Christian discipleship

In the Land of Beginning Again

In the 1946 film, The Bell’s of St. Mary’s, Bing Crosby sings Grant Clarke & George W. Meyer’s, In the Land of Beginning Again.  This sappy, wistful, wonderful song fits the film beautifully, wishing for the chance to start fresh, to let go of past regrets, and to move forward […]

Goats of Christmas Yet To Come

Every once in a while, I blog about something I consider a “no-brainer,” something so obvious (at least to me…) that I cannot fathom anyone disagreeing.  But I am always wrong — there’s no such thing as a sure thing.  Case in point: caring for the poor.  The idea that […]

With Fulfillment

Kudos to Circuit Rider for the Nov./Dec./Jan. issue focusing on ministry with the poor.  So many other voices share my conviction that ministry “with” is our future, rather than ministry “to” or “for” the poor (so I must be right).  Of the Four Areas of Focus of The United Methodist […]

Sinking the Steward Ship

Funny thing.  Writing about stewardship all this week resulted in a 30% drop-off in my readership.  I’ve gotten a handful of emails this week expressing sentiments like “I expect better from you,” and “you’re as bad as my local church,” and “why are you marching out this tired old song,” […]

Irresponsibly Unresponsive

What responsibility does the individual have for her or his own spiritual growth and development?  At least 70% of people leaving The United Methodist Church give “spiritual needs not met” as one of the reasons for their departure.  (Based on 429 “exit” interviews, 2002-2003)  But what do they mean when […]

The Measures of Our Success

In recent months I have visited a number of churches where leaders have apologetically said to me, “Our numbers are down.  We always lose them through the summer.”  Worship attendance is currently the primary metric for a church’s effectiveness — which is ironic because worship attendance has nothing to do […]

Trying Not to Be a Good Man

Word reached me of the death of a member of one of my former churches.  The homily preached at his memorial was entitled, “A Good Man,” and it extolled a life of generosity, virtue, community involvement, and leadership.  The news made me both sad and angry.  While everything shared in […]