Core Values

When Fruit Goes Bad

By our fruits we will be known.  What’s that smell?  Why all the flies?  What a waste.  The rotten fruit of the Spirit is this: conditional love, repressed joy, fake peace, pretended patience, niceness passing as kindness, generosity to those who “deserve” it, narrow-minded faith-fullness, passive-aggressive gentleness, and demanding others […]

The Unforgiving

I am back from Annual Conference (and a few days off to recuperate…).  My inbox is packed with mail from people who loved this year’s conference, hated this year’s conference, were proud of this year’s conference, were ashamed by this year’s conference, were excited by the delegation we elected to […]

The Costs of Low Expectations

While cleaning out some files the other day, I came across a folder of interviews I did in 2004 with 22 lifelong United Methodists who, in their 60s, 70s and 80s, made the decision to leave the denomination and join another church.  These people did not make the choice based […]

Plugged In

Two of my colleagues have recently returned from renewal retreats, and it reminds me again how very critical spiritual self-care is for leaders, both clergy and lay.  I conducted a variety of studies on clergy wellness, morale, self-care, renewal and spiritual practice when I worked for the General Board of […]

R.D.E.

I have been reading Paul Watzlawick’s fun and funky, The Situation is Hopeless, But Not Serious — The Pursuit of Unhappiness.  The central thesis of this short work is that human beings create their own unhappiness and discontent in dozens of creative unconscious ways.  In one section, Watzlawick focuses on a […]

The Folly of Fear

Man, I will never forget where I was May 21 when the world ended… oh, wait, that never happened.  Most of the people I know and talk to didn’t give Harold Camping’s latest rapture prediction any credence, but I was amazed at how much airplay and interest is actually got.  […]

Off Target

Two passing conversations yesterday stuck with me.  I got a call from a former colleague and current retired bishop who asked if I were planning to go to General Conference.  I responded that it would be up to the conference whether I get elected or not.  His reply to me […]

Muddling Through the Middle

I read an article a few years ago that stated that our brains are hardwired to avoid ambiguity.  Even though mature reasoning demands a high level of abstract thinking and working through contradictions, conundrums, and puzzles, the normal state is one of binary certainty.  We want our lives to operate in […]

For the Love of God

I am not (generally) a fatalist, especially when it comes to God.  I do not envision a God with too much time on his/her anthropomorphized hands, idly messing with human beings — poking here and there to see what jumps, steering a tornado into one group instead of another, giving […]