Jesus Revealed

Despite many people’s professions to know Jesus personally, a surprising number of Christians know surprisingly little about Jesus’ teachings and life found in scripture…

This Fall Semester at Emory Wesley, we’re starting a NEW SERIES: “Jesus Revealed” // Jesus was born to poor, humble, Jewish parents around 2000 years ago in the backwaters the Roman Empire. He was one of many traveling teacher/healers of the ancient near eastern world. He didn’t write down his teachings, never became wealthy or owned tons of property, and didn’t tour the world with speaking engagements. Today, some 2000 years later, billions of people believe he is the son of God and many others debate just who this Jesus really was. Despite many people’s professions to know Jesus personally, a surprising number of Christians know surprisingly little about Jesus’ teachings and life found in scripture.

SO, journey with us as we rediscover Jesus.
Wednesday Night Worship @645pm

jesus revealed 16x9 image

The Trinity: Life Together

Last semester, the student leaders at Emory Wesley and I met and decided that we should cover some pretty exciting topics in Monday Night Worship this semester–“The Trinity,” “Race and the Church in America,” and during Lent: “The Long March to Redemption” (hooking off of Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom” and other social justice influences partnered with Jesus’ walk to the cross in Lent).

For the first series on the Trinity, we’re going to be doing a 4 part series on The Trinity with staff and students Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 5.04.10 PMgiving homilies on the overall Trinity and the 3 persons of The Trinity. The students are excited about the series and are really engaging well with the topic, songs, and the way we’re addressing this theological behemoth. We’re not trying to answer all the questions, but really we’re trying to help students ask the RIGHT questions. We’re halfway through the series and things are going pretty well thus far.

Here’s the first night of the series where I preached about how the Trinity shows us how God is in relationship and we must also seek to be in relationship in a homily called “The Trinity: Life Together.”

01.13.14 Monday Night Worship // ” The Trinity: Life Together” from Emory Wesley on Vimeo.

BikeToWork (ecology/theology)

Being a bike commuter is a way to live out my ecological and theological beliefs to take care of the planet and to care for people.

I’ve always liked bike riding. From childhood to college & grad school I’ve biked occasionally for recreation, transportation, exercise, and fun. This year I’ve been able to take on a new adventure: biking to work 2 days of my 4 day work week. I’m riding a bike rented from an innovative program Bike Emorya unique partnership between Emory University & our local shop Bicycle South that encourages/equips students, faculty, and staff to learn bicycle care, make community connections, and ride safely.emory bike

I believe in bike commuting as a way to lessen my impact on the environment, improve traffic, and see the world in a more people-centric, community kind of way. Riding to work allows me to lessen the amount of greenhouse gases I’m contributing to the atmosphere, take one single-commuter car off the road, and to see different side streets, neighborhoods, people, and communities that I otherwise wouldn’t see.

We have amazing Sustainability Initiatives at Emory, which really help our community to engage in greener ways of living and enjoy the world around us. In my work as the United Methodist Campus Minister at Emory I have had so many good conversations with students about how we are called to take care of the environment as a matter of justice, stewardship, and a way to care for people. In my faith tradition we have 3 simple ‘rules’: “Do Good, Do No Harm, and Stay in the Love of God and Neighbor.” These seemingly simple rules are more complex once we take them beyond simple platitudes and ask how to live out these ideals–especially when we consider how we live, act, and use/consume resources.

Socrates got it right when he said that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” This is one of the greatest challenges for Americans: to think beyond our own needs and to consider the needs, situations, and hopes of others in our communities and in other communities in our nation and around the world. A step towards understanding the hopes and needs of others is to get to know people who are in different ages, stages, and economic places in your community. In the context of relationship we can learn much about the hopes, dreams, and ideals of others and, in turn, discover much about ourselves.

Riding a bike makes one physically and philosophically closer to world around us: there is no emory road blurredglass/metal cage to separate us, no radio to distract us, no anonymity of a car to shield us. Riding my bike to work gives me time to take in and ponder the people and scenes I’m seeing and hearing–not to mention the hills that I’m feeling in my legs. I’m thankful to be able to bike to work to better understand and appreciate the world around me. Being a bike commuter is a way to live out my ecological and theological beliefs to take care of the planet and to care for people.


twitter bio shot 2012 3Rev. Joseph McBrayer works as Director of Emory Wesley Fellowship, the United Methodist Campus Ministry at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga, where he helps build community on campus to provide a place for students to think through their beliefs and put them into practice. He and his spouse live in the North Decatur area and have been a part of the Atlanta/Emory Community for the past 8 years. You may contact him at or connect on twitter @jmcbray.

Bishop White’s Letter to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each year retired United Methodist Bishop Woodie W. White writes a letter to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the anniversary of his birthday about the progress of racial equality. This year I asked Bishop White if he would allow me to video a reading of the letter. It was a unique opportunity and honor to work with Bishop White on this project. Below is Bishop White’s 2013 Letter in video format, entitled “50 Years On: The Dream is Becoming the New Reality.”  The text of the Letter can be found at UM Reporter here. Bishop White is the Bishop in Residence at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga and more about Bishop White can be found here.

This video may be downloaded for use in school/civic/church services, may be embedded or posted freely, and is free for use under Creative Commons for non-commercial, non-modified use.

Special thanks to Bishop White for his permission and time, Rev. Dr. Bill Britt and staff of Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta, Ga, for filming location, Stan Taylor at Candler School of Theology for his wealth of technical expertise and materials, and friends Josh Amerson and Rev. Brian Tillman for their advising, direction, and encouragement.bishop white filming

Snow in Atlanta!

Next time it snows during a worship service, I too may be tempted to run outside and enjoy the snow.

snowy streets

So, a rare and exciting thing happened yesterday…it snowed 2 or 3 inches here in Atlanta. I’m not sure, but I think that the last time it snowed this much was back in what many Georgians call the “blizzard of ’93.” I was only 10 years old when that happened–wow.

For us here in the southlands it is a rare occasion when we get to see snow, much less enjoy it–and, since it was a Sunday, we actually got to enjoy it a little bit. Even if we still had to go to work today…

glenn umc snow

Because of the rain and the cold, we decided to drive to church,  Glenn Memorial UMC on Emory’s campus. As the Rev. Dr. David Jones was beginning his sermon entitled “Spring Training” he made an observant comment to the effect that it certainly was “spring” outside, as it had just begun snowing. We watched as everyone in the Glenn congregation turned their heads to the windows on either side of the sanctuary and there was a small amount of “murmuring” from the congregation–both young and old. Rev. Jones’ sermon was about Jesus’ being tempted out in the desert and about how Lent was in part a remembrance of this–but that we should not bear any difficult situation or circumstance by complaining or “murmuring” as the hebrew puts it in the Exodus story, but that we should tighten our belts, listen to the wisdom of our parents and grandparents from the depression era, and celebrate the good things that we do have–even as we are in the midst of difficult times.

A few minutes after Rev. Jones announced the snow fall outside, one of the children ran down the side aisle shouting “its snowing!” Then he ran back in, unaware or not caring that the whole of the church was watching and “murmuring“–and then ran back outside. Rev. Jones didn’t miss a beat, but mentioned that if two of the older, more established members ran outside, then we’d really be in trouble. The congregation laughed and the worship service continued in the singing of hymns, the serving of bread and wine, and the fellowship of God’s people–all while the year’s first snow fell softly round.

Snow people After getting home and having some homemade chicken noodle soup, Frances and I made some snow people. We had a great time as playing in the snow is something that neither of us had done in a while.

Next time it snows during a worship service, I too may be tempted to run outside and enjoy the snow.