Obtuse Is As Obtuse Does

Okay, let’s face it, we have a lot of differences that are not easily reconcilable.  We are split over dozens — maybe hundreds of issues.  So, why do we go out of our way to misunderstand one another and to ascribe negative (even malicious) intention where there is none?  Obviously, […]

Disciple Dissipation

I listened with growing despair to a prominent United Methodist leader talking about our mission.  Within just a few sentences he completely devalued and distorted the entire concept of discipleship. “Once we say ‘yes’ to Jesus, we are forever after his disciples.” “Discipleship is a gift, a privilege — it […]

T-Shirt Evangelism

Back in 2006, I spoke to the Western New York Annual Conference about living the “Gifts, Graces, and Fruit of the Spirit.” (Based on my sensational book, Beyond Money — no longer in print, so contact Discipleship Resources at the General Board of Discipleship and raise a stink…)  For the Fruit of […]

Jurisfictional Conference

Okay, this is just weird.  Holding a Jurisdictional Conference (JC) with no bishop to elect and only 25 nominations to general church boards and agencies is bizarre.  The rhythm, drama, and impact of JC is greatly diminished — and there’s virtually nothing to do (unless you serve on Nominations or […]

Childish Church

This is a rant, so take it with a grain of whatever.  I met with a young pastor and asked him how his ministry was going.  He replied, “We have eight new members and our attendance is up from 35 to over 50 a week.”  I said, “That’s not what […]

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 […]

Cheapening the Church

Culture works on church like a cancer.  Popularity is the new standard of excellence.  Having a slogan or a sound bite or a brand is so much more important than being relevant or having integrity.  Our get-’em-in-the-doors-by-any-means mentality has done more to kill the church than almost anything else, but it […]

Farewell, Mr. Bradbury

I am getting over the news that Ray Bradbury died.  He lived a full and amazing 91 years, but even so, the news hits me hard.  I discovered Ray Bradbury when I was eleven years old – R is for Rocket was the book — and in the next few […]

GC 2012: Looking Back

Okay, following a surreal April (Korea, a week on the road in-state, two weeks at GC in Tampa) I took a week off to reflect, reconsider, and to hack my way through a rotten chest cold.  Now I am back to review what the heck happened at General Conference — […]

Winding Down & Wrapping Up

Okay, friends, what have we learned?  First, General Conference is hard.  It is emotionally, physically and spiritually taxing.  It demands a Herculean amount of concentration and effort, sifting and sorting and making sense of thousands (literally) of pages of very tiny print of churchy legalese.  And it is not perfect.  We […]