The Weight Podcast: Big Pandemic. Small Groups.

Over the past few weeks, I have been invited to be on a handful of podcasts. As it happened, all three of the most recent interviews were released on the same day. I wanted to spread them out a bit here so as not to overwhelm you and in hopes of featuring each of the work these folks are doing. This is the second of the three.

The Weight is hosted by Chris McAlilly and Eddie Rester, who are both United Methodist pastors at Oxford University UMC, in Oxford, MS. Chris and Eddie are thoughtful and gracious hosts who are passionate about facilitating deeper, more substantive, and nuanced conversation and weighty topics in the church and broader culture. I love the way they introduce their blog:

Let’s be honest. There are some topics that are too heavy for a 20 minute sermon. There are issues that need conversation, not just explanation. That’s why we have created The Weight.

This is a podcast that creates a space for honestly discussing some of the heavy topics we face in our culture today. We believe that the church is called to engage in a way that honors the weightiness and importance that these topics have for how we live faithfully today.

I was invited to be on The Weight before Covid-19 to talk about the upcoming General Conference (now postponed to late summer/early fall 2021). Chris and Eddie suggested that the conversation shift from the original focus, as their podcast in general did, to aspects of ministry in the midst of social distancing and a global pandemic. You can get a sense of their initial focus from their first two episodes which feature Bishop Ken Carter in the first and Carolyn Moore in the second.

The episode I am on was creatively titled: “Big Pandemic. Small Groups.” We talked about the potential contribution of Wesleyan small group formation, especially the class meeting and the band meeting, in the time of a pandemic.

In thinking back on this conversation in comparison to my conversation with Matt Reynolds of Spirit & Truth and Scott Kisker of United Theological Seminary, I am struck by the benefit of multiple conversation partners. The topic of both episodes was roughly the same, but the conversation went in different directions and has certainly helped my own thinking. Both were helpful to me. I hope they are to you too.

Please check out what Chris and Eddie are doing at The Weight. I hope you find the episode I was on helpful. And don’t miss their latest episode with Bishop James Swanson. Here is their description:

A serious dialogue on race and equity is imperative for the life of the church, a truth that we are painfully reminded of in the aftermath of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. How can the Church do better in its pursuit of justice for all? How can we pursue reconciliation that isn’t shallow or even callous, but rather is honest about the work that still needs to be done to bring about substantive change? How can we posture our hearts, minds, and actions towards the vision of God’s creation where all are truly cared for, valued, and protected?

Kevin M. Watson is a professor at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He teaches, writes, and preaches to empower community, discipleship, and stewardship of our heritage. Click here to get future posts emailed to you.