Values

Leading in the Little Things

Here is one of my old guy rants that may sound like “what’s wrong with the younger generation?”, but in fact is a “what’s wrong with our leaders?”  I stop for coffee just about every morning at a local shop, and while it is always busy, it is still a […]

Vital Is As Vital Does

How are we defining “vital” in the UMC?  Is vitality mere existence?  Is a congregation with a lot of warm, passive bodies vital?  Are people huddled inside their doors happily waiting to be friendly to unsuspecting visitors vital?  Is a congregation that hosts a dozen small groups that do movie/football/bowling […]

Narrative Transformation

In recent comments, an interesting thread appears: how do we in the church have open-ended conversation about the deepest and most challenging aspects of our life together?  Too often, we have no vision for what a new or different conversation might look/sound like.  When we think about changing our thinking, […]

The Hegemony of How

Responses to Polymorphous Pedagogic Perversity provide a fascinating illustration of the difficulties we face employing adaptive leadership process.  Adaptive leadership, by definition, recognizes that our penchant for problem-solving pushes us to seek answers before we truly understand the complexity of the challenge before us.  In other words, when faced with […]

Polymorphous Pedagogic Perversity

“Polymorphous” — having, assuming or passing through many and varied forms or shapes “Pedagogic” — pertaining to teaching, instruction or instructional method “Perversity” — willful contrariness; turning from the acceptable standard or expectation Okay, now that definitions are out of the way, let’s jump in.  In what ways is the […]

Whose Christmas?

I had an interesting encounter at my favorite coffee shop (Beans ‘n’ Cream, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin — greatest people in the world…) last week.  One of the regulars made the following observation, which led to a spirited conversation — “Christmas would be so much more enjoyable if all the religious […]

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 […]

Disciple Dissipation

I listened with growing despair to a prominent United Methodist leader talking about our mission.  Within just a few sentences he completely devalued and distorted the entire concept of discipleship. “Once we say ‘yes’ to Jesus, we are forever after his disciples.” “Discipleship is a gift, a privilege — it […]

T-Shirt Evangelism

Back in 2006, I spoke to the Western New York Annual Conference about living the “Gifts, Graces, and Fruit of the Spirit.” (Based on my sensational book, Beyond Money — no longer in print, so contact Discipleship Resources at the General Board of Discipleship and raise a stink…)  For the Fruit of […]