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Bishop David Bard Discusses the Complexities Facing the United Methodist Church with Bishop Julius C. Trimble. Part 1
Episode 2430th August 2022 • Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble • Bishop Julius C. Trimble
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Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.

https://www.inumc.org/bishop/office-of-the-bishop/

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.

https://www.inumc.org/bishop/office-of-the-bishop/

BISHOP DAVID ALAN BARD

https://bishop.michiganumc.org/

Bishop David Alan Bard is the presiding bishop of the Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church.  Bishop Bard also shepherds the Minnesota Annual Conference as interim bishop until 2022 and serves as President of the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops.

Prior to arriving in Michigan in September 2016, Bishop Bard was serving at First United Methodist Church in Duluth, Minnesota since 2005. He was elected to the episcopacy on July 13, 2016, at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference held in Peoria, IL. He has been in ministry for more than 30 years and has served in many roles within the Minnesota Annual Conference and the General Church.

Bishop Bard was a General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. He was an episcopal nominee in both 2004 and 2008.

Within the Minnesota Conference, Bishop Bard was chair of the Episcopacy Committee and the Higher Education Ministry Team. He served on the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Congregational Response Team. He was also the conference parliamentarian. He was a district superintendent from 1998 to 2005 and spent three years on the Commission on Religion and Race.

Within the General Church, Bishop Bard serves on the Study on Ministry Commission, the Committee on Faith and Order, and the North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy. He has also previously served on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Commission on General Conference, and the Commission on Theological Education.

Bishop Bard received a BA from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1981; his Master of Divinity was earned at United Theological Seminary, Twin Cities 1984; and in 1994 he received a Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University with a focus on Christian ethics

Bishop Bard has a wife, Julie, and three adult children. In his free time, he enjoys music, reading, baseball, and walking outside.

https://bishop.michiganumc.org/

Part 2 of This Two Part Episode featuring Bishop David Bard is live on September 6, 2022, at this link:

https://tobeencouraged.com/episode/025

Transcripts

Brad Miller:

Well and welcome to the to be encouraged podcast with Bishop Julius Hussey treble the resident Bishop of the Indiana area of United Methodist Church. This is the podcast where we seek to help do give an encouraging word to often discouraged world. And our special guest today is the Episcopal leader of the Michigan area United Methodist Church. His name is Bishop David Bard. He has been the Episcopal leader and in Michigan since 2016, and Bishop trouble. Can you help me welcome Bishop bar to our podcast today?

Bishop Julius Trimble:

Welcome my friend and colleague, Bishop David, Bart, and we're glad to have you, especially if you give us an opportunity to hear some of your insights about the challenges and opportunities and things we can give thanks for as it relates to the United Methodist Church.

Bishop Bard:

Well, thank you for having me. Bishop Trimble. It's always a pleasure to have a conversation with you.

Brad Miller:

Great, it is great to have you with us Bishop Bard. And part of what we love to do here on the to be encouraged podcast is learn a little bit about the stories of faith that some of our, of our clergy and our lay leaders and especially our fiscal leaders, can you give us just give us kind of a snapshot of how you came to faith in the first place. And the track that led you eventually to what you do now is in the Pisco.

Bishop Bard:

Sure, I'll try to give you the short and sweet story. I grew up in a pretty marginally churched family. My my dad was raised Roman Catholic and was essentially unchurched. My mom would take us to church. On occasion, we would not have been considered the most active family in the church, but but my mom was thought it important to get my brother's sister and I to church. She didn't drive. And so we walked to the nearest Protestant church. And we moved once when I was a child, about a mile and a half. And I was baptized in the Presbyterian Church and then went to the United Methodist Church. And it was while it was at that church, in an eighth grade Sunday school class, that I had a Sunday school teacher who talked about God's love for me and Jesus Christ, in a way that was very compelling. God used her in that ministry, to bring me to faith. And it was in August of 1973, that I said, I said yes to Jesus Christ, making him my Lord and Savior. The route from there to where I am now is a little bit, a little bit windy. I was very intensely involved both in my local church and in a parachurch organization, that parachurch organization was kind of an offshoot of the Jesus movement of the early, early 1970s. And then, as I was in college, I had a few years where I was less actively involved in the church. And as I was finishing college, I recognized that I had some significant faith questions that I wanted to continue to wrestle with, and went to seminary when I went to seminary was not necessarily intending to be a clergy person, but but really wanting to pursue my own faith journey. And it was while I was in seminary that I felt that that call from God into into ordained ministry. I think for me, part of it was a sense that there were other people out there who had wrestled with some of the same questions I had wrestled with, and that perhaps I could serve, serve Jesus in the church in being someone who took seriously people's questions and struggles and wrestled together to find out how God God's love would impact lives and impact the world around us. So I said, said yes, again, in a way to be a clergy person. And I went right from college to seminary to my first appointment. Then after my first appointment, I went back to school, got a PhD in Christian ethics from Southern Methodist University and returned to pastoral ministry in Minnesota, was a district superintendent a pastor, and then was elected bishop in 2016.

