Epiphantasy

From the Gospel According to Bob, Chapter 2, vss. 13-44: Lo, and behold, travelers from the east and parts southeast and newer developments more to the south actually than the east, were on a quest — some having traveled weeks, others months, others years — all hoping to discover the Messiah […]

Whadjagit?

Over the next forty-eight hours, one question will be asked more often than all others combined — “whadjagit for Christmas?”  I use the contraction instead of “what did you get?” for a very simple, personal reason.  When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I had a classmate – Wiley […]

The Nice Curse

Well, it is official.  The United Methodist Church is “popular.”  At least this is what a recent survey from the Baptist LifeWay Research indicates.  Americans across the United States — well, 3-out-of-5 of them — claim a “very” or “somewhat” favorable view of the UMC.  (Does anyone else see “somewhat” as […]

Christmas Affluenza

Three related unrelated stories: sitting in a coffee shop listening to three women talk about how much they HATE Christmas shopping… yet they are doing it daily, one of them reports that she has spent over $10,000 so far this year (to be fair, including jewelry she bought herself), and […]

Christmas C.S.I.

My posts of the past two weeks have generated some fun and interesting discussions around Christmas.  While I am not a fan of the “war on Christmas” rhetoric adopted by evangelicals operating from a victim mentality, I do agree that Christmas as a religious observance is in trouble.  My contention, […]

An Unlikely Proposal

I have been commenting on the commercialization and cultural co-opting of Christmas, and a number of people ask, “So, what do you suggest?”  Well, here is a suggestion — though I know full well and good it won’t fly.  Solutions are only solutions if they work, and this doesn’t stand […]

Marketing the Messiah

From the Gospel According to Bob 1:26-2:12 (from the NKJV & The Message): And on the night unto which the child was to be born, Joseph and his wife Mary sought shelter, but coming late without a reservation, Mary was vexed with Joseph, saying, “I told you so.”  Joseph, aware that […]

Verbundenheit

When I was in college, I was good friends with two German students (Angela and Hans) who introduced me to a concept that shapes my understanding of church to this day.  The German word is “verbundenheit” and while the simplest translation is “solidarity,” in has a much deeper, textured, and […]

Occupy Christmas

I need to confess.  I missed four opportunities to witness to my Christian faith this week, where I had clear occasions to challenge, confront or correct opinions about Advent and Christmas.  I didn’t say anything then, but I’m going to say something now. #1 Advent is NOT Christmas (or Epiphany) […]

The Folly of Form-Focus

I have been asked by a number of people to comment on the 2009-2012 Study of Ministry Commission Report & Recommendations.  This I am about to do, but I need to set up the criteria by which I am judging the current effort.  There are three fundamental lenses (if you […]