Critical Thinking

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 […]

Fantasy Planning

Picture, if you will, a small, rural congregation.  The average age in the church is early 60s.  The weekly worship attendance is approximately 50, and there is one nine-year-old who comes about once every three weeks.  She is the whole Sunday school.  The community is a church-going community — about […]

Are You Serious?

I was talking with a small group of young adults about the potential of the church to transform the world.  My argument was simple:  if we would strive to find a meaningful way to engage 7 million plus United Methodists in the United States in some form of life-affirming missional […]

The Truth Trap

I was driving up to Appleton, Wisconsin the other day for a meeting and I tuned into a Christian radio station, where a very passionate young man was teaching a Bible study.  His topic was “God’s Absolute Truth,” and he was making a case for there being one absolute, indisputable, […]

DMC – Divided Methodist Church

I have been dismayed by the recent “unanimous support” claims for our Call to Action report — since I have had personal conversations with people directly involved who are anything but fully on board.  Oh, I understand the act of solidarity and presenting a unified public face and the potential promotional […]

United Metholdist

We’re not getting older; we’re getting better.  Well, actually we are getting older, but this doesn’t mean we can’t get better as well.  The graying of our church — a subject of great concern and incredible misplaced anxiety — is worth looking into, but as an opportunity, not a problem […]

Children of God

I’ve gotten in trouble lately for an idea that I thought was fairly safe, but turns out (as many ideas do) is theologically open to debate.   I suggested that human beings, created in the image of God, might be children of God.  I do have to acknowledge that this is […]

Communichaos

Pastors are generally noted for their preaching and teaching — their communication skills.  Yet, have you ever noticed how often “expert communicators” have so much difficulty communicating?  I have been doing church consultation for almost twenty years, and the number one concern at both congregational and conference levels is often […]

Model Students

We’re looking for a program that will turn things around.  We’re ready for change, but we lack that one key piece.  If we can just find the right model, we’re set!  We’re taking 28 people to Leadership Institute in October.  Our plan is to go take all the workshops we […]