Core Values

The Contentment Decision

I have been reading some interesting studies recently that confirm research I’ve done in The United Methodist Church on morale, satisfaction and contentment: our happiest people are happy by choice, not by chance.  This is a hard message for people who live from a basic victim mentality who feel the […]

Muddled Maturity

Every once in a while I strike a chord — I have received emails daily about the past couple posts on “mature” Christian spirituality.  It seems everyone wants to use their own personal spiritual level as the definition of maturity — which is very normal and human.  If we could conceive […]

Growth Imperative

The Christian faith is about growth and maturing.  In recent posts, I’ve talked about “mature” faith, and the response has been interesting.  Many frame the term “mature” as judgmental, exclusive, and unkind — when compared to “less mature” or “immature.”  But developmental and qualitative growth — improvement, strengthening, seasoning, evolving — […]

Ecumenically Challenged

There are few things I hate worse than being sick on the road.  My wife and I are in Columbus, Ohio and I determined that now would be the ideal time to get a four-alarm sinus infection.  I can’t focus, I can’t breathe, I have a splitting headache… and I […]

Unoty

I am attending a National Workshop on Christian Unity this week in Columbus, Ohio.  It is an annual ecumenical gathering that focuses on how to build bridges, foster friendly relationships, and improve communication between Christian communions.  We talk about finding common ground, celebrating each other, and discovering spiritual synergy where […]

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

We tend to celebrate our pluralistic and richly diverse culture and, in the church, we talk long and loud about radical hospitality and open hearts/minds/doors.  Yet, we still seem to be having problems knitting our intercultural parts into a well-integrated body of Christ.  There is so much latent and subversive […]

B Church

At a recent workshop, discussion shifted to the question, “So, just what IS the current reality of our local churches in United Methodism?”  The following framework emerged from this discussion.  In summary: The United Methodist Church is an amalgam of three key aspects that work well in combination but are […]

Prayerheads

I am deeply distressed by the state of prayer in The United Methodist Church – at least among pastors.  As I am visiting with clergy leaders, I am asking about their personal devotional lives, and far and wide I am finding that many have no personal devotional life.  I have […]

Fruititude

U.S. Christians are a lazy, passive, well-intentioned bunch.  I am not talking about the 11% who are engaged in some form of regular hands-on ministry.  I am speaking of the 89% who define “active” faith as attending church when convenient, showing up at an occasional potluck supper, buying the doo-dad-du […]

Anti-Afflatus

What do 21st century United Methodists actually believe about the Holy Spirit?  Are we in danger of lumping the trans-rational in with the irrational and dismissing anything and everything supernatural with a primitive and premodern understanding of the world?  Secular critics like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher […]