Month: July 2009

The Final Word

On a drive up to Oshkosh today, I passed a church sign (I don’t know what denomination or “flavor” of church) that read “God’s Final Answer – Are You Sure You Want to Hear It?”  I may be completely off base, but I was troubled by what I interpret to […]

What’s In A Shem?

The reaction to the death of Michael Jackson has been fascinating to observe.  The real flesh-and-blood person who was Michael Jackson is almost irrelevant.  The myth, the image, the character (or caricature), and the concept of MICHAEL JACKSON eclipses any kind of appreciation for the man.  Listening to all the […]

What Kind of Church…?

Today has been a day for introspection — thinking about the future by reflecting on the past.  Thinking particularly about the three churches of my childhood and what they taught me about what it means — and doesn’t mean — to be church.  And, at least in my case, three […]

Worshipping in God’s Absence

Six year’s ago I worked with five Vanderbilt seminary students on a worship project.  They attended dozens of Christian worship experiences in all sizes, shapes, forms, and cultures of United Methodist congregations, then we sat and “debriefed” each experience.  One 27-year-old woman, Erin, an Episcopalian, made an unusual and provocative […]

The Cost of Community

For the last 48 hours life has been an out-of-control roller-coaster ride for my wife, our two cats, and me.  All our worldly possessions are currently somewhere between Nashville, Tennessee and Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.  We are sitting in our new (new to us, anyway) condo, preparing to launch/create a whole […]

Junk Drawer Theology

Packing sucks.  My wife and I are moving to Wisconsin and we could not be happier.  It is a fantastic opportunity to be in ministry in a new place with a great group of people.  We really want to be in Wisconsin, but getting there is a pain in the […]

Witnesses to the Mystery

My wife, Barbara, is a mystery to me.  She loves me in spite of all my shortcomings, demands, infirmities, and idiosyncrasies.  She is so smart, dynamic, funny and balanced.  I really don’t deserve her… and she certainly doesn’t deserve all the garbage she gets from me!  And yet she loves […]

Cranky Christians

From a letter I received in 1998 from a church member in a congregation where I was providing consultation and mediation: Our pastor doesn’t understand us.  We are a good people, and we don’t want to change.  We’ve gotten along fine for years and everyone was happy until he came […]

Minding Our Own Business

A forty-something woman was talking on her cell phone in the coffee shop where I was pretending to read.  The shop was moderately full, with a handful of children and teenagers present.  It became apparent that the woman was fighting with — perhaps being dumped by — a man on […]

This Is A Day of New Beginnings

Today, I become a member of the Wisconsin Annual Conference.  Today, I assume responsibility as the Director of Connectional Ministries in Wisconsin.  Today, I leave behind fifteen years serving the national church to focus on the ministries of a single episcopal area.  In one week, my wife Barbara and I […]