The United Methodist Church

Prophet Margin

Are there prophets in the church today?  Are there any willing to speak the truth regardless of the consequences?  Anyone willing to point out the unconscionable amount of money and time we waste in meetings and conferences?  Anyone willing to point out that our own systems and structures are as unfair […]

Pushing Buttons

It’s tough having opinions.  I love to write this blog, and I use it to share my perspectives — for what they’re worth.  I try very hard to say that these are my views and nothing more.  I often try to write in provocative, and sometimes controversial, ways for no […]

Dumbfounded

There are times that I am stunned to silence (not many, granted, but a few…) by my own denomination.  I wonder what it is that we believe and what our witness to the world really is.  The latest brick in the wall of incredulity came when I saw that William […]

Do Something

Is part of our problem that we make things too hard?  Maybe the key to congregational health, strength, and vitality is well within our grasp, but we keep looking for some grand answer because the truth seems much to simple and easy.  Over the weekend I went through some files […]

Compatibullying

The United Methodist Judicial Council has adjudicated the “homosexuality question” for the denomination by deeming the Baltimore-Washington attempt to reframe and redeem the gay-lesbian-bi-transgender issue “out-of-order.”  The claim is that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.  Okay, fine, I accept that — but only if we’re consistent.  The ordination of […]

United Methodist Liburies

Loving books, God and the church impels me to look at local church libraries whenever I visit a new place.  Were we to view church libraries as a “witness” to a church’s learning and beliefs, we would generally be misled.  Church libraries are odd little repositories for an eclectic and […]

Growth Exaggeration

“You’re against church growth, aren’t you?” asked a new, young pastor. I looked at him for a moment, pausing to reflect on the fact that I am often my own worst enemy.  I can fully understand how someone who reads my writing — books and blogs — might get the […]

To, For, or With

I listened to a sermon on restorative justice — one of my passions.  I am generally an easy audience for justice messages, but this particular one kept jarring me.  The preacher hammered on the need for us to be in ministry to both victims and victimizers, to the incarcerated, to […]

What Am I Missing?

I think I have simply evolved into an old fart.  Quite recently and suddenly I find myself at odds with a significant number of leaders in the church.  It is like we are speaking a different language.  No, not “like” we are speaking a different language — it’s a different […]

Martyrdom or Majesty

Perhaps the biggest surprise I received at “Charm School” (the denominational training for District Superintendents and Directors of Connectional Ministry) was a widespread sense of burden and sacrifice that presenter after presenter lifted up and focused on.  (Not all of them, but many… our plenary speakers on Poverty and Global Health […]