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 […]

Thanks Giving

There is often a chasm between what we say is important and the actions we take which reveal what is truly important (like saying “we want to make disciples,” then counting “worship attenders.”) to us.  Something is always driving us, but identifying exactly what it is isn’t always easy.  You […]

C is for…

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, Oh, Lord!  Please don’t let me be misunderstood. Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell & Sol Marcus I received an email from a woman in Texas — I do seem to irritate people from Texas more than from any other state (right, Don […]

The Mediocre Commission

From the Gospel According to Bob, 28:16-20: Then Jesus sayeth unto them, “Go, invite people to come sitteth for an hour in church once every six weeks or so, telling them that very little will be expected of them, that they will heareth good music and that there will be coffee and snacks.”  […]

United Methodist Preservation Society

The latest wave of announcements about our future are dismaying.  Not because they are negative, but because they are pedestrian.  We are not “rearranging deck-chairs on the Titanic,” as some assert; we are strategically planning and designing a Titanic upon which to rearrange deck-chairs.  The short-sighted, defensive, U.S.-centric, survival-mentality, institutional […]

Di*cip*eshi*

What in God’s name do we think we are doing?  If I hear one more prominent church leader define discipleship as going to church I will scream.  We aren’t going to count the number of people who attend church anymore.  Some genius decided we will count “disciples” in worship.  What?  […]

Christi-inanity

Four recent conversations point out a serious (and growing) problem in many of our congregations: we don’t know what to do with smart people who ask tough questions.  I have had (intentional) encounters with people in the state of Wisconsin who have visited United Methodist congregations and found them lacking.  […]