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I am a life long Methodist. I was a cradle Methodist and some day I shall be a grave Methodist. I have lived through the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and now the nascent 21rst century and I have preached and taught all over this church, and in Methodist contexts around the world. Divisions, factions, schisms upset me, as they result from fundamental failures in the church, sometimes even caused by a failure of the chief Christian virtue— love. Furthermore,… Read more

DIRT Dirt Is matter out of place It’s not innately dirty It’s just in the wrong space. Soil Doesn’t soil out in the yard It’s just doing its job Whether soft or hard. Dirt Is needed just to grow Even the simplest plant And all the food we know. Soil Is precious and performs Many necessary functions Sheltering from the storms. Earth It can be dust to dust But lest we overlook it It’s the Genesis of us. Earthworks Yes,… Read more

I want in this particular post to talk about Bishop Sano’s understanding of Mt. 19.12. First of all here is the context—– Vs. 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother… Read more

Building on the seminal work of Richard Bauckham, Tom makes his case for adding to the picture by talking more specifically about the sort of eschatological fulfillment of the creational monotheism he sees as central to the way Paul reworked early Jewish monotheism. His essential premise is that far from taking intermediary figures and symbols using them as a basis to promote Jesus into the divine sphere, to the contrary, Paul takes images of God himself and applies them to… Read more

Another specious presupposition that we often here mentioned in discussions of the issue of gay marriage or gay sexual behavior is the notion that this issue is on the same ethical footing as racial prejudice. It certainly is not. There can be no analogy between prejudice against a person because of their ethnic origins (e.g. anti-Semitism) or their skin color (various sorts of racism), and a criticism of the sexual behavior of the gay and lesbian community. The former has… Read more

There have of course been many books written on monotheism (see e.g the book by Rodney Stark show above). Monotheism itself is a modern post-Enlightenment term, but this doesn’t much matter. The idea and belief is clearly present throughout the Bible. At the level of thought, it was the most fundamental difference between pagans on the one hand, and Jews and Christians on the other in the first century world, and it is still the most fundamental difference between those… Read more

It was with great sadness, and dismay, that I read the recent article by Bishop Sano, a retired bishop of the UMC, which can be found here, at this site—- I find it sad not only because Bishop Sano is in fact calling for the very opposite of ‘Biblical Obedience’. I find it sad because he mistakenly thinks that a matter of sexual ethics and sexual behavior is somehow a ‘justice’ issue, when it absolutely is not. The very… Read more

(The following I owe to Steve Walton of Cambridge, forwarded on to me by alert reader and my T.A. Jason Myers). ——- HOW TO GET A PHD – NO SWEAT! (for my research students and my friends doing PhDs and their supervisors) Picture a small clearing in the forest. The morning sun is clearing away the remaining traces of mist. Rabbit sits in deep concentration typing on his laptop. Into the clearing lopes a fox. “Morning Rabbit!” “Hiya Fox!” “What… Read more

[The following is a response to Adam Hamilton’s recent blog post and forthcoming book on the issue of how to approach Scripture, by my colleague and friend Bill Arnold. I am entirely in agreement with Bill on the flaws in Hamiliton’s approach and argument and am happy to post this response here, now. BW3] ——- Adam Hamilton’s Buckets Don’t Hold Water By guest blogger Bill T. Arnold Things just got even more interesting for United Methodists. A bishop in New… Read more

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