The United Methodist Church

An Existential Loop

My long time spiritual guide and mentor, Carl Andry, Jr., used to tell us that the purpose of the church could be discerned through the three-fold approach to a single question: Why are we here?  For Dr. Andry, a congregation could only justify its existence by: Asking the question Answering […]

Building a Better Bible

It’s hard to justify the need for yet another Bible — there are a whole bunch out there from the ridiculous to the sublime — but the new Wesley Study Bible distinguishes itself as a worthwhile addition (edition?).  Not that the Bible needs improvement, but anything that illuminates and explains […]

Blasphemediocrity

blasphemy (noun) — irreverent or disrespectful words or actions concerning God or sacred things. mediocrity (noun) — a state of poor or barely adequate quality; neither good nor bad. blasphemediocrity (noun) — the  disrespect of God and the sacred by accepting barely adequate and/or poor quality standards of spiritual belief […]

Point, Counterpoint, GracePoint

I’ve received a number of emails and phone calls asking if I am going to weigh in on the GracePoint UMC/GracePoint Community Church (Wichita, KS) split story.  Well, yes and no.  I don’t know enough about the specific story to comment intelligently, but on the surface and in general this appears to […]

Confirmation Consternation

Worship Connection posted an interesting article by Shane Raynor this week, Reinventing Confirmation.  As I read it, I experienced a strange ambivalence — agreeing with many of the observations Shane makes while feeling like something was missing.  Some of the insightful points in the article challenge the “one size fits […]

Oh We, Of Little Faith

I received three emails today that I call “Chicken Little” messages.  You know, the panicky ‘sky-is-falling’ folks who take every apocalyptic message as gospel fact.  Somewhere, someone is marching out the old, tired chestnut that the United Methodist Church is dying and won’t be around in thirty or forty years.  […]

Theology of Worship?

A few year’s ago, I attended worship at a hot, new, up-and-coming congregation situated in a strip mall, eschewing anything smacking of “traditional” church (at least in The United Methodist system).  We sang a lot of ‘contemporary’ tunes, saw a ‘post-modern’ dramatic interpretation of scripture (in mime and ‘liturgical’ dance) […]

The Big Five

For years, United Methodists have pledged to uphold the church by their “prayers, presence, gifts, and service.”  Just this year a fifth promise was added — “witness.”  It is a little problematic that we’ve added a fifth when we haven’t done a very good job with the first four — […]