Monday, January 29, 2007

Methodist Blogger Profile: DogBlogger (Amy Forbus)

Amy Forbus of The Best Dog Ever

Born, baptized and raised in United Methodism, I grew to love it and claim it as my own faith because of its theology of grace, rich tradition and encouragement to nurture faith in Christ throughout life’s journey. In 2001, I answered a calling to active lay ministry in the form of a staff position at my local church. I’m currently Digital Community Builder for UMR Communications, home of the UMPortal and the United Methodist Reporter.

A taste of my life: Married for 10 years to John Forbus, mechanical engineer and 7th & 8th grade Sunday school teacher extraordinaire; dog-parent to Cub and Angus; a native of Arkansas; a graduate of UM-related Hendrix College; living my dream of always wanting to be in a band as part of the Aldersgate UMC worship band MorningSong. Assorted district, conference, and jurisdictional activities qualify me as a full-fledged church nerd.

Why do you blog?
I started a blog so I could have a creative exercise that had nothing to do with church. But, of course, I began commenting on various church-related blogs anyway. My desire for a creative outlet remains evident because I rarely blog about Methodism, preferring to use my blog as a repository for the imagined reflections of Cub, my beloved German Shepherd mutt. She’s far more entertaining than I am, anyway.

What has been your best blogging experience?
I absolutely loved being able to attend the MethoBlogger meetup at Congress on Evangelism in January. As valuable as online connections can be, it was far more valuable to extend them to in-person relationships

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
Even if you don’t post regularly yourself, comment on others’ posts regularly. Conversation is the best part of blogging.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
Okay, I’m not even going to say Locusts & Honey – just like I’m not gonna list Jesus as one of my dinner guests (he’s already there, anyway). Three blogs…only three…? I guess I’ll have to go with some of the most frequently-updated ones:MethoBlog, Set Free, and Billy Reeder (B, don’t get the big head over being on the short list… it’s just the easiest way to keep up with you and all your projects, bro).

Who are your spiritual heroes?
My friend Liz, from whom I learned so much when we served together on our church staff and from whom I continue to learn as she moves ever closer to ordination as an Elder.- Guys like Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren, who often out-Wesley us United Methodists – we can learn a lot from them.- Of course, some theologians to round out the list: Bonhoeffer, Hauerwas, C.S. Lewis…

What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve finished one chapter each of several theologically-centered books lately (“Hello, I’m DogBlogger and I’m a serial bookstarter.”), so I think it might be time to move to fiction for a while. Things I actually finish reading on occasion include the Oxford American, the United Methodist Reporter, and drafts of college scholarship application essays from one of my nephews.

What is your favorite hymn and why?
This question was the last one I answered. It’s such a difficult choice when your life’s been wrapped in music of the church... At the moment, I’m leaning toward “Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters,” as much for the lyrics as for the tune, Beach Spring. Why? One reason is because I’m intensely moved by observance of the sacraments, and our congregation sings this hymn after baptisms.

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've changed your mind?
I’m now completely opposed to the death penalty. I honestly don’t know what my parents’ opinions on it are/were, but my upbringing took place in an area where I got plenty of exposure to a let-‘em-fry kind of attitude; over a period of years, I’ve come to believe that’s not how God wants us to deal with each other.

What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
That it’s possible for any group or human (myself included) to possesses a complete set of true and right beliefs. We don’t have all the answers. And there’s something to be said for acknowledging the mystery.

If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
National health coverage. I know too many folks with no health plan, whose lives could be (or have been) torn apart by one illness.

If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
I’d like to see an overhaul of our outdated approach to the itinerant system. Related to that issue, some standardization of clergy salaries, to reduce the current under-the-table emphasis on ladder-climbing through the appointive system to secure an adequate retirement income.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Don’t worry.

What, if anything, do you worry about?
Dang near everything.

If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
Nope. No point in dreaming backwards.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
New Mexico.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
What’s spare time? Oh, yeah, the times when I have music rehearsals, or do a little dog-blogging, or hang out with my husband, or attempt to learn to knit.

What is your most treasured possession?
Someone suggested I say my dogs, but they are God’s creatures, not my possessions. I certainly feel blessed to have them in my life. As far as owned objects, I guess the first gift from my then-boyfriend, now-husband would be right up there. (I take it everywhere I travel – just ask Reverend Mommy and RevAbi, my RevGalBlogPal roommates at Congress on Evangelism.) It’s a gray-and-white stuffed dog, and it was the only thing I snagged before evacuation when my dorm caught on fire in college, which I guess says something about its importance.

What talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be able to play the guitar like my friend Rik. But first I’d have to make the time and develop the discipline to do it (she says as she wipes the dust off her six-string in the corner).

If you could have any three guests, past or present to dinner, who would they be?
Martie Maguire, Bill Clinton, and William Faulkner. (Provided we could each have a guest, making a nice cozy dinner for eight until Mr. and Mrs. Faulkner start going at each other.)


gavin richardson said...

amy is the coolest! and i wish gavin would let us blog like cub -crimson & coe (gavin's mutt dogs)

Anonymous said...

No big head here...really...ok maybe just a little bit bigger.

Rev. Daniel McLain Hixon said...

"I’d like to see an overhaul of our outdated approach to the itinerant system. Related to that issue, some standardization of clergy salaries, to reduce the current under-the-table emphasis on ladder-climbing through the appointive system to secure an adequate retirement income."


mid-life rookie said...

No big head, but humble tears. You are my hero and awesome friend too.

Theresa Coleman said...

Yikes! I didn't know about the dorm fire!

(And she has a very contagious laugh... really!)

Andrew C. Thompson said...

DogBlogger power ... activate!

zorra said...

What a great picture of you and Cub!