Congregational Life

Christi-inanity

Four recent conversations point out a serious (and growing) problem in many of our congregations: we don’t know what to do with smart people who ask tough questions.  I have had (intentional) encounters with people in the state of Wisconsin who have visited United Methodist congregations and found them lacking.  […]

Choose Your C

I have been reading both Bruggemann and Block (The Word That Redescribes the World  and Community/Abundant Community) and have been challenged in my thinking to a great degree about how we live together in healthy Christian community.  Both books press a very simple, yet signficant distinction between two Cs: consumer […]

Garden Club Christianity

Every community has its own unique interests and passions, and when I served in northern New Jersey in the 1980s, that interest was gardening.  In Westwood and the three towns surrounding (Emerson, Hillsdale, and Park Ridge), garden clubs were the rage.  To be a pastor seeking to connect with the […]

Accountability Ability

Three “laws” of accountability: There is no progress without accountability — holding people accountable to the vows they make is the key to development, growth and maturing Actions have consequences — where there are no consequences (positive or negative) there is no accountability Lack of accountability renders relationships meaningless — […]

One Indignation Under God

Have you noticed the mammoth chip some United Methodists have on their shoulder?  Just mentioning it makes some people mad.  I’ve received eight nasty emails since yesterday, when I posted the not-too-profound concept that anger is a choice and that no one else can offend us; we can merely choose […]

Loser’s Choice

One key to our future is the way we choose to deal with one another, and I emphasize the word choose.  Often, we prefer to ignore the fact that we choose to react or respond to others as we do.  I’ll use myself as an example.  The fact is, no one […]

Stop Diss-ing My Church

We all have a very simple decision to make: will we build or will we destroy.  Now, simply making this decision doesn’t guarantee anything — many who choose to build and create don’t actually accomplish much, but at least they try.  But those who choose to destroy — or simply […]

Running Out of Options

What is the greatest threat to our United Methodist Church?  Is it decline?  Is it tolerance of sin?  Is it judgmentalism?  Is it hypocrisy?  How about controversy and conflict?  Nope.  There is one, simple threat to our continued existence and that is US.  Our church has been subverted by a […]

Tough Love/Tough Luck

But the lesson which our blessed Lord inculcates here, and which he illustrates by this example, is that God is in all things, and that we are to see the Creator in the face of every creature; that we should use and look upon nothing as separate from God, which […]

Failure In An Instant

At what point do we finally wake-up to the fact that there is no such thing as a lasting, transformative “quick-fix?”  We have suffered through over 50 years of “church-in-box” programs that have produced poor results at best.  Disciple Bible Study came closest to delivering transformation, but ultimately “popular” did […]