Core Values

Vital Is As Vital Does

How are we defining “vital” in the UMC?  Is vitality mere existence?  Is a congregation with a lot of warm, passive bodies vital?  Are people huddled inside their doors happily waiting to be friendly to unsuspecting visitors vital?  Is a congregation that hosts a dozen small groups that do movie/football/bowling […]

Narrative Transformation

In recent comments, an interesting thread appears: how do we in the church have open-ended conversation about the deepest and most challenging aspects of our life together?  Too often, we have no vision for what a new or different conversation might look/sound like.  When we think about changing our thinking, […]

De-Loved Community

We face a tragic reality in our United Methodist Church today — the inability to disagree in Christian compassion and fellowship.  For the past few years I have been promoting a vision, albeit personal, for beloved community.  This vision is fairly specific, and contains the following propositions: Beloved Community is… […]

Homophily Abounds

Recent church visits strike me with an undeniable pattern — we tend to associate only with those most like us.  I have yet to visit any church that does not consider itself “friendly,” yet rarely is there a deep level of awareness that answers the question, “friendly with/to whom?”  Two […]

We v. They

Like everyone else, Raleigh Hayes saw the world, and the people with whom he was obliged to share it, through the kaleidoscope of his own colored designs.  As the years turned the viewer round and round, the bits of glass fell into new patterns, but the perspective remained limited to Raleigh’s eye.  […]

Partisan Piety

Concepts of separation of church and state, the divide between science/academia and religion, faith and politics are generally muddy and misinformed.  Early attempts to guarantee religious freedom and protect against theocracy have come to mean, in some minds, that the physical and the metaphysical should have nothing in common.  And when […]

Church Or Society

I am currently attending my first board meeting with the General Board of Church and Society.  Up front, let me say that I think this is one of the most important, most valuable of our general church agencies.  I understand that this view is not shared by all.  In fact, […]

Hitting the Hard Stuff

It is interesting to watch the tensions mount and see a large gathering of competent, mostly-professional, self-possessed people get all flustered and fall all over themselves when someone raises an uncomfortable issue.  It won’t be surprising to anyone to know that the gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender relationship to the church was raised — […]

God Bless You, George G. Hunter, III!

Our United Methodist Publishing House released five titles in their new Adaptive Leadership Series, and I have had the pleasure of reading each one.  I will be weighing in on each in time, but far and away my favorite is George Hunter’s, “The Recovery of a Contagious Methodist Movement.”  What […]

Inadequate

I guess people actually follow my blog fairly regularly.  I’ve received dozens of emails asking, “Where are you?”  I have taken a couple of weeks off from writing to do more reading — preparing for General Conference, following the streams of points and counterpoints flying throughout the denomination, and catching […]