thought was, if if one of our bishops is present and offering leadership, then it doesn't have to be a Gmc. Official thing. But there's a recognition there that the theological shepherds of the Church, whether it's bishops or elders or deacons, whoever it may be.

00:32:31.340 --> 00:32:32.250
Matt O'Reilly: Are.

00:32:32.380 --> 00:32:34.260
Matt O'Reilly: are collaborating.

00:32:34.897 --> 00:32:46.490
Matt O'Reilly: Maybe it's a grass roots effort. But that's okay. In a new denomination where we don't have a ton of resources, and the people in official positions are absolutely overworked trying to get the the polity off the ground.

00:32:47.122 --> 00:32:52.789
Matt O'Reilly: And so we need, we need leading pastors leading academic theologians.

00:32:52.950 --> 00:32:59.381
Matt O'Reilly: our bishops to come and to help us think through these issues. So for me,

00:33:00.310 --> 00:33:02.090
Matt O'Reilly: it's not a matter of

00:33:02.360 --> 00:33:05.940
Matt O'Reilly: yeah. Who who authorized us to do it? It's a matter of

00:33:06.170 --> 00:33:11.519
Matt O'Reilly: is there a need? And is it the responsibility of the Church as pastors and bishops

00:33:11.530 --> 00:33:35.640
Matt O'Reilly: to speak into that need. And I, the need is very much there. And I'm excited. You know, anytime you have a conference. People are. Gonna ask, well, why are they doing it that way? And why does it cost this? And why is that person on the program? But at the end of the day I think there's general excitement. I've talked to a lot of folks who are who are just can't wait to get to Birmingham in April. I think I think it's gonna be a lot of fun. And I'm I'm excited about it.

00:33:35.640 --> 00:33:48.740
Andy Miller III: Well, and this is the way it should happen, Matt, and like it honestly, okay, in in being a part of the the for 15 years of the Establishment army. I'm a Gmc. Elder now, but as as like we've seen things happen. The

00:33:48.800 --> 00:33:56.249
Andy Miller III: savish army took on the autocratic tendencies of Wesley. It took it to a whole new level. And so

00:33:56.670 --> 00:34:21.330
Andy Miller III: and we have enough in in in that tradition. There's a lot of top down conferences and emphases and actually are really good because they they put a lot of resources toward them. And that could happen. And I, I, from what I hear that was a part of the Umc as well is that there was these top down, directed events that we're trying to communicate key agenda points which

00:34:21.370 --> 00:34:23.170
Andy Miller III: sometimes we're good and sometimes weren't.

00:34:23.540 --> 00:34:38.050
Andy Miller III: But what you're doing. This is a local church saying theology matters, I mean, would you just brag on Christchurch a little bit and its role. And this and I say that because I know just you and I have talked about this. This is not

00:34:38.270 --> 00:34:52.210
Andy Miller III: Matt just Matt O'reilly's emphasis. Now they they they brought you on like they they believe in you. So I'd like that. That's a part of it. And they believe in your leadership. But there's something about Christ Church that's distinct and wanting to have this role right?

00:34:52.219 --> 00:35:06.029
Matt O'Reilly: That's right, that's right. So I'll I'll start it this way. Paul Lawler, was, was my predecessor here. He served for 15 years. He set me up beautifully, cause this is a lovely church in so many, so many ways. He's gone to Christchurch, Memphis, and then.

00:35:06.099 --> 00:35:08.919
Matt O'Reilly: you know, one of the, he said to me.

00:35:09.329 --> 00:35:21.719
Matt O'Reilly: after I think, after I'd accepted the position here, he said, you know Christchurch, Birmingham is a place a pastor. Theologian can thrive. That was that was what he said to me. And and and I think it's in

00:35:22.419 --> 00:35:45.809
Matt O'Reilly: just the identity of the Church that thoughtful Christianity matters. We have a lot of folks who are are deeply interested in education. We've got university faculty who attend church here. We've got other folks who've done advanced degrees. We've got folks who care about scholarship foundations and folks who start schools and folks who who are doing

00:35:48.039 --> 00:35:52.529
Matt O'Reilly: important, intellectually important intellectual leadership in their field, yeah.

00:35:52.530 --> 00:35:53.200
Andy Miller III: Church.

00:35:53.200 --> 00:36:18.469
Matt O'Reilly: So it's it's natural for that group to come together in the context of church and say, Yeah, there are. There's intellectual leadership that needs to happen here. We need to love the Lord our God with all our mind, as Christ commanded us to do. And so Christ Church is is just a really fitting place for that. I was chatting with my President pro Tim Alan Beazley back when we first announced the conference last fall, and he said. You know we need a teaching church. We need a place.

00:36:18.470 --> 00:36:19.440
Andy Miller III: Man. Yeah.

00:36:19.719 --> 00:36:44.859
Matt O'Reilly: Churches that can do the continuing Ed and can host conferences, and that can be available for us to be resources on these kinds of questions where we need some we need, we need space to learn and think through. He's like different. Some churches are, gonna be better at soup, kitchen ministries, or Co. Closet ministries, or or different different churches, have different identities, he said. Christ Church is perfect to be the teaching Church just because of where it is, and the kind of people that go there.

