Values

Loser’s Choice

One key to our future is the way we choose to deal with one another, and I emphasize the word choose.  Often, we prefer to ignore the fact that we choose to react or respond to others as we do.  I’ll use myself as an example.  The fact is, no one […]

Spiritual or Spiritualistic

A few year’s ago I noticed an interesting trend.  As Christians reported giving less and less time to prayer, the sale of books about prayer increased dramatically.  For me, this is a simple illustration of a continuing dilemma — we are more interested in spirituality than we are in being […]

Running Out of Options

What is the greatest threat to our United Methodist Church?  Is it decline?  Is it tolerance of sin?  Is it judgmentalism?  Is it hypocrisy?  How about controversy and conflict?  Nope.  There is one, simple threat to our continued existence and that is US.  Our church has been subverted by a […]

Paradoxology

Praise God from whom all blessings flow…  But who deserves such blessing?  The poor?  Immigrants (especially those illegal ones!)?  The sick (who can’t afford health care)?  Anyone who disagrees with me on any of my core beliefs?  There is a weird paradox at work when it comes to our views […]

When the Means Mystify the Ends

Tools are only as helpful as the knowledge available to employ them.  Give a child a bandsaw and he is as likely to do great damage as any good.  If we don’t understand something, it is very unlikely we will use it well.  Case in point, our cultural lack of […]

Finding What We Look For

Scott Kline, a professional driver, managed to wreck a million-dollar prototype hybrid car when it was first being tested.  When asked to explain what happened, Kline reported, I got so engrossed looking at all the dials and gauges and screens on the dashboard that I forgot to look where I […]

Failure In An Instant

At what point do we finally wake-up to the fact that there is no such thing as a lasting, transformative “quick-fix?”  We have suffered through over 50 years of “church-in-box” programs that have produced poor results at best.  Disciple Bible Study came closest to delivering transformation, but ultimately “popular” did […]

A Heart Strangely Harmed

Way back in the last century — 1988 to be exact — I prepared a sermon for the 250th anniversary of John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience.  When I arrived on Sunday morning and looked at the bulletin, I realized that my title had a typo — instead of “Heart Strangely Warmed” the […]

The Unforgiving

I am back from Annual Conference (and a few days off to recuperate…).  My inbox is packed with mail from people who loved this year’s conference, hated this year’s conference, were proud of this year’s conference, were ashamed by this year’s conference, were excited by the delegation we elected to […]

Plugged In

Two of my colleagues have recently returned from renewal retreats, and it reminds me again how very critical spiritual self-care is for leaders, both clergy and lay.  I conducted a variety of studies on clergy wellness, morale, self-care, renewal and spiritual practice when I worked for the General Board of […]