Mission & Purpose

A Church Shrouded in Mystery

We’ve got a problem.  We don’t know who we are.  We have become such an interesting hodge-podge of new and old Christians from such varied backgrounds as Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Reformed, New Age, Independent-Evangelical, Assemblies of God, UCC, UUC, MOUSE as well as UMC and all […]

What’s Wrong With Us?

The answer to the question, “what’s wrong with us?” is that we are fixated on the question “what’s wrong with us?”  Doom, gloom, decline, conflict, controversy, division, discord — all addressed with a cheery irrational rah-rah attitude.  National events that bludgeon participants with “Death Tsunami’s” and calls to action that […]

Dia-Gnostics

¶252.7 Book of Discipline — The Church Council shall endlessly discuss the best course of action for the local congregation, finally approve it, and then present it to the whole church where it will inevitably be rejected after contentious debate. No, don’t bother looking this up in the Discipline.  It […]

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 […]

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 […]

A.D.D.-U.M.C.

Church, church, you are distracted by many things…  In response to a pastor’s call to pray for the people of Haiti (and the current cholera crisis), I heard a lay person whisper, “I thought we took care of that!”  I think she was referring to the earthquake response earlier in […]

A Call to Auction

Let’s just put it out there to the highest bidder.  We obviously don’t know what to do with it.  The new Call to Action report came out saying what we already know and offering the same old tired suggestions for “widespread reform.”  What a short memory we have.  We studied […]

Random Thoughts

I am becoming more and more convinced that coffee shops are the new mission frontier.  I stopped at Beans ‘n’ Creme in Sun Prairie this morning for my usual fix (nothing fancy, just plain old coffee…) and I saw a group of men all with their Bibles open having a […]

Make-No-Wave United Methodist Church

I received an interesting email from a pastor today who “followed my advice” and raised questions about expectations and accountability in the church.  He asked the “what is the church?” and “what is the church for?” questions, and zeroed in on what our membership vows really mean.  He was shocked […]