00:36:44.880 --> 00:36:45.910
Matt O'Reilly: And so

00:36:46.340 --> 00:36:58.309
Matt O'Reilly: so I feel a a sense of God's providence that he has. He's led me to this place and that's one of the things that makes it a good fit. Is. The things I care about are also things that our church leadership and laity care about.

00:36:58.610 --> 00:37:11.456
Andy Miller III: Yeah, I imagine you're not good. It's not not like a business in itself, like a a catalyst conference. It's gonna make make their you know, support their budget with this. I mean, I imagine you guys aren't planning to make money

00:37:12.310 --> 00:37:13.751
Matt O'Reilly: I think we'll break even

00:37:14.404 --> 00:37:14.769
Andy Miller III: Hey!

00:37:14.770 --> 00:37:26.725
Matt O'Reilly: If we make anything it won't be much but yeah, we've tried to price it excessively. I mean, if you look at similar conferences they cost. It costs way more a 2 day conference, you know. If you're gonna go

00:37:27.060 --> 00:37:55.540
Matt O'Reilly: you know. Sometimes ticket prices are $230 or something like that. 250 bucks for a couple of days we were. We've tried really hard to market this and to make it accessible. So you like, you can get here for a hundred dollar. In fact, ticket prices right now are $119. But if you go to reconstructing, and you click on register. It'll take you to eventbrite, and you can punch in more to the story as a coupon code and get $20 off. So get under.

00:37:55.540 --> 00:37:58.209
Andy Miller III: It is more to the story inside track.

00:37:58.597 --> 00:37:59.759
Matt O'Reilly: So, if you.

00:37:59.760 --> 00:38:01.429
Andy Miller III: Is all one word, or what.

00:38:01.430 --> 00:38:06.595
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah, yeah, just board of the story. No spaces. Type it in there. You can put that in the show notes or.

00:38:06.820 --> 00:38:07.240
Andy Miller III: A.

00:38:07.240 --> 00:38:29.759
Matt O'Reilly: It on on the podcast and but yeah, we like, we don't want we out. We've gotta cover the call, or we need to cover as much of the cost as we can. I will say one of the leaders of the Church said to me when we were first kind of brainstorming. This, they said, this is something the Church needs the denomination needs, and if we have to go in the red, we need to be the Church to do it. So the sentiment amongst our leadership is

00:38:30.920 --> 00:38:32.579
Matt O'Reilly: it? It needs to happen.

00:38:32.670 --> 00:38:38.020
Matt O'Reilly: even if we lose money on it, because Christchurch wants to serve the global Methodist church.

00:38:38.800 --> 00:38:42.768
Matt O'Reilly: I I think we'll probably come close to breaking even. We'll see

00:38:43.570 --> 00:38:51.438
Matt O'Reilly: But at the end of the day it is not. It's we're not setting up a business model to get into the conference business. For one thing.

00:38:51.720 --> 00:38:53.140
Andy Miller III: Right? Yeah, but.

00:38:53.140 --> 00:38:54.110
Matt O'Reilly: This is so good.

00:38:54.693 --> 00:39:13.019
Andy Miller III: When when you think about like what what you're trying to do again, I love that. It comes from the local church. There's a local church. It's a part. I mean it. You see, you're you're part of the Gmc. You see yourself a part of this bigger entity, but yet it's a local church that is going to have an influence on the bigger structure and

00:39:13.040 --> 00:39:15.420
Andy Miller III: facilitating your own

00:39:15.530 --> 00:39:37.880
Andy Miller III: calling as a church within that system. So I just, I hope, like other churches, might begin to see that like we're the we're the church that has done this. We're the ones who have emphasizes this area. And and like you said, maybe it's a particular type of ministry. Maybe it's a helping to remind the Church about the the nature of serving in a particular region. Now, now, Matt, one thing I wanted to think about. Oh, you wanna jump in there.

00:39:37.880 --> 00:39:51.710
Matt O'Reilly: So let me say 2 things about that number one. This is this is a place where Christ Church as a church is offering theological leadership. And it's no small thing that the first major theological event

00:39:51.760 --> 00:39:53.919
Matt O'Reilly: is coming out of a local church.

00:39:53.920 --> 00:39:54.969
Andy Miller III: Amen! Amen!

00:39:54.970 --> 00:40:12.850
Matt O'Reilly: So that's that's a big deal. It's not. It's, you know. We're not having this conference at a seminary. It's not put together by a faculty. That's no denigration. But but it's a local church is taking theological leadership. And it's not just me. I couldn't do this if my staff and lay leadership weren't on board, it wouldn't work. And here's the other thing. You don't have to be a Mega church to do. This. Christ Church is not a Mega church.

00:40:12.850 --> 00:40:13.879
Andy Miller III: Okay. Good. Yeah.

00:40:14.050 --> 00:40:18.823
Matt O'Reilly: It's a it's a strong midsized church, and there's a lot of churches in Birmingham that have higher attendance than we do.

00:40:20.712 --> 00:40:31.310
Matt O'Reilly: But but, you can. You can do these kinds of things. The last church I was in was was smaller than this one, and we had similar events on a smaller scale, you know.

00:40:31.310 --> 00:40:32.679
Andy Miller III: Yeah, yeah, that's right.

