Identity & Purpose

Systemic Ambivalence

Systemic — pertaining to or affecting a whole system Ambivalence — holding two competing values in equal regard If the unexamined life is not worth living, then perhaps the unexamined institution is not worth having.  And we try desperately hard not to look too closely at the institution we serve […]

Who Are We Again?

At a recent event, I made the statement that today’s United Methodist Church exists because our predecessor denominations held three critically important functions in common: missional service, evangelism and social justice.  In other words, we hold core values of caring for others, inviting all people into a life-changing, life-fulfilling relationship […]

I Love a Mystery

Though I am not overly superstitious, I DO try to pay attention to unusual coincidences.  Over the last three days, I have been led, in one way or another, to look up four passages of scripture:  Ephesians 6:18-20, I Corinthians 4:1-2, Ephesians 1:7-10, and 1 Timothy 3:16.  Each of these […]

Come and Gone

Happy Boxing Day, everyone!  Christmas is OVER.  It used to be that Christmas Day heralded the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas — or, Christmastide, if you prefer — leading to the arrival of the magi for Epiphany.  At the very least, the eight days following Christmas held special […]

Antagonisn’t

It has been interesting entering the conversation about the future of our denomination and our interest, inclination and ability to stay at the table to work things out.  While I feel strongly that we are better together than apart, I acknowledge that others feel strongly that enough is enough, it […]

Remembering Who We Are

One of the things I love about the church is that you never know what kind of impact you’re going to make on the lives of those around you.  At a very simple level, the church offers an opportunity to do good and, at the very least, do no harm.  […]

Blind-Sided

I always feel that I am serving some purpose when I blog and it turns out that I tick off everyone.  By “weighing in” on all the talk of splitting the church (officially) I have “taken sides.”  However, which side is a bit confusing and hard to determine.  Consider these […]

An Unabashed Plug

Clergy and laity leadership across The United Methodist Church — attention.  When you receive the November/December Interpreter magazine, read it, study it, share it, preach it, teach it.  It focuses on The Advance — the United Methodist commitment to second mile giving projects that truly transform the world.  In the […]

Grace-free Living

Two recent conversations (that I eavesdropped) cause me a moment to pause.  Both occurred in United Methodist churches, both involving long-time members.  Conversation one went something like this: Obamacare is going to kill America.  Giving free health care to those who give nothing back is ridiculous.  No one is giving […]

Shmoo Church

Showing my age, one metaphor that comes to mind for the contemporary United Methodist Church is the Shmoo, from the Li’l Abner comic strip — originally appearing culturally in the late 1940s, and appearing in my young awareness sometime in the early 1960s when my passion for comics and cartoons hit its […]