Brad Miller:

You got a whole lot in there and just Oh, my my friend. And but what a fascinating story and I love to live with other here face stories, don't you basement trouble, stories of people coming to faith and and we certainly need people who were steeped in their faith. And also I love a part of what your story is, which I love to hear as you as you really have this background in ethics, and in in academia and has since you're getting a PhD, not just to, you know, going deep in that area. And

Bishop Bard:

that was important to me that that too is a part of my faith development.

Brad Miller:

And that is a part of I think, is somewhat lacking a little bit in some of our conversations have been over simplified in the church and in the world. And I'd like to get into that a little bit here today but Bishop Trimble I know you had some things that you really wanted to, on your heart that you want to talk to Bishop Bard about today about what's going on in the church and, and then the war in the world. Yeah, I'd

Bishop Julius Trimble:

like to hear Thank you, Mr. Barr, for your, for your call story and, and for really a testimony about the witness of the church and how the church witness to you. 1973 Yeah. And Christ, Christ, Christ began you on this journey. I just wrote a recent article and unlike a lot of other bishops, for our for our conference website on being United Methodist while refuting misinformation, maybe you don't have this problem in Michigan, but yeah, we have. We have some some of the streams of information some of our churches are getting, you know, is raising all kinds of questions. And we just came out of an annual conference in June where, where our theme was love God love neighbor from, from the gospel teaching of Jesus around the greatest commandment. And but we still have to refute information that, you know, as United Methodists, we are, we are Trinitarian we believe in God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you know, we have not abdicated our commitment to, to the doctrine and, and, you know, we ascribe to the Apostles Creed and, and these things, wonder how you're navigating this whole notion of what constitutes true information about who we are as United Methodist? I think something you know, we're probably going to be hearing more about in the coming days, even this week, is is our role this is our teaching role as bishops, you're obviously spent some considerable time and investment in, in the teaching role as an as a as a PhD, but also as a bishop. Can you say something about that, you know, are both the teaching role and responsibility? And how do we deal with misinformation about who we are as a church? Sure.

Bishop Bard:

I've tried to take the tack and hope I've been successful, and in doing so, in trying to respond to misinformation, whatever the spirit in which it may have been offered. And sometimes it's just people are just mistaken about things. Sometimes there's a more some, perhaps an agenda behind the misinformation. But I've I've really wanted to try to respond as carefully and kindly, with with factual information. That's meant at times, I've not responded publicly at all to some of the things that have come out. But I think, next month, I'm looking, I'm thinking about doing a blog, because of some things that have have come my way in just the past couple of weeks, to say, here's what, here's what's out there. And and here's what I want you to know about that. And so I think, to the extent that we can offer clear, concise, factual information that, you know, is is accurate is is helpful, I really don't want to try to get into a back and forth. Argumentative kind of conversation, I'm hoping to avoid that to the extent that we can. But we do at the same time we do have a role in in teaching and offering the best information we can and simply to let stuff slide by that that's inaccurate, isn't isn't helpful to anyone?

Bishop Julius Trimble:

No, no, no, your your, your, your counsel, always, you're pretty consistent about taking the high ground. You must really believe in this grace thing. You know, I follow your leadership

Bishop Bard:

can I know, we're at a tough time in the church. And you know, separation is happening and it's in, you know, I can't say that it's not happening or it won't happen. But to the extent that we can do this with as much grace and kindness as possible, only enhances our witness as as Methodists, whether it's the United Methodist Church, or the global Methodist Church. And if this gets really ugly, no one is going to benefit from that. It gives people who are on the margins of the church or unchurched every reason to say, Why should we be interested in that group? They, they're as mean and nasty as everyone else. And there's, there's not a lot of grace to be found there.