00:40:32.680 --> 00:40:47.169
Matt O'Reilly: And we bring people in for a couple of days and let them preach in the evenings and do continuing Ed stuff for the annual conference clergy during the day, and maybe 50 people are there with John Oswalt or Bill Yuri, or somebody like that, talking about holiness or talking about our tradition.

00:40:47.507 --> 00:41:00.069
Matt O'Reilly: and and reflecting on that together, you don't have to do a huge con. And this isn't gonna be a huge conference. You know. We're looking, maybe a few 100. P. 300 people, 350 people, perhaps. It doesn't have to be

00:41:00.460 --> 00:41:30.290
Matt O'Reilly: massive thing with thousands of people showing up to be good, solid theological leadership from a local church. You can do a conference with 50 people one day one speaker for the pastors in your district, or your annual annual conference, the lay leaders, those kinds of things. So again, it it's not out of reach. And I would say churches considered similar kinds of like. Let's let's think about who God is, what He has for us, and what our mission is together. In that way.

00:41:30.568 --> 00:41:46.709
Andy Miller III: Wesley Biblical Seminary would be glad to come alongside you and resource you in that like. If if you're looking for people who can provide the type of leadership people who value the authority of Scripture and who are serving in this Methodist moment. Like. So that. And yeah, we we would be glad to do that.

00:41:46.710 --> 00:41:53.379
Matt O'Reilly: We need to see academic theologians like you and pastor theologians like me working together on these things. That's a crucial piece.

00:41:53.380 --> 00:42:12.940
Andy Miller III: And and we in in the Academy. And like I said, I just came out of a curriculum meeting, and we need to be thinking about the local church we have got, and we have to listen. And this is one of the concerns. It may. Okay, this is one of the things that can happen. Now, as as what happens with the emergence of the global Methodist church

00:42:12.990 --> 00:42:15.959
Andy Miller III: is, how well will we listen

00:42:16.290 --> 00:42:19.830
Andy Miller III: to what the what the Church says? It needs.

00:42:20.320 --> 00:42:35.689
Andy Miller III: And who is the authority, and in sometimes it's very easy for us to put ourselves in a position where the seminary faculty says, we know. We know what the church needs. And and and I, I do think seminary faculty and and scholars

00:42:35.820 --> 00:42:36.700
Andy Miller III: have

00:42:37.143 --> 00:42:42.990
Andy Miller III: access to some information that local churches need to hear, but it needs to be a dialectic.

00:42:42.990 --> 00:42:49.720
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah. And so that's the thing. Right? So for most of the time, if you get seminary faculty and pastors together in a room, it's a lecture.

00:42:50.330 --> 00:42:51.200
Andy Miller III: That's Friday.

00:42:51.200 --> 00:42:57.889
Matt O'Reilly: The pastors come to learn, and the faculty come to teach. And and again, I don't want to be overly critical there. Because.

00:42:58.120 --> 00:43:02.093
Matt O'Reilly: you know, academic theologians do serious, hard work

00:43:04.050 --> 00:43:05.620
Matt O'Reilly: to to.

00:43:05.790 --> 00:43:08.850
Matt O'Reilly: you know there's it's and there's a lot to learn.

00:43:09.933 --> 00:43:11.260
Matt O'Reilly: But pastors

00:43:11.270 --> 00:43:17.220
Matt O'Reilly: it and theolog pat and like seminary faculty, academic theologians, Patrick theologians. It needs to be a conversation.

00:43:17.220 --> 00:43:18.040
Andy Miller III: Nothing.

00:43:18.040 --> 00:43:25.920
Matt O'Reilly: There. There's it needs to be a 2 way street. And I wanna say this as well. At the Cpt, when we're talk, when we use the language of pastor theologian.

00:43:26.315 --> 00:43:46.759
Matt O'Reilly: It's not just pastors who get a Phd every pastor serves in some capacity as a local theologian, and ought to think of themselves that way. If you stand up on Sundays and make theological claims about God in your sermon, which is what a sermon is, you're doing a theological task, and you're embodying a theological vocation.

00:43:46.760 --> 00:43:47.240
Andy Miller III: Amen!

00:43:47.240 --> 00:43:51.800
Matt O'Reilly: So so you may not have. You don't need a book contract. You don't need a Phd.

00:43:51.810 --> 00:44:14.339
Matt O'Reilly: But you do need to be thoughtful. You need to engage in ongoing study and reflection. Read the right kinds of things, get together with some colleagues in town, read, you know, read some, read some some good theology together, so that you're developing your ability to to speak excessively and yet robustly. And then and so you are the theologian for your local church right?

00:44:14.340 --> 00:44:21.829
Andy Miller III: Yes, yeah, even if there's 0 degree, even if you don't have a high school diploma, which is some of the case in some of the course of study situations.

00:44:21.830 --> 00:44:36.440
Matt O'Reilly: That's right. So even if you don't have a degree, you're the theologian in your local church, and you you. It would be wise to spend some time in study and reflection on how you can. You can be a a good theological leader in your church

00:44:37.000 --> 00:44:58.860
Matt O'Reilly: alongside that there are some pastor, theologians who are going to do an advanced degree, who are going to write books or journal, articles or podcast or or whatever they do and and and have the opportunity to offer theological leadership beyond the local church. Right? So so there are different expressions of the vocation. But the fundamental identity.

