Endings & Beginnings

Those who know me well know that my 2012 crawled to a close with a whimper and a moan.  An old back injury flared up with a bone spur off my spine that keeps me in a constant state of excruciating pain and chronic distress.  I have NEVER experienced pain […]

Whose Christmas?

I had an interesting encounter at my favorite coffee shop (Beans ‘n’ Cream, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin — greatest people in the world…) last week.  One of the regulars made the following observation, which led to a spirited conversation — “Christmas would be so much more enjoyable if all the religious […]

Manipunativity

I can quite honestly say I am having a “cognitive dissonance Advent”.  Late in November I received a monograph from two graduate students for review and comments.  One of the most intriguing aspects of the monograph is that its authors are young females — one Israeli and one Palestinian.  Their […]

The Janus Conundrum

A day of new beginnings often produces mixed results — hopefulness & skepticism, promise and problems, anticipation and anxiety.  In The United Methodist Church we are poised — some say on the threshold of a new day, others say on the brink of utter annihilation (most feel we are somewhere […]

De-Loved Community

We face a tragic reality in our United Methodist Church today — the inability to disagree in Christian compassion and fellowship.  For the past few years I have been promoting a vision, albeit personal, for beloved community.  This vision is fairly specific, and contains the following propositions: Beloved Community is… […]

Homophily Abounds

Recent church visits strike me with an undeniable pattern — we tend to associate only with those most like us.  I have yet to visit any church that does not consider itself “friendly,” yet rarely is there a deep level of awareness that answers the question, “friendly with/to whom?”  Two […]

We v. They

Like everyone else, Raleigh Hayes saw the world, and the people with whom he was obliged to share it, through the kaleidoscope of his own colored designs.  As the years turned the viewer round and round, the bits of glass fell into new patterns, but the perspective remained limited to Raleigh’s eye.  […]

Partisan Piety

Concepts of separation of church and state, the divide between science/academia and religion, faith and politics are generally muddy and misinformed.  Early attempts to guarantee religious freedom and protect against theocracy have come to mean, in some minds, that the physical and the metaphysical should have nothing in common.  And when […]

Church Or Society

I am currently attending my first board meeting with the General Board of Church and Society.  Up front, let me say that I think this is one of the most important, most valuable of our general church agencies.  I understand that this view is not shared by all.  In fact, […]