The United Methodist Church

Dead, Or In Exile?

I watched some of the Global Leadership Summit videos over the weekend and have to admit they depressed me.  It felt like another missed opportunity.  Hopeful rhetoric infuses a blurry and misdirected vision for a limited and inwardly focused future.  It is all about us — and not all of […]

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 […]

Fantasy Planning

Picture, if you will, a small, rural congregation.  The average age in the church is early 60s.  The weekly worship attendance is approximately 50, and there is one nine-year-old who comes about once every three weeks.  She is the whole Sunday school.  The community is a church-going community — about […]

Segregation of Church & State

It has been an interesting few weeks here in Wisconsin — making the national news almost daily due to our governor, Scott Walker, and his crusade to eliminate collective bargaining rights as a cost-cutting measure to help balance the budget.  There is no doubt that it would produce a short-term […]

Open Doors 101 – Part 2

Yesterday I began a reflection and critique on my most recent engagement with the ReThink Church campaign.  Today I want to continue the reflection on some “meta-issues” that are related to, but not specifically about, ReThink Church.  However, before I go any further I do want to say that I […]

Open Doors 101

This weekend we hosted a ReThink Church training event in the Wisconsin Annual Conference.  The turn-out and response was great, and it was an excellent reminder at how all-over-the-map we are as The United Methodist Church.  Lots of information was shared, resources were lifted up, and the words “invitation,” “welcome/welcoming,” […]

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 […]

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 […]

Not Our Issue

I am attending the North Central Jurisdiction CORR (Commission on Religion and Race) learning event this weekend in Milwaukee.  As I gather in this place with these people I notice three things about myself.  First, I can breathe.  I don’t feel at all constrained or worried about what others might […]

Mediocrity Not A Goal

I received three different requests for this article in the past two weeks, so I am reprinting it here (from February 2009) No Christian leader that I know ever sets out to do an “average” job for God. Oh, sure there are a few jaded pastors who are just counting […]