Join the NC Conference Media Center’s Study Harder Challenge! Your group is invited to expand your circle of influence and try something new by studying resources that apply any of 12 characteristics that will help you think outside the box. Read more about the Study Harder Challenge and download your worksheet.
Challenge: Controversial Topic
In the “big tent” of Methodism, church members need to learn and practice discussing controversial topics within our spiritual discipline of holy conferencing.
First, learn how to do this practice of holy conferencing using any of these resources:
- Five Means of Grace: Experience God’s Love the Wesleyan Way by Elaine A. Heath
- Rooted in Grace: Essays on Dialogue Without Division edited by Larry Duggins and Andrea L. Lingle
- A Way of Life in the World: Spiritual Practices for United Methodists by Kenneth H. Carter, Jr.
- The Conversation Matters: Why United Methodists Should Talk with One Another by Henry H. Knight, III and Don E. Saliers
- How To Have a Courageous Conversation by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. A PDF of this booklet is available online.
Rev. Adam Hamilton pastors the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States. He is known for being a moderate centrist who preaches to a diverse congregation. He does not shy away from controversial issues and approaches them head-on in several of his popular DVD studies.
Hamilton begins with foundational questions about the Bible and then considers the real questions people frequently ask that continue to divide Christians and denominations alike including: Were Adam and Eve real people? Why is God so violent in the Old Testament? Why would Paul command women to “keep silent in the church”? Is Jesus the only way to salvation? How does God view homosexual people? Is the Book of Revelation a guide to the End Times? A DVD, leader guide, and book are available.
Hamilton rejects the easy assumptions and sloppy analysis of black and white thinking, seeking instead the truth that resides on all sides of the issues, and offering a faithful and compassionate way forward. A DVD with leader guide and a book are available.
Hamilton addresses the how’s and why’s of Christians getting it right when it comes to being Christ in the world. The sessions include topics such as science, politics, pluralism, suffering, and homosexuality. A DVD with leader guide and a book are available.
By offering clear, concise information on what is at stake in these controversial issues, and by seeking to understand the positions different sides hold and to present them in a fair way, Hamilton provides you with a model for how to dialogue about moral issues while maintaining respect for persons on both sides of the debate. A DVD, leader guide, book and a pastor’s guide on CD-ROM are available.
Dialogues On Series
This curriculum series is designed to facilitate healthy discussion in your small group about controversial topics. The books and DVDs include stories from those who are experienced with the issue. More titles are forthcoming.
This study offers eight unique perspectives from experienced authors from renowned organizations such as World Relief and Church World Service that provide insight into refugee stories and experiences. The differing dialogues on today’s situation for refugees in America helps to unpack the issue and drive conversations. A DVD, facilitator guide, and learner book are available.
Hear from ministry leaders and community members about sexuality and the church, including topics like patriarchy, women’s rights, sex and marriage, and why language matters. The video offers a real-life glimpse at how these topics impact daily lives and what it means to the broader community, spurring conversation and discussion around the topics. A DVD, facilitator guide, and learner book are available.
It’s no secret that the most controversial topic affecting our church today is the inclusion of LGBTQIA individuals in the life of the church. The Media Center has a large collection of resources that groups and individuals can use to learn about and discuss this topic. All of these resources are listed in the LGBTQIA Inclusion and General Conference 2019 (Church Unity) pathfinder.
Another controversial topic of priority to the NC Conference is anti-racism. Resources to use for learning about and discussing this work are listed in the Anti-Racism pathfinder.
A controversial topic in the United States today is immigration, specifically immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Media Center has previously posted a list of our resources on immigration on our website. Additional resources useful to being in ministry with the Hispanic/Latinx community are listed in our Hispanic/Latinx Ministry pathfinder.
Israel and Palestine
Back in the news in recent headlines is the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The Media Center has several books and DVDs to help you understand this complicated issue. They are all listed in the Israel-Palestine pathfinder.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist church in the North Carolina Conference. We can even mail them to you! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.