Core Values

The Limits of Memory

I was talking with a colleague who is scheduling some work in south Manhattan.  He shook his head and shared, incredulously, that he wanted to come in the second week of September to meet with ecumenical leadership and they wouldn’t do it because of September 11th.  He looked at me […]

Daniel In the Liar’s Den

Okay.  I have written some controversial — even inflammatory — things on this blog, but I never thought that the idea that “pastor’s shouldn’t lie” would generate the kind of energy it has.  (Caught on the Ethical Horns of a Moral Dilemma) Many people are leaving comments, but I also […]

Hard Questions, Hard Answers

A colleague took me aside recently and said, “You know, you’re upsetting a lot of people.”  I looked at him and immediately asked, “Who?”  Furtively, my friend said, “Well, you know, leaders in the church.”  “Like who?” I asked, then added, “A lot?”  He went on to name two people […]

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 […]

Enough About Sufficiency

If I hear another middle class beneficiary of white privilege talk about “sufficiency” I am going to throw something!  Of all the pretentious, patronizing, and paternalistic (even though many of the voices are female) perspectives our blessed leaders could take, none are more disingenuous.  Such platitudes as “living simply,” “doing […]

Five Fruits of Practical Congregations

With apologies to Bishop Schnase for the play on words of his own title (Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations), I want to examine five characteristics — fruits, if you will — of truly vital and healthy churches.  They are somewhat unique, in that producing these fruits is exceptionally difficult, especially in […]

“We” Faith in a “Me” Culture

I am convinced that the most serious challenge to the Christian church in the United States is the individualistic, consumeristic, self-indulgent, and personal entitlement mindset of most Americans.  On a recent church visit, I met a forty-something woman who told me, “I come to church for me.  I ask my […]

Safe Church 2009

I got a heartbreaking email today.  I know it is sincere.  I know it is well meant.  I know it is representative of a large group of today’s United Methodist believers.  What I believe… let me reiterate, it is my belief… is that it is an opinion grounded in fear […]