00:44:59.240 --> 00:45:12.469
Matt O'Reilly: regardless of degree or spheres of influence, extent of influence, the fundamental identity that the pastor, the pastorate, is a theological vocation, no matter what. That's the crucial piece.

00:45:13.030 --> 00:45:27.099
Andy Miller III: Not. It's not a public policy position, it it is not a chief counselor position. Like all those things, public policy actually comes apart, and is something that you deal with. But this.

00:45:27.100 --> 00:45:29.659
Matt O'Reilly: And I deal with it as a devolution, as a private deal.

00:45:29.660 --> 00:45:33.469
Andy Miller III: A lot. It's primarily no matter if you are

00:45:33.580 --> 00:45:38.390
Andy Miller III: ordained by any group to function as a pastor.

00:45:38.770 --> 00:45:50.937
Andy Miller III: And and even if you're an administrator. There's a district superintendents, divisional commanders, and the like, that that is your to. Even if you're not serving a local congregation.

00:45:51.460 --> 00:45:52.689
Matt O'Reilly: Okay, yeah. Good. I was. Gonna say.

00:45:52.690 --> 00:45:56.889
Andy Miller III: I wanna move on. I wanna move on one with. But go ahead. I'll let you jump in there one more time.

00:45:57.080 --> 00:46:08.719
Matt O'Reilly: If, if, say, say, like some pastors, lean into counseling and get license to do that, or maybe somebody leans into student ministry or children's ministry. Or is in congregational care, ministry or Communications ministry.

00:46:08.820 --> 00:46:35.299
Matt O'Reilly: all of those still underla the foundation of what that they all share together is the theological right. We want our congregational care to draw people closer to God. We want our student ministry. We want our students to be able to articulate who God is in their context and His purposes for the world, counseling right? You're guiding people into healthier experiences of human flourishing in relation to God. So all that's theological. Even if you're looking at a certain specialized ministry.

00:46:35.440 --> 00:46:58.929
Andy Miller III: Yes, that's right. Okay, I'm gonna play a little bit of Dell, Dell's advocate. But, Matt, it's just to set you up. Okay. So you're trying to you. You've you've asked speakers to come in to think about various topics from the role of bishop, the role of ordination. How we think about theological education, how we think about missions. What we think about

00:46:59.442 --> 00:47:11.749
Andy Miller III: Scripture and and preaching, and the like. So these are questions that are somewhat UN or definitely unanswered for the Gmc. At this moment.

00:47:11.870 --> 00:47:20.319
Andy Miller III: Now, did you just choose, pastor people to come in to give the answers that you like, you know. That's that's my, that's my that's my hot take. Now, I'm.

00:47:20.320 --> 00:47:20.810
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah, yeah.

00:47:20.810 --> 00:47:36.620
Andy Miller III: Because I think I actually you and I probably have very similar answers on all these questions. But do you know what people are? Gonna say, I mean, what or is this just setting the ground row of the ground rules or the foundations for the conversation.

00:47:36.620 --> 00:47:57.389
Matt O'Reilly: I I don't know what they're all going to say. So the process was sort of. I kind of sat down at my desk one day and made a list. What are the what are the topics? What are the theological topics that we need to be thinking about? Holiness, preaching bishops, ordination, global essay, global missions. You know, multi ethnic ministry.

00:47:57.735 --> 00:48:10.469
Matt O'Reilly: How do we? How do we do? How do we cultivate those kind? What are the what is? What are the theological underpinnings of those kinds of things that we need to be thinking about? And then I started thinking, not who's gonna give the right answers. But who's gonna ask the right questions?

00:48:11.030 --> 00:48:11.560
Andy Miller III: Right.

00:48:11.840 --> 00:48:14.080
Matt O'Reilly: And I think again that that's a piece.

00:48:14.220 --> 00:48:28.409
Matt O'Reilly: One of the things in the Cpt we find is if you were to come and sit in on one of our fellowship meetings, you would find pastor theologians from Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran backgrounds. So we disagree on all kinds of stuff.

00:48:29.630 --> 00:48:30.470
Matt O'Reilly: but

00:48:30.580 --> 00:48:33.690
Matt O'Reilly: we can disagree and still be friends.

00:48:34.687 --> 00:48:40.109
Matt O'Reilly: We disagree charitably and and and at one level, you know, maybe you're training.

00:48:40.240 --> 00:48:56.600
Matt O'Reilly: prepares you for that, and and your love for the Church prepares you for that. But for me the goal isn't just to get the right answers out there. It's the process of thinking through the questions theological shepherding. Right? So we wanna I wanted people who would help the church

00:48:57.290 --> 00:49:01.620
Matt O'Reilly: get clear on the right questions. And then and then

00:49:01.650 --> 00:49:24.823
Matt O'Reilly: perhaps lay out some pathways, trajectories, maybe some proposals come out of this that we talk about ahead of General Conference in the fall. It wouldn't surprise me, you know. It wouldn't surprise me if Bill Arnold has some recommendations on how we should be thinking about theological education. You know he and I've had some conversations on that. That's an ongoing conversation, though we don't have. It's not like Matt and Bill got together, and it's like, here's the plan. And here's what we wanna.

00:49:25.270 --> 00:49:25.450
Andy Miller III: Yeah.

00:49:25.450 --> 00:49:33.178
Matt O'Reilly: A legislative agenda, you know. We both have similar visions at theological education. We think it's aimed at the same thing.

