Critical Thinking

Going Off Half Cocked

Notice the gun imagery in the title?  Does this mean I believe in gun violence?  Does this mean I am insensitive to the lives torn apart by firearms in this country?  Do you think I support torture? In the past couple weeks, some survey information was shared that indicates that […]

Information, Formation, Transformation

My definition of Christian education is (and has been for over thirty years): Information needed for formation that leads to transformation.  Christian education was a central focus of the research I did on congregational vitality (1999-2006) and I found quite a bit of evidence that confirmed the value of such […]

Living the Questions

Answers are over-rated.  Good questions beat right answers every time.  The reason?  Rarely in real life is there ever a single “right” answer.  There are good answers.  There are workable answers.  There are reasonable answers.  And in most cases there are multiple answers.  Answers are easy, but asking the right […]

The Latest Pewhaha: Faith in Flux

Like everything else in popular media, sensation sells when it comes to religion in the United States.  And also like the popular media, the product shared with the public is shaped to “make news.”  Good thing?  Bad thing?  Doesn’t really matter.  What matters is, how do we cut through all […]

Flatline or Learning Curve?

In medical jargon, “to flatline” means “to die.”  In educational and developmental circles, a “learning curve” indicates the challenge to recognize, adopt, and master new information.  If something is simple, the learning curve is gently sloped and short, but if there is a lot of new and/or complex information to […]

A Tale of Three Paradigms

Once upon a time, Christians in the United States rushed to build church buildings anywhere and everywhere they could — especially close to other churches who didn’t quite worship God the right way.  There was a flurry of competition, with new “independent,” “non-denominational,” “alternative” groups joining the mix each and […]

No Future for Leadership?

A number of interesting studies and articles – from sources as diverse as Harvard Business Review to Wired magazine to The Economist to Rolling Stone – focus on a growing short-sightedness and reactionary quality to organizational leadership.  Many companies (…The United Methodist Church aptly fits the category) are focusing the […]

Science & Religion — Ten Degrees of Separation

War is a horrible thing, especially an unnecessary and meaningless war.  One such terrible and tragic conflict exists between science and religion.  The popular media loves the whole idea — physics vs. metaphysics, secular vs. spiritual, rational vs. emotional, fact vs. fiction — and always portrays the issue in stark […]

The Important-Good Distinction

I have long made the differentiation between “good” and “important” books.   In my experience, all good books are important, but there are many important books that are anything but good.  The Shack is an important book, (but in few ways good) as are The Prayer of Jabez, The Secret, The […]