Core Values

A Return to the Dark Ages?

Super Bowl 44 — over.  I am a huge Colts fan, but even I can’t be unhappy with the Saints victory.  Who could begrudge New Orleans anything?  I am delighted for every Saints fan everywhere.  I wish I could feel as good about the Super Bowl ads, but I don’t.  […]

Via Negativa

I note with dismay that your blog is consistently critical of the church.  It doesn’t seem fair or balanced to continuously pick at flaws while ignoring the good.  While we certainly have problems, there is little benefit in dwelling on them all the time.  I don’t care to be made […]

Thinking Our Way Out of Church

All I did was ask questions.  People would make broad statements and I would ask, “How do you know?”  People would claim supernatural and paranormal explanations and I would ask, “Is there another explanation?’  Attributes would be given to God that didn’t come from the Bible and I would ask, […]

Recalculating

I have a special relationship with my GPS.  It’s a Garmin and her name is Greta.  Like most couples, we have moments when we don’t see eye to eye.  Greta wants me to go one way, and I choose to go another.  Every time I disregard Greta’s sage advice, she […]

A Heart As Big As God’s

An adequate life, like Spinoza’s definition of an adequate idea, might be described as a life which has grasped intuitively the whole nature of things, and has seen and felt and refocused itself to this whole.  An inadequate life is one that lacks this adjustment to the whole nature of […]

When It Matters Most

Sometimes it takes a crisis.  Sometimes it takes a terrible tragedy to remind us what’s important.  In a week of unremitting sadness for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, it has been oddly refreshing to turn to United Methodist information sources and not read about our institutional plight, but […]

Prophet Margin

Are there prophets in the church today?  Are there any willing to speak the truth regardless of the consequences?  Anyone willing to point out the unconscionable amount of money and time we waste in meetings and conferences?  Anyone willing to point out that our own systems and structures are as unfair […]

Ascribes & Pharetics

There are two deadly types of leaders in today’s congregations: ascribes — those who ascribe negative intentions to other people’s actions — and pharetics — legalistic types who go out of their way to misconstrue and manipulate information to make others look bad.  Two quick illustrations: A young pastor left […]

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 […]

Paradoxology

Is our faith a blessing or a burden?  Are the practices of prayer, worship, fasting, giving, serving and studying gifts or obligations?  The way a person answers these questions is very telling as to the role and value of faith in her or his life.  It is continuously fascinating to […]