00:49:33.730 --> 00:49:50.059
Matt O'Reilly: and and and we want to invite the church to reflect on that together. And we want people to raise questions right? I got. I have strong views about a lot of things, but I'm entirely happy for colleagues like you or other pastors to say, Well, have you thought about this? And that's fine. But here's a problem that is gonna come up.

00:49:50.150 --> 00:49:59.740
Matt O'Reilly: That's okay. We can. We can ask those kinds of questions. We don't have to be right about all all of the things. I don't have all the answers, and we're not going to answer all the questions in 2 days

00:50:00.475 --> 00:50:04.862
Matt O'Reilly: but so I see this as an initial step of of. We have

00:50:05.370 --> 00:50:12.069
Matt O'Reilly: pastors and and some seminary faculty who are going to be able to come in and help us kind of think through

00:50:12.090 --> 00:50:15.546
Matt O'Reilly: some key issues as a starting point

00:50:16.140 --> 00:50:18.319
Matt O'Reilly: to help us to get off on the right foot.

00:50:18.320 --> 00:50:28.089
Andy Miller III: Let's just take one of them one of these topics, and so I wanna let you choose what you want to talk about. Multi ethic ministry or bishops.

00:50:28.170 --> 00:50:31.670
Andy Miller III: So what's what's what's a more controversial one, you know. We'll see.

00:50:32.290 --> 00:50:59.430
Andy Miller III: People are talking a lot about the bishops piece and and and should there, should we move more to a superintendent model, should we follow. I mean, there was a piece just in Christianity today, this past week that was Ry. Our friend Ryan anchor was emphasizing like, well, the the kind of proper Wesley and British model is to not have bishops in his view proper. I don't know if he used that word. But then, on the multi ethnic side. We have this interesting thing that's come about. The Gmc. Has established a

00:50:59.430 --> 00:51:11.190
Andy Miller III: a conference that's based upon identity like language and a Korean conference. So it's not geographically oriented.

00:51:11.558 --> 00:51:19.619
Andy Miller III: That is a huge decision they haven't made, so maybe we'll hit both. But I'm glad I'll welcome you to kind of give your thoughts on one of those 2.

00:51:19.620 --> 00:51:28.550
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah. Yeah. Well, on the Bishop side of, I've thought a lot about the bishops side of it. And I've thought a lot about multi ethnic ministry, too. But I think

00:51:30.869 --> 00:51:36.040
Matt O'Reilly: the thing for me is, I remember, in seminary and in my ordination papers.

00:51:36.180 --> 00:51:40.249
Matt O'Reilly: writing extensive justifications.

00:51:40.770 --> 00:51:45.079
Matt O'Reilly: for why we should have like. Why we why I'm committed to an Episcopal system.

00:51:46.620 --> 00:51:55.869
Matt O'Reilly: I think it's important to recognize that. Well and briefly. So you you have texts like the New Testament. The Church was hierarchically

00:51:57.290 --> 00:52:02.340
Matt O'Reilly: All functioned very much like a bishop. He was planning churches, and then he would send

00:52:02.712 --> 00:52:20.787
Matt O'Reilly: representatives or delegates to lead and offer leadership. You get the text, and Titus appoint elders in every town. That's not to say there's an itinerary, but it. And it's not to say that local church doesn't collaborate with that. So I don't wanna sort of just anachronistically put the appointment system onto Titus.

00:52:21.808 --> 00:52:25.579
Matt O'Reilly: But but it's clear that local churches didn't pick their leaders unilaterally. I think.

00:52:25.580 --> 00:52:26.459
Andy Miller III: Right. Right there we go.

00:52:26.460 --> 00:52:31.569
Matt O'Reilly: There's some sort of collaborative relationship between apostles or bishops.

00:52:32.176 --> 00:52:51.940
Matt O'Reilly: and churches on who? Who's gonna be a suitable leader? Paul certainly articulates qualifications for elders. So you know, the local church isn't articulating the qualification. So there's so there's it's not an autonomous local church model. It's not even a model. But but it's not. It's not a pattern of auto autonomy. And so

00:52:52.380 --> 00:52:58.209
Matt O'Reilly: we need to recognize at the same time, though, like the way the United Methodist Church did. Bishops was kind of an ecclesial innovation.

00:52:58.962 --> 00:53:04.973
Matt O'Reilly: It's it's not the historic Methodist way. It's not the historic Anglican way. It's not the historic catholic way.

00:53:05.290 --> 00:53:06.180
Andy Miller III: Bureaucratic.

00:53:06.450 --> 00:53:07.050
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah, it's.

00:53:07.050 --> 00:53:08.060
Andy Miller III: Corporate.

00:53:08.060 --> 00:53:14.250
Matt O'Reilly: Very American corporate Bureau bureaucracy and tying the Episcopacy to the itineracy.

00:53:14.617 --> 00:53:17.999
Matt O'Reilly: Was problematic because a lot of people think, well, if we

00:53:18.720 --> 00:53:39.750
Matt O'Reilly: if we're not gonna have the itinerary, we don't need bishops, because that's all they do, anyway, as a point pastors, right? And so we're in a place where we need to sort of invite people to say, No, no, no! Our bishops are the teachers of the Church. Our bishops are theological shepherds of the church. They are pastors to pastors. We need bishops who are deep thinkers.

