Perfect Church 2011

Recently, there was an interesting discussion being held by some clergy leaders in the Wisconsin Annual Conference about the “ideal congregation.”  This brings to mind old conversations we used to have in New Jersey about “the perfect church.”  In both cases, most of the answers revolve around faithful commitment on the […]

Sleeping Dragon

I have worked with churches in a wide variety of settings and a wide range of relative states of health.  From these experiences, a conceptual frame emerges that I have found helpful as a consultation tool, and as a way of understanding not only what is happening in a given […]

I’m Back!

Hi, Friends!  I will begin posting anew from Epiphany forward, but I am just getting back on my feet from a severe bronchial infection that laid me flat for almost four weeks.  I am digging my way out of a mountain of backlogged work and am slowly getting my energy […]

Christmas Ghosts

Having just watched the 19th different version of Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol, this year, I am impressed by how universal and enduring this story is.  The redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge is so compelling, even as simplistic as it is.  The visitation of four ghosts that result in total conversion […]

The Emma Dilemma

Who deserves grace?  In this season of giving and goodwill, who should be helped and who warrants disdain?  I listened to a table-full of pastors lament this time of year when some unfortunate few attempt to exploit the system of charity for their own benefit. I won’t let anyone have […]

The Reason For the Season: Evil

I have been laid up with a bad sinus infection pretty much since Thanksgiving, so I spent an inordinate amount of time surfing daytime TV.  What an amazing amount of noise passing for entertainment…  However, two tidbits caught my attention while navigating the vast wasteland of morning programming.  First, I […]

Once More, With Feeling

It’s Advent time again; the beginning of the “church year.”  We change the paraments to purple (or blue, in some cases), hang the greens, set up the advent wreath with candles, and we engage in the ceremonies of the season leading to the birth of Christ.  How do we keep […]

DMC – Divided Methodist Church

I have been dismayed by the recent “unanimous support” claims for our Call to Action report — since I have had personal conversations with people directly involved who are anything but fully on board.  Oh, I understand the act of solidarity and presenting a unified public face and the potential promotional […]

The Day After Yesterday

I will say it again: our future does not lie in our past.  Trying to “become” what we once were is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube (a lot more trouble than it is worth).  Why can’t we be the church we were in the 50s […]