Congregational Life

The Latest Pewhaha: Faith in Flux

Like everything else in popular media, sensation sells when it comes to religion in the United States.  And also like the popular media, the product shared with the public is shaped to “make news.”  Good thing?  Bad thing?  Doesn’t really matter.  What matters is, how do we cut through all […]

The Power of POV

One day last month, I sat down and sifted through a mounting stack of articles on my desk.  I found a number of articles on ‘mega-churches’ all published within a few days of each other.  What was most striking was that they were saying incredibly different things.  USA Today talked […]

Amendment 1 and the Temple of Doom

Inclusiveness of the Church —  The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ.  The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth and that we are in ministry to all.  All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status or […]

Do United Methodists Want to BE Disciples?

In 1996, The United Methodist Church clarified and refined its mission to be “making disciples of Jesus Christ.”  Twelve years later, it amended the mission to include “for the transformation of the world.”  In essence and in fact, we have declared that our reason for existing is to form, equip, […]

Lowest Common Denomination

With the exception of a couple brief positive blips, membership and worship attendance have been in steady decline in The United Methodist Church since the Methodist/Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) merger in 1968.  This isn’t news.  It has been virtually impossible to read anything written about our denomination over the past 40 […]

Worship Snobs

I admit it.  I am a worship snob.  They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a lot of knowledge is worse.  And the same goes for experience as well.  Knowing what one wants in worship, and having experienced excellent worship in the past, makes it difficult […]

Maundy Thursday and the Everlasting Supper

There is a wealth of irony within the gospel stories, but nowhere is the irony greater than in the synoptic stories we call “the Last Supper.”  Jesus, facing imminent destruction, sitting with the ragtag bunch of bozos that still don’t quite get what is coming, loving them as dear friends […]

Metaphoraging

It is striking to me that the very healthiest congregations I visit all have a unique, compelling, and descriptive metaphor at the heart of their sense of identity and purpose.  One describes itself as an orchard where seeds of faith are planted and nurtured to produce fruit that feeds and […]

Typographical Terrors

April Fool’s Day inspired me to dig out a list of goofs, gaffs, and giggles from church signs, bulletins, newsletters, banners, cookbooks, and emails.  This is just for fun… or not. From a church cookbook recipe for “Southwestern Stew” — 1 small child, dried, ground to a fine powder. From […]