Values

Cheapening the Church

Culture works on church like a cancer.  Popularity is the new standard of excellence.  Having a slogan or a sound bite or a brand is so much more important than being relevant or having integrity.  Our get-’em-in-the-doors-by-any-means mentality has done more to kill the church than almost anything else, but it […]

Stand AND Deliver

At General Conference Friday evening, we celebrated (if celebrate is an even moderately appropriate word…) “An Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous Peoples.”  The people I’ve spoken with about the service (before it began) were of three minds: 1) what was done to Native Americans was horrendous, but […]

Hitting the Hard Stuff

It is interesting to watch the tensions mount and see a large gathering of competent, mostly-professional, self-possessed people get all flustered and fall all over themselves when someone raises an uncomfortable issue.  It won’t be surprising to anyone to know that the gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender relationship to the church was raised — […]

Hate Mail Disguised As Love Letters

I’ve kept a file since my first General Conference in 1988 of the letters, phone calls, conversations and emails detailing the “concerns” individuals and congregations raised in preparation of the quadrennial meeting.  This file is a reminder of the diversity of opinion in our denomination, the level of fear and disrespect […]

Diss-cipleship

from the Gospel According to Bob, Chapter 6, verses 31-45… Then Jesus said, ‘Think well and hard before you respond to the call to be my disciples, for many are called but few are truly prepared.’ Robert the follower, also called Bob, piped up, saying, ‘What’s that ‘disciple’ thing?  Is that […]

Simple Isn’t Easy

I received a number of responses and comments on my Simplicity Itself post.  I think three in particular deserve specific response: Dan.  I hear you, and agree with many of your points, but I am curious to how you propose to live this out either in your ministry in the […]

Simplicity Itself

Following the endless conversations about “what comes next?” in The United Methodist Church, it becomes more and more apparent that most of the suggestions, reports and recommendations made thus far are all designed for just one purpose: to avoid the hard work that actually must happen.  In my humble opinion […]

Reform or Refunction?

Well, what do you know, I basically agree with the General Secretaries of our General Boards and Agencies (with a few exceptions): we should be very clear about the missional outcomes we are trying to produce before we determine the best structure to adopt.  Amazing.  There are some in the […]

Christmas Affluenza

Three related unrelated stories: sitting in a coffee shop listening to three women talk about how much they HATE Christmas shopping… yet they are doing it daily, one of them reports that she has spent over $10,000 so far this year (to be fair, including jewelry she bought herself), and […]

Marketing the Messiah

From the Gospel According to Bob 1:26-2:12 (from the NKJV & The Message): And on the night unto which the child was to be born, Joseph and his wife Mary sought shelter, but coming late without a reservation, Mary was vexed with Joseph, saying, “I told you so.”  Joseph, aware that […]