Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Am I supposed to let someone hit me?

Dear Thoughtful Pastor:  The Bible says to turn the other cheek when I am affronted.  How do such words apply in a world full of radicalism, threats, rampant murders, bigotry and hate? How many physical and mental assaults must a person or a group absorb before earning the right to ask this: Are you kidding [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: how did you escape your right-wing religious past?

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: To say the religious right wreacked havoc with my spiritual life would be an understatement. It has been several years since my wife and I made our exit from that world and we still have not recovered. I still have anger and bitterness that I deal with. Unfortunately, we