Help! How do I tell my sister to hush about her husband?

My biggest life mistake is asking people to read my mind and do what I want without my having to say it.  Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My sister is separating from her husband and will soon move in with me while they decide to stay together or get a divorce. I want to be there for [Read More…]

It’s time. Blow up the UMC. My own breaking point.

These responses may be the breaking point for me. A church based on a theology of grace operates with the same nastiness of our current political discourse. I had planned a gentle, thoughtful post here. I have, after all, billed myself as the Thoughtful Pastor, although some certainly question the appropriateness of my claim. My proposed [Read More…]

Sexist pastors, sexist news commentators: losses and wins

Today: a possible victory for women subjected to sexist practices partnered with the long-running “Christian” and unquestionably sexist practice of keeping women’s voices subjugated. In the New York Times April 19, 2017, edition, the major editorial title reads, “Is Your Pastor Sexist?”  It’s a piece about the extremely famous NYC pastor, Tim Keller, an excellent [Read More…]

Help! I’m peace loving and don’t WANT to fight wars for Jesus

Did Jesus finish the work of defeating evil or did he not finish the work and therefore we must go to battles and wars for him? Dear Thoughtful Pastor: There is a hymn called “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.”  It speaks of Christians as soldiers of the cross, marching as to war against what [Read More…]

Dear President Trump: You work for me and I care about your tax returns

An open letter to the 45th President of the United States about his income tax situation. I will put this in the US mail to him. Anyone is free to use or modify my words to do the same. President Donald J. Trump The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear President [Read More…]

When women finally get fed up, stuff happens

When women finally say, “I’m not going to let these guys continue to ruin my life and the lives of my children,” stuff happens. These women were fed up. Desperately poor families would see their husband/father drink most of his income, leaving them even worse shape. The women lobbied. They got their candidate elected. They [Read More…]

Darkness came over the whole land–and we prefer the darkness

As we repeatedly mend the curtain, as we reinforce the barrier with each stitch, we work to make sure the darkness stays. Everyone has heard that, at the moment of Jesus’ crucifixion, darkness came over the whole land. But few seem to know or understand what follows, “At that moment [the moment of Jesus’ death [Read More…]

Help! I’m poor. Should I tithe to TV preachers?

However, large religious institutions, especially those with massive expenses and infrastructures, manipulated the tithe as a way to essentially extort money from less biblically literate members. Dear Thoughtful Pastor:  In the past, I have tithed money into various ministries that I enjoyed listening to on TV. As I do not enjoy attending church, I have [Read More…]

The United Methodist Church in a United Airlines moment

Those who need to fly will, for the immediate future at least, book flights on any other airline than United Airlines, whose skies are now distinctly unfriendly. Those who long for God and God’s goodness will go to any other church, uninterested in a “United” Methodist Church with no evidence of real unity. EVERYBODY has [Read More…]

The privilege of the ordinary: breath and air

We will breathe ordinary air, not air laced with nerve gas that will leave us foaming at the mouth, gasping for otherwise ordinary oxygen. I get to do ordinary things today. The ordinary early morning wake up, the ordinary retrieval of the newspapers, the ordinary cup of hot tea, the ordinary preparation of coffee for [Read More…]