Lots of post-holiday kibbutzing here in the offices of UMR today. (We've been closed since Dec. 21 but everybody's back to work today.)
We’re all talking about a Religion News Service report about how former Vice President Al Gore has been named "Baptist of the Year" by EthicsDaily.com, the Web site of the Baptist Center for Ethics.
The center's executive director cited Gore’s environmental advocacy work in the announcement of his selection. (The Baptist Center for Ethics, based in Nashville, Tenn., was founded in 1991 and is supported by moderate Baptist groups.)
Well, we’re thinking the United Methodist Reporter needs to name a United Methodist of the Year.
Names getting bandied about include the usual suspects: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Hilary Clinton and John Edwards.
Or, we could go for the controversy card and pick Elvira Arellano.
In August, the Mexican woman refused to be deported and took refuge in her church, Adalberto United Methodist in Chicago. The congregation publicly declared itself a sanctuary for Ms. Arellano and her 7-year-old son Saul, and a nationwide debate ensued.
Personally, I’d nominate actor Billy Bob Thornton,
if only as “Surprise United Methodist of the Year.” I interviewed Mr. Thornton in early 2007 shortly before the film Astronaut Farmer premiered. He was a gracious interviewee and surprised me when, toward the end of the interview, he told me, "I'm a Methodist."
Other possible nominees from the entertainment industry might include country music star Willie Nelson and folk/indie musician Sara Hickman.
Got any better ideas? We’re accepting nominations, starting right now.