Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Methodist Blogger Profile: Sky Lowe-McCracken

Sky Lowe-McCracken of Kyrie Eleison

I am the pastor of Reidland United Methodist Church, located in the suburbs of Paducah in greater McCracken County (no relation, as far as we know). Reidland UMC is a 430-member congregation that averages around 210 at the two Sunday morning worship services.

I have a BS from the University of Tennessee (Martin) and an M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. In the past, I served in the fire and emergency medical service in paid, paid-on-call, and volunteer positions. I am an avowed member of the Order of St. Luke, having professing vows in 1991 and Life Vows in 2000.

I am married to Liz Lowe-McCracken, who is employed by LiquidServices/Neel Enterprises of Ledbetter, Kentucky. We have one daughter.

Why do you blog?
It gives me a forum to communicate my musings and extended thoughts, and reaches a generation of people that are “online literate” who may also be hungry for faithful and spiritual food. I think it can also be an extension of how the Church communicates the Gospel. As a by-product, I think my blog has also allowed the people in my parish see my “human side” that struggles and celebrates life just as they do.

What has been your best blogging experience?
I was recently interviewed by a newspaper about my blog, and how it was different from other blogs in our local area with a focus on faith. I took that as a compliment.

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
Don’t be afraid to write about your dreams, hopes, fears, and struggles. Just be sure when you use sources that they are accurate and factual; there are enough gossip blogs out there already.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
Besides Locusts and Honey?

1. Shane Raynor’s “Wesley Blog”
2. Ben Witherington (http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/)
3. Jay Voorhies “Only Wonder Understands”

Who are your spiritual heroes?
John Wesley, St. Luke the Evangelist, Augustine of Hippo, Frederick Buechner, Kathleen Norris.
What are you reading at the moment?
Holy Communion for Amateurs, N.T. (Tom) Wright. The newer edition is published under the title, The Meal that Jesus Gave Us.

What is your favorite hymn and why?
“Be Thou My Vision.” It’s a tune from my Irish rootage and a hymn that best expresses my spiritual yearnings.

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
Abortion. I used to take the stance that it was preferable to an unwanted child or undesirable situation, but I came to realize that the same ethic I use to say that capital punishment is a premeditated murder equally applies to abortion.

What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
Without a doubt, individualism.

If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
Healthcare and health insurance reform. Besides the immorality of some not having access to it, our present system simply isn’t working effectively anymore.

If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
I would declare a moratorium on the mere utterance of the word homosexuality, as well as any derivatives of the word and any legislation on the matter. Regardless of what “side” some are on the matter, the issue has reached the status of idol in our denomination.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Find balance and perspective, and let it be reflected in how we pray and spend our time, money, and efforts.

What, if anything, do you worry about?
I’m a worry-er, so I worry about everything… showing a lack of faith on my part.

If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
I would have done my community service project and become an Eagle Scout.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
The mountains – either the Rockies or the Smokies. Scotland would be a very, very close second.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
I enjoy long motorcycle rides, and officiating basketball. Both relax and renew me.

What is your most treasured possession?
A Westbury 12-string baroque guitar (a craviola look-a-like). I got it the summer I graduated from high school, not knowing how I was going to pay for it ($325 in 1983). When my parents got wind that I was struggling to make payments, they paid it off. I have since “retired” it from active duty and it sits prominently in our living room.

What talent would you most like to have?
A solo singing voice. I can sing with a choir or ensemble, but have always envied those whose voice can make a sure and strong joyful noise.

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner, who would they be?
Jesus of Nazareth, Martin Luther, and Benjamin Franklin (although I wouldn’t allow him to sit next to my wife).


j2 said...

I just want to thank Sky for his admission on abortion. For me the two issues of capital punishment and abortion have been similarly modulated. But it was my views on abortion that I had personally struggled with that led me to change my view on capital punishment; that it is wrong to impose death on anyone without God-like certainty of the best outcome. Obviously we become arrogant when we insist that the death of another is preferrable to the uncertain outcome God may have in mind for that individual and the people they are likely to affect. His admission of that inner confrontation is refreshing to hear.

Rev. Joey Reed said...

Its nice to see a local boy make good!

Sky is a role model for several of us in the Memphis Annual Conference. He doesn't cut a wide swath, but people stop and listen when he offers his opinion.

As one of the younger members of the Conference, I don't mind pointing this out. His thinking has deeply impacted my personal efforts as a pastor, and influenced my own stances in our Conference and the World Parish.

Thanks for profiling Sky, and for sharing his leadership and example with your readers.

ABNATW said...

Wow. Very cool. I have known Schuyler J. McCracken since 1980, when my family moved to Martin, TN. Sky and I went to the same church, high school, and undergrad program. I haven't been back "home" in many years, so I haven't seen him in a long while. Great way to get caught up on some activities in his life. My older sister, who is attending seminary to become a Methodist minister, sent me the link, so that I could read this "interview" with Sky. Hope that you are well, old friend. Liz

Sky Lowe-McCracken said...

Wow... I'd love to have an email address, Liz. Mine's revdsky at comcast dot net. (spelling it out to keep the spammer bots from finding me)