spiritual practices

Prayer Stupid

Growing up in the Midwest in the 1960s, we had a term for people too stupid to live — prayer stupid.  The not-all-too-sensitive meaning was that prayer was all that was left for these folks — they had no other options.  Their guardian angels were beaten, tattered, and torn — […]

Sinking the Steward Ship

Funny thing.  Writing about stewardship all this week resulted in a 30% drop-off in my readership.  I’ve gotten a handful of emails this week expressing sentiments like “I expect better from you,” and “you’re as bad as my local church,” and “why are you marching out this tired old song,” […]

Irresponsibly Unresponsive

What responsibility does the individual have for her or his own spiritual growth and development?  At least 70% of people leaving The United Methodist Church give “spiritual needs not met” as one of the reasons for their departure.  (Based on 429 “exit” interviews, 2002-2003)  But what do they mean when […]

Near-Miss Evangelism

When did “evangelism” become “marketing?”  At what point did the church rise up and say, “You know?  Evangelism doesn’t have to be personal.  We can phone (email, billboard, television, webcast) it in!”  The shift from relational evangelism to representational evangelism is almost complete in some areas.  At the School of […]

A More Prayermissive Society

Various recent studies and articles note an upswing in the practice of prayer in American culture.  Must be a good thing, right?  More prayer, more devotion to God?  More prayer, more kindness and compassion in the world?  More prayer, more attention to God’s will?  Not so much.  The increase in prayer […]

Spiritual Dispurnment

For the past fifteen years I have had opportunities to meet with a wide variety of congregational, conference, and agency leadership teams to look at their processes and practices.  Generally, I am there by invitation to offer insights and suggestions for improvement.  One of my most frequent suggestions often meets […]