Religion in the U.S.

Holidanger

On the cusp of the Labor Day weekend, a memory came to me of an odd — crazy — man in my neighborhood growing up who vehemently believed holidays were evil and unChristian.  Harold McKeever was one of those perennial “old men” — my mother remembered him being old when […]

Fear of Faith

In my youth, I had a friend who was obsessed with the devil.  A Christian, but obsessed with the devil.  Satan haunted his every waking moment.  He was constantly warning all of us of the power of the Deceiver — waiting around every corner to trick us, trap us, tempt […]

Conditional Christianity

There is no greater power on earth than the love of God, evidenced in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Of course, this gift is only given to Christians. I heard a United Methodist pastor preach this recently, and I called him a few days later to ask if […]

Holy Warps

Okay, I understand disagreements over theology.  I understand disagreements over fundamental beliefs — between different religions.  I think most of the divisions and debates are pointless, but I understand them.  What I don’t understand is the virulent and vehement disagreement over discipleship and church membership.  What are our defining features? […]

Holy Disorientation

The root of the word “orientation” comes from the idea of using the rising sun — the east — as a reference point to stay on course.  We” orient,” then as the day passes into night, we become “dis-oriented,” until the sun reappears and we can “re-orient” ourselves.  A sublime […]

Back to Basics

News flash!  We’re making the gospel harder than it needs to be.  I mean, how difficult is “good news?”  What part of “God is love” is so confusing?  What’s with our penchant to load up “for God so loved the world that he gave his only son” with rules, regulations, […]

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 […]

Why the Church We Have Is Not the Church We Need

Is the church relevant in the 21st century?  Depends on what your definition of “church” is.  Looking biblically/historically, there is still a desperate need for the ecclesia — the gathered body of Christ serving the world.  Looking culturally, specifically in the United States, what we know as church bears little […]

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 […]

Moxie

Moxie — 1. vigor; verve; pep, 2. courage and aggressiveness, 3. skill; know-how.  Moxie is an American slang word, coined from a depression-era soda pop (that tastes a little like carbonated shoe-polish…).  It came to be a term of admiration — someone with Moxie was brash, bold, eccentric, impressive and […]