Christian Community

Muddled Maturity

Every once in a while I strike a chord — I have received emails daily about the past couple posts on “mature” Christian spirituality.  It seems everyone wants to use their own personal spiritual level as the definition of maturity — which is very normal and human.  If we could conceive […]

Growth Imperative

The Christian faith is about growth and maturing.  In recent posts, I’ve talked about “mature” faith, and the response has been interesting.  Many frame the term “mature” as judgmental, exclusive, and unkind — when compared to “less mature” or “immature.”  But developmental and qualitative growth — improvement, strengthening, seasoning, evolving — […]

Lego Church

Forgive the annoying “back when I was a boy…” beginning to this reflection, but, back when I was a boy a Lego kit consisted of a box of white, black, yellow, blue and red bricks that came in eight different sizes.  You could make anything your imagination could conceive of, […]

Ecumenically Challenged

There are few things I hate worse than being sick on the road.  My wife and I are in Columbus, Ohio and I determined that now would be the ideal time to get a four-alarm sinus infection.  I can’t focus, I can’t breathe, I have a splitting headache… and I […]

Unoty

I am attending a National Workshop on Christian Unity this week in Columbus, Ohio.  It is an annual ecumenical gathering that focuses on how to build bridges, foster friendly relationships, and improve communication between Christian communions.  We talk about finding common ground, celebrating each other, and discovering spiritual synergy where […]

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

We tend to celebrate our pluralistic and richly diverse culture and, in the church, we talk long and loud about radical hospitality and open hearts/minds/doors.  Yet, we still seem to be having problems knitting our intercultural parts into a well-integrated body of Christ.  There is so much latent and subversive […]

B Church

At a recent workshop, discussion shifted to the question, “So, just what IS the current reality of our local churches in United Methodism?”  The following framework emerged from this discussion.  In summary: The United Methodist Church is an amalgam of three key aspects that work well in combination but are […]

Fruititude

U.S. Christians are a lazy, passive, well-intentioned bunch.  I am not talking about the 11% who are engaged in some form of regular hands-on ministry.  I am speaking of the 89% who define “active” faith as attending church when convenient, showing up at an occasional potluck supper, buying the doo-dad-du […]

De-Loved Community

We face a tragic reality in our United Methodist Church today — the inability to disagree in Christian compassion and fellowship.  For the past few years I have been promoting a vision, albeit personal, for beloved community.  This vision is fairly specific, and contains the following propositions: Beloved Community is… […]

Homophily Abounds

Recent church visits strike me with an undeniable pattern — we tend to associate only with those most like us.  I have yet to visit any church that does not consider itself “friendly,” yet rarely is there a deep level of awareness that answers the question, “friendly with/to whom?”  Two […]