Religious Trends

Outgrowing the Church — Outgrowing God?

As I have been clearing files, I came across a very interesting conversation.  It is a one-on-one interview with a young Christian woman who has turned her back on “organized religion.”  I present an excerpt from it here verbatim, then offer a few personal reflections.  My portion of the conversation is in […]

Going Off Half Cocked

Notice the gun imagery in the title?  Does this mean I believe in gun violence?  Does this mean I am insensitive to the lives torn apart by firearms in this country?  Do you think I support torture? In the past couple weeks, some survey information was shared that indicates that […]

Knocking on Our Doors (Those We Seek to Reach?)

Writers and researchers who look at “the state of the church” often fall into the erroneous and unhelpful fallacy of reducing our faith to the simplistic dualism of “churched” and “unchurched.”  This ignores the fact that many church members are Christian in name only, while a large and growing segment […]

The Latest Pewhaha: Faith in Flux

Like everything else in popular media, sensation sells when it comes to religion in the United States.  And also like the popular media, the product shared with the public is shaped to “make news.”  Good thing?  Bad thing?  Doesn’t really matter.  What matters is, how do we cut through all […]

The Power of POV

One day last month, I sat down and sifted through a mounting stack of articles on my desk.  I found a number of articles on ‘mega-churches’ all published within a few days of each other.  What was most striking was that they were saying incredibly different things.  USA Today talked […]

Amendment 1 and the Temple of Doom

Inclusiveness of the Church —  The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ.  The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth and that we are in ministry to all.  All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status or […]

A Tale of Three Paradigms

Once upon a time, Christians in the United States rushed to build church buildings anywhere and everywhere they could — especially close to other churches who didn’t quite worship God the right way.  There was a flurry of competition, with new “independent,” “non-denominational,” “alternative” groups joining the mix each and […]

Do United Methodists Want to BE Disciples?

In 1996, The United Methodist Church clarified and refined its mission to be “making disciples of Jesus Christ.”  Twelve years later, it amended the mission to include “for the transformation of the world.”  In essence and in fact, we have declared that our reason for existing is to form, equip, […]

Lowest Common Denomination

With the exception of a couple brief positive blips, membership and worship attendance have been in steady decline in The United Methodist Church since the Methodist/Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) merger in 1968.  This isn’t news.  It has been virtually impossible to read anything written about our denomination over the past 40 […]