Reform or Refunction?

Well, what do you know, I basically agree with the General Secretaries of our General Boards and Agencies (with a few exceptions): we should be very clear about the missional outcomes we are trying to produce before we determine the best structure to adopt.  Amazing.  There are some in the […]

Settling

I was speaking with one of our retired bishops recently, who framed the current recommendations this way, “Well, it’s better than no plan at all.”  There are so many things wrong with this statement, and each one is more depressing than the last.  If the plans are poor plans, then, […]

The Mediocrity of More

Pick up a ball, toss it in the air, catch it.  Take two balls and toss them one at a time, catch them.  So far, so good.  Very few dropped balls.  Take a third and juggle them.  With practice, you become sure-handed and drop very few.  But what about four […]

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 […]