Mission of the Church

A Church Shrouded in Mystery

We’ve got a problem.  We don’t know who we are.  We have become such an interesting hodge-podge of new and old Christians from such varied backgrounds as Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Reformed, New Age, Independent-Evangelical, Assemblies of God, UCC, UUC, MOUSE as well as UMC and all […]

What’s Wrong With Us?

The answer to the question, “what’s wrong with us?” is that we are fixated on the question “what’s wrong with us?”  Doom, gloom, decline, conflict, controversy, division, discord — all addressed with a cheery irrational rah-rah attitude.  National events that bludgeon participants with “Death Tsunami’s” and calls to action that […]

Caught in the Cross-Fire

I find that I am tired of defending the position that Christians should be advocates for the weak, the poor, the oppressed, and the taken-advantage-of.  For me, this is a no brainer.  But I must confess that I err on the side of care for the underdog at the expense […]

Dia-Gnostics

¶252.7 Book of Discipline — The Church Council shall endlessly discuss the best course of action for the local congregation, finally approve it, and then present it to the whole church where it will inevitably be rejected after contentious debate. No, don’t bother looking this up in the Discipline.  It […]

The Day After Yesterday

I will say it again: our future does not lie in our past.  Trying to “become” what we once were is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube (a lot more trouble than it is worth).  Why can’t we be the church we were in the 50s […]

A.D.D.-U.M.C.

Church, church, you are distracted by many things…  In response to a pastor’s call to pray for the people of Haiti (and the current cholera crisis), I heard a lay person whisper, “I thought we took care of that!”  I think she was referring to the earthquake response earlier in […]

A Call to Auction

Let’s just put it out there to the highest bidder.  We obviously don’t know what to do with it.  The new Call to Action report came out saying what we already know and offering the same old tired suggestions for “widespread reform.”  What a short memory we have.  We studied […]

Make-No-Wave United Methodist Church

I received an interesting email from a pastor today who “followed my advice” and raised questions about expectations and accountability in the church.  He asked the “what is the church?” and “what is the church for?” questions, and zeroed in on what our membership vows really mean.  He was shocked […]

We Are The Church… Together?

Yesterday, I posted a piece on the nature and purpose of the church, thinking it to be a fairly safe (but important) topic.  I received this email today, and share it (eliminating names and any reference to the specific congregation, and framing it as dialog — with the author’s permission). […]

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

Church.  What a concept!  There are two simple questions I believe every congregation should take some time to seriously consider: 1) what is “church,” and, 2) what is church “for”?  We assume we know what church is, but much of what we think and believe is nothing more than validation […]