Core Values

Fantasy Planning

Picture, if you will, a small, rural congregation.  The average age in the church is early 60s.  The weekly worship attendance is approximately 50, and there is one nine-year-old who comes about once every three weeks.  She is the whole Sunday school.  The community is a church-going community — about […]

Guilty By Dissociation

A fascinating occurrence.  I reported an incident that happened in another conference in an article entitled Guerilla Christianity, and I have had four separate responses from other United Methodist Churches believing that I was talking about them!  Obviously, what happened in the incident reported struck a chord with these other […]

Guerrilla Christianity

“Why were we forced to speak nicely to one another?  Why couldn’t we just be honest?” an agitated woman accosted me.  “You have no right to censor us.  You make rules that we can’t accuse or blame or address people directly.  That’s not fair.”  This woman was furious that I […]

Principle-Free Living

Reading a recent post by sportswriter Rick Reilly (passed on to me by my son Josh) about a young female wrestler, Cassy Herkelman, from Iowa who lost focus and was defeated in the state finals because a young evangelical Christian, Joel Northrup,  forfeited an earlier match to her due to his conviction […]

Dia-Gnostics

¶252.7 Book of Discipline — The Church Council shall endlessly discuss the best course of action for the local congregation, finally approve it, and then present it to the whole church where it will inevitably be rejected after contentious debate. No, don’t bother looking this up in the Discipline.  It […]

Perfect Church 2011

Recently, there was an interesting discussion being held by some clergy leaders in the Wisconsin Annual Conference about the “ideal congregation.”  This brings to mind old conversations we used to have in New Jersey about “the perfect church.”  In both cases, most of the answers revolve around faithful commitment on the […]

The Emma Dilemma

Who deserves grace?  In this season of giving and goodwill, who should be helped and who warrants disdain?  I listened to a table-full of pastors lament this time of year when some unfortunate few attempt to exploit the system of charity for their own benefit. I won’t let anyone have […]

DMC – Divided Methodist Church

I have been dismayed by the recent “unanimous support” claims for our Call to Action report — since I have had personal conversations with people directly involved who are anything but fully on board.  Oh, I understand the act of solidarity and presenting a unified public face and the potential promotional […]

The Day After Yesterday

I will say it again: our future does not lie in our past.  Trying to “become” what we once were is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube (a lot more trouble than it is worth).  Why can’t we be the church we were in the 50s […]