Brad Miller:

Because you have trouble your your your stapling, kind of implies that there has been the experience of lack of grace among in the church and among our society, and I think that is hurtful and painful and we've experienced it in the church and return to grace and return to hope is important here, as really interested in your some of your comments in your article about this? These are complex issues? And is it possible that we can be intelligent people and have understand both sides of an issue and still somehow move forward? And you you speak at the term complexified? Yes, in your article, I just wonder if you could just speak to that in terms of what Bishop Tribbles brought up about grace and sometimes experience a lack of grace about how we Sure,

Bishop Bard:

sure? Well, you know, it's, it's, it's interesting sometimes how things come together, in a serendipitous way. I came across the Martin Luther King, Jr. Quote, a few months ago, about the moral moral responsibility to be intelligent. And then more recently, I was reading an essay about conflict. And the person said, you know, one of the things that can help when help us navigate conflict better is when we begin to acknowledge the complexities of issues. Things like the aggregate unfunded pension obligation, it's just complicated. We've made promises to clergy, about providing a pension for them. And those promises to be fulfilled requires certain you have certain financial requirements to them. And to simply say that we can ignore what those are, isn't helpful, it doesn't acknowledge the complexity of the issues involved.

Bishop Bard:

Even an idea like love your neighbor, is, can be complicated. What does it mean, to love someone who's maybe engaging in patterns of behavior that are hurtful to them, sometimes it means intervening in in a fairly direct way. Love is Love is gentle, but gentleness needs also to be strong. So to be able to kind of grab hold of all of those multiple dimensions of human existence and, and to be able to kind of get some sense of the mystery of God and how God's grace in Jesus Christ works in people's lives in in the complexities of the world is important. And I think, I think you can combine an appreciation of complexity, with with us a strong sense of moral clarity. The Council of Bishops met this morning, we talked about race and colonialism. And if people were listening to the conversation about colonialism, it's complex. I mean, the guy started out by saying, there's really no one debt, easy definition of colonialism. I mean, it's a complicated historical matter. But that doesn't mean we don't even listening to all the complexities of that can't be in that conversation with being very clear that the moral imperative here is to try to undo the harm that's been done by our history.

Bishop Julius Trimble:

often say, often say, Brad and Mr. Barr, just because it's hard doesn't mean that we're not called to the work. That's right. So you know, just dismantling racism. It's a lot more complex. And I remember thinking this your group and Joe for the three simple rules, but I said, you know, it's a lot easier to speak it and say it that actually delivered. The book was a lot easier to read than really three simple rules. Well, yeah. Yeah.

Bishop Bard:

When if you have a if you have a child and you discipline them for some some reason, they might think that that's harmful that in the moment, but what you're trying to do is prevent a greater harm.

Brad Miller:

Sometimes take the simple the simple can lead almost directly to question of it, or I go, I go sometimes I go right to my four year old granddaughter, whose first words out of her mouth often or why, or what's it Yeah. So and So Bishop, treble, and Bishop are both What do you think are the why and the what for in the what ifs of this situation? We have people really going binary get getting in their silos and this type of thing and and we have this dilemma that we have in the church, how do we move forward in faith and love each other but still have some standards moving forward? I don't know. Bishop trouble. It may be exhibited there for just a second.

Bishop Julius Trimble:

Well, this past Thursday, I had a chance to meet, to preach of give a presentation preach and give a presentation to guess was about 40 people gathered and I'm multiplying those who were focusing on on multiplication starting new, starting fresh expressions and new ministries. And my focus was on the supremacy of Christ. And I said, you probably were anticipating me come in and say something about disaffiliation. But that's not what I'm here to talk about. And that's not our main wisdom. That's not our raison d'etre. That's not our reason for being, I say, we have a mission to make disciples and disciples to help grow disciples. But I think we ought to start with the supremacy of Christ, you know that our focus on Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and, and invest as much and honesty as we have tried to invest in unity. And what I find is, people resonate with opportunity for us to focus on Well, what is our mission? And who is our Lord and Savior? And can what can we celebrate? As opposed to what's what can we debate? What can we celebrate? As opposed to what can we debate? I just worship at a church yesterday, Trinity and Lafayette. And you could tell that the church was really glad to celebrate some of the things they were engaged in, in the ministry of that community. And they weren't really thinking about some of the things that we we spent a lot of time investing in. Many of our local churches are not that's not even necessarily at the top of their priority list.

Brad Miller:

Because you already have any response to that, or how we talk to each other? Or are we talking to each other? Are we have any ways to have healthy interchange or healthy conflict or anything along this line? What are we doing?

Bishop Bard:

Yeah, you know, I think, I think part of it is, you know, just being willing to be there and stand with other people in that in that conversation. And, you know, that takes some, some courage, it takes some ability to hear things that maybe be difficult.

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