The United Methodist Church

GC2016 — Four Ways to Be Church

I was asked an interesting question this morning at GC — one I am probably not qualified to answer, but one which I have an opinion, nonetheless.  “Assess the systemic constraint that is holding the church locked in its current deadlock on issues of scriptural authority, moral values, and institutional racism.”  […]

GC2016 — Day One: And Are We Yet Alive?

Through the decades, when Methodists/United Methodists gather together — especially in clergy gatherings — it is traditional to sing, And Are We Yet Alive?  It is not a moot point or a forgone conclusion.  The second verse is a challenge to this year’s General Conference: Preserved by power divine to […]

GC2016 — What a Difference Four Years Make?

I am preparing for Portland and ten days of “reporting” from General Conference.  I have intentionally not weighed in on so many of the topics generating dialogue, discussion and debate.  I made a commitment to listen and observe in preparation.  This gives me lots to talk about in the next […]

Baptism Is Thicker Than Water

At what point should The United Methodist Church admit its failures and simply split over the issues of human sexuality raised by LGBTQI people and those in the church unwilling or unable to accept them?  For me, the answer is simple — at the point that we admit that we […]

How Did I Get Here?

I unearthed an old file from my GBOD (General Board of Discipleship; now, Discipleship Ministries) days, and I discovered an article I wrote that was never published.  It focused on interviews with pastors, district superintendents, bishops, authors, and other key movers-and-shakers in The United Methodist Church, and it raised a […]

Christian Discipleship for Dummies

I was in conversation with some of my colleagues about the state of The United Methodist Church.  We each took a Post-It® Note and wrote what we thought was the most pressing need/critical issue facing the church.  Most of the notes were about declining numbers — not enough new members, […]

In Defense of Christian Crybabies

I never see it coming.  I write something I think is compelling or provocative, and no one seems to care.  I toss off something I don’t give much thought or energy to, and it gets 3,000 hits.  I posted “Crybaby Christians,” and thought I might get some push-back about it […]

Systemic Ambivalence

Systemic — pertaining to or affecting a whole system Ambivalence — holding two competing values in equal regard If the unexamined life is not worth living, then perhaps the unexamined institution is not worth having.  And we try desperately hard not to look too closely at the institution we serve […]

Who Are We Again?

At a recent event, I made the statement that today’s United Methodist Church exists because our predecessor denominations held three critically important functions in common: missional service, evangelism and social justice.  In other words, we hold core values of caring for others, inviting all people into a life-changing, life-fulfilling relationship […]