Spiritual Trends

Anti-Afflatus

What do 21st century United Methodists actually believe about the Holy Spirit?  Are we in danger of lumping the trans-rational in with the irrational and dismissing anything and everything supernatural with a primitive and premodern understanding of the world?  Secular critics like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher […]

Beyond Label or Category

I sat with a table of clergy and laity leaders talking about reaching “young people.”  In frustration, I asked them to define for me who these “young people” are and what they are like.  It became apparent that the “young people” we want to reach are a generic, bland hash […]

Emerged

I love young adults.  They slap me upside the head every time I meet with them.  They are the supreme reality check.  They burst my bubble every single time I talk to them.  I NEED twenty-somethings to help me see what I am missing.  Case in point.  I met with […]

The Costs of Low Expectations

While cleaning out some files the other day, I came across a folder of interviews I did in 2004 with 22 lifelong United Methodists who, in their 60s, 70s and 80s, made the decision to leave the denomination and join another church.  These people did not make the choice based […]

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 […]

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 […]