00:53:39.810 --> 00:53:43.329
Matt O'Reilly: who love the Lord with their whole mind and heart.

00:53:43.420 --> 00:53:59.530
Matt O'Reilly: Who can help us think theologically about. The questions before us. Who can offer us theology? Our our pastors, our bishop, should be the chief pastor, theologians of the denomination. And and my and one of my worries is

00:53:59.970 --> 00:54:00.925
Matt O'Reilly: that

00:54:02.520 --> 00:54:03.430
Matt O'Reilly: you know.

00:54:03.700 --> 00:54:05.170
Matt O'Reilly: in the Umc

00:54:05.210 --> 00:54:06.810
Matt O'Reilly: getting elected bishop.

00:54:06.910 --> 00:54:09.740
Matt O'Reilly: involve some commitment to the institution

00:54:09.780 --> 00:54:17.498
Matt O'Reilly: and sort of courting both sides of both both factions, progressive institutionalists and Evangelicals.

00:54:18.390 --> 00:54:31.700
Matt O'Reilly: so you kinda had to like not come down hard on specific things and to get the votes to get to get elected, and I don't want. I don't want our bishops. I don't want it to be a popularity contest, you know. Want it to be.

00:54:31.820 --> 00:54:37.460
Matt O'Reilly: You know I wanted to be the sort of thing where, hey? Here's somebody who has been a faithful teacher

00:54:37.470 --> 00:54:38.910
Matt O'Reilly: for years.

00:54:38.920 --> 00:54:44.609
Matt O'Reilly: Who can? Who can whose voice would be a real benefit to the larger church.

00:54:45.207 --> 00:54:52.039
Matt O'Reilly: And let's set them aside and give them some space to to offer us

00:54:52.180 --> 00:54:54.090
Matt O'Reilly: theological leadership

00:54:54.260 --> 00:55:15.739
Matt O'Reilly: broadly, globally. Even. So you know I I'd love to see our bishops be like ancient bishops where you know Athanasius August, you know, bishops who are writing who are producing resources for pastors and churches. You know our bishops should be writing this our stuff, our theology. They should be producing.

00:55:15.750 --> 00:55:22.829
Matt O'Reilly: like pamphlets for churches to use to give people on the meaning of baptism. Right? That's the kind of stuff a bishop should be doing.

00:55:22.830 --> 00:55:34.809
Andy Miller III: What? What about the role of discipline? Matt? I mean, that's one of the key things, too, like in in that's where it gets to be problematic. When you have a large denomination, it's gonna have 4 5,000 churches. The role of discipline.

00:55:35.100 --> 00:55:37.134
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah. And I think so, I think you can.

00:55:37.390 --> 00:55:42.510
Matt O'Reilly: I mean the bishops, if if we're probably gonna have far fewer bishops in the global Methodist church.

00:55:43.136 --> 00:55:48.400
Matt O'Reilly: And you mean disciplining bishops or bishops involved in the discipline of clergy who.

00:55:49.193 --> 00:56:01.909
Andy Miller III: Bishops who are like kind of like the buck stops here sort of perspective like that. They're willing to say, No, that's gone too far. You're not willing to even entertain the idea

00:56:01.920 --> 00:56:07.889
Andy Miller III: of a female minister. Now you you have. You have to be open to this or there's a moral failure.

00:56:08.010 --> 00:56:17.387
Andy Miller III: and somebody comes in, says, Look, if you're going to be a part of the Gmc. That this church of the Gmc. Church, this pastors with this moral failure can't operate

00:56:18.230 --> 00:56:27.799
Matt O'Reilly: I think annual conferences can have structures in place to deal with. A lot of that that may not need to. The Bishop may not have to be the primary hands on person administering

00:56:28.110 --> 00:56:30.009
Matt O'Reilly: a judicial discipline.

00:56:30.287 --> 00:56:55.919
Matt O'Reilly: We have President pro Tim's who, who, you know a lot of that's gonna be better handled locally, though same time bishops at the end of the day will be the final say, I had a interview of Bishop Jones several months ago, and we were kind of talking about this aspect of it. And his comment was, you know, we're not revisiting my appointment at Christ Church on an annual basis, because we're not itinerants anymore. But if something were to arise and there was a conflict between me and the Church then.

00:56:56.220 --> 00:56:59.760
Matt O'Reilly: and he needs to get involved. And he's gonna get involved and help us sort that.

00:57:00.040 --> 00:57:09.319
Matt O'Reilly: So yeah, so I think there's kind of the constructive teaching shepherding piece. And then the corrective think? Well, so let's let's talk about this way.

00:57:09.680 --> 00:57:11.000
Matt O'Reilly: Discipline

00:57:11.010 --> 00:57:12.739
Matt O'Reilly: has 2 forms.

00:57:13.050 --> 00:57:13.470
Andy Miller III: Yeah, sure.

00:57:13.470 --> 00:57:20.180
Matt O'Reilly: Formative disciplines and corrective disciplines. Right and our bishops can help us with both.

00:57:20.270 --> 00:57:22.409
Matt O'Reilly: They can help us be formed.

00:57:22.410 --> 00:57:22.950
Andy Miller III: Yes.

00:57:22.950 --> 00:57:23.660
Matt O'Reilly: Bully

00:57:24.501 --> 00:57:30.419
Matt O'Reilly: theologically. And and and if there's a need for corrective discipline, they can step in in that as well.

00:57:30.820 --> 00:57:46.610
Andy Miller III: I have. And I just had. I'm not sure when the podcast. Will come out of this before or after this. But I I had Chris, chauffeur and Brian Yike, 2 professors, wbsly scholars on, and I looked at this little book here. It's an 1844

00:57:46.680 --> 00:58:08.950
Andy Miller III: doctrine. The doctrines and disciplines of the Methodist Episcopal Church. And I. What we did is we just analyze the first few pages that set the historical and theological foundation. But but if you were to look at particularly an older discipline that doesn't read as much like a legal document like this little little book. Those on Youtube can see, see it, something you could just fit in your pocket

00:58:09.180 --> 00:58:16.529
Andy Miller III: what you sense is like from the very outset. This is a community discipline forming document.

00:58:16.970 --> 00:58:23.280
Andy Miller III: And the word discipline is a part of it. But if you enter into this discipline, you will be a part

00:58:23.300 --> 00:58:43.170
Andy Miller III: of the spread, as it says at very beginning of scriptural holiness around to reform the continent. That that's what and that this is an American context. But that's that's the role of discipline in this case. And so I think there, there's a discipliner there. There needs to be somebody.

00:58:43.190 --> 00:58:49.430
Andy Miller III: I I I'm of the opinion there needs to be somebody who is administering or executing these.

00:58:49.845 --> 00:58:55.239
Matt O'Reilly: That's the key phrase. I think, that our bishops should be the chief

00:58:55.530 --> 00:59:00.360
Matt O'Reilly: executors of our discipline, formative and corrective.

00:59:00.750 --> 00:59:07.010
Matt O'Reilly: and and and I think so. That was the. And that was one of the problems with the Umc right is our. The bishops

00:59:07.100 --> 00:59:11.159
Matt O'Reilly: were set apart to guard our discipline.

00:59:11.160 --> 00:59:11.780
Andy Miller III: Yeah.

00:59:11.780 --> 00:59:26.635
Matt O'Reilly: And ultimately corporately, the Council of Bishops set themselves against our discipline, and so we had in in some ways a constitutional crisis, where the legislative body in General Conference said, Here's the discipline

00:59:27.070 --> 00:59:30.960
Matt O'Reilly: and the bishops, the executive body said, we're not gonna do that.

00:59:30.960 --> 00:59:31.230
Andy Miller III: Yeah.

00:59:31.500 --> 00:59:35.009
Matt O'Reilly: The betrayal of their consecration. It is. Let's just be honest.

00:59:35.030 --> 00:59:49.659
Matt O'Reilly: If you are consecrated to execute the discipline, and you refuse to do it. You have violated your consecration vows and so at the end, so so sexuality was a presenting issue in the in the schism.

00:59:49.790 --> 00:59:51.741
Matt O'Reilly: But I would say,

00:59:52.700 --> 00:59:57.209
Matt O'Reilly: The failure of integrity on the part of the Council of Bishops was the driving

00:59:57.240 --> 01:00:03.650
Matt O'Reilly: Mo was the key factor in the United Methodist schism. And so what we need.

01:00:03.790 --> 01:00:16.729
Matt O'Reilly: our bishops who will execute, who will guard and advance our doctrines and discipline if they won't do that, they don't need to be bishops. And so we're gonna set accountability structures to make sure that that happens the way it should.

01:00:16.980 --> 01:00:38.569
Andy Miller III: One of the leadership voices that I've appreciated would say that the CEO position is not just a chief executive officer, but but chief executing officer. They're the ones who who facilitate that and like make decisions and make things happen. I it. It's interesting, like what we're we're talking about the nature of discipline

01:00:38.650 --> 01:01:01.889
Andy Miller III: is the challenge that I know that some, if if anybody from my the other denominations that are listen, my, podcast have hung in here this far right to to hear this. I I hope you have. This is the challenge that's facing the Nazarenes, Wesleyans savvy student Army E. Even some of the smaller denominations aim congregational methods and the like. The these groups like.

01:01:01.890 --> 01:01:09.620
Andy Miller III: if you're going to say that this is your identity, I mean, there needs to be some execution

01:01:10.070 --> 01:01:11.750
Andy Miller III: of that

01:01:11.850 --> 01:01:30.129
Andy Miller III: policy of that those shared beliefs so that yes, sexualities are presenting. If you issue. If somebody says no, in our church. We're gonna go ahead and marry same-sex couples. We're gonna we're going to engage in a practice that's distinct. Or we're going to.

01:01:30.520 --> 01:01:35.379
Andy Miller III: Instead, we're going to be predestinarian in our doctrine. Well.

01:01:35.580 --> 01:02:04.560
Andy Miller III: you've stepped outside of what the shared commitments are, and there needs to be discipline for that. If not, we really end up functioning as separate groups. And this is what the Umc experience for 30 years. And this is what I've oh, I'm a broken record on this, Matt, like I've just been saying over and over again like that. This is the challenge in the savvy army that this is a challenge in the Nazarene Church right now, and they have to like, if you don't want what's happened in the Gmc. With the Umc.

01:02:04.820 --> 01:02:09.250
Andy Miller III: There has to be this this sort of execution facilitated.

01:02:09.250 --> 01:02:09.969
Matt O'Reilly: That's right.

01:02:10.390 --> 01:02:11.320
Matt O'Reilly: No, I

01:02:11.470 --> 01:02:15.260
Matt O'Reilly: I agree wholeheartedly. If you're going to

01:02:15.620 --> 01:02:17.020
Matt O'Reilly: secure.

01:02:17.330 --> 01:02:21.100
Matt O'Reilly: if you're going to create and perpetuate an identity.

01:02:21.330 --> 01:02:21.800
Andy Miller III: Yes.

01:02:22.860 --> 01:02:25.850
Matt O'Reilly: it it. All identities have norms

01:02:26.320 --> 01:02:28.330
Matt O'Reilly: that have to be guarded.

01:02:28.870 --> 01:02:33.088
Andy Miller III: Yes, oh, this sounds like something connected to your dissertation.

01:02:34.412 --> 01:02:39.659
Matt O'Reilly: It's thing. There is certainly something I learned in in my in my research. Yeah. So those those.

01:02:39.660 --> 01:03:07.639
Andy Miller III: Yeah, if you go back and find I Matt and I, at some point in the past talked about his thoughts on the resurrected bodies and community formation community identities. It's amazing how these type of things come together. You can find that in a past episode, I think that we had Teddy other. Well, Matt, I've have. I've kept held you a little longer than I. Probably promised, so I appreciate you taking time with me in the midst of this busy se schedule, tell us again how they can find about the conference, and of course, the more to the story code.

01:03:07.820 --> 01:03:17.320
Matt O'Reilly: Yup so reconstructing You'll see speakers, breakout sessions, schedule lodging, travel, information things like that.

01:03:17.820 --> 01:03:20.680
Andy Miller III: It's online, too. Right? You can access it online.

01:03:20.680 --> 01:03:40.460
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah. So reconstructing just pull the website. Click, register. Now to register. That will take you to the event. Bright page where you can purchase a ticket, and if you use more to the story, no spaces, just one long smash together. Word more to the story in the coupon code box. It'll give you $20 off the current registration.

01:03:40.730 --> 01:03:46.104
Andy Miller III: Oh, what I meant. Sorry. Thank you for. Of course, thanks to the more story code. But is there a

01:03:46.450 --> 01:03:49.260
Andy Miller III: Can people view, view it, live while.

01:03:49.260 --> 01:03:51.944
Matt O'Reilly: Right? So it's an in person. Only event.

01:03:52.280 --> 01:03:52.990
Andy Miller III: Gotcha? Yeah.

01:03:52.990 --> 01:04:04.146
Matt O'Reilly: And the reason for that is this is the first time we've done an event of this magnitude, and we wanna make sure that the in person. Experience is as rich and excellent as it can be.

01:04:04.697 --> 01:04:15.359
Matt O'Reilly: We, if we do something else in the future which we haven't decided whether we will or not, we'll consider that. But I think I think we're I I get that, you know. It'd be nice to be able to hear and access.

01:04:15.510 --> 01:04:27.249
Matt O'Reilly: You know the the talks. But we really wanna lean into the shared conversation of people being present interacting with our speakers. And we just wanna make the in person experience as as great as it can be.

01:04:27.250 --> 01:04:47.770
Andy Miller III: That's great. It was good to know. Well, Matt, I always ask, is there more of this story of somebody? You know I I have that for a theological reason that there's more than just getting our sins for given. But is there a hobby or something that you're you're doing now, or I'm I imagine you're pulling for Bruce Pearl and the auburn tigers here in the Nca. Tournament. But what's more to the story of Matt these days.

01:04:47.770 --> 01:05:08.379
Matt O'Reilly: Yeah, yeah, we are in birthday season in our house. So all of my kids have birthdays, and I do in March and April. So within 2 weeks they're 4 out of the 5 of us have birthdays. So that's our life is is wild right now. My oldest son just turned 15, and everybody's everybody's moving up a notch. And so we are

01:05:08.400 --> 01:05:15.199
Matt O'Reilly: deep in baseball season and deep in birthday season, which is chaotic and fun and all kinds of stuff at the same time, so.

01:05:15.440 --> 01:05:18.090
Andy Miller III: That's fine. I have 2 kids who have the same birthday.

01:05:18.090 --> 01:05:19.150
Matt O'Reilly: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

01:05:19.150 --> 01:05:20.990
Andy Miller III: I know how that goes, like all of a sudden.

01:05:21.521 --> 01:05:25.340
Andy Miller III: You know a quarter? More than half my kids.

01:05:25.400 --> 01:05:28.140
Andy Miller III: Yeah, change ages at the same time. So, yeah.

01:05:28.140 --> 01:05:30.590
Matt O'Reilly: So we we just call it birthday season.

01:05:30.590 --> 01:05:31.460
Andy Miller III: I love it

01:05:32.380 --> 01:05:40.469
Andy Miller III: well, thanks for coming along, Matt. It means a lot to me. Appreciate all the work you're doing as a pastor theologian and for us at Wbs. But with this conference, too, so folks check that out.

01:05:40.860 --> 01:05:41.830
Matt O'Reilly: Thanks for hosting.

Copyright ©2024 Andrew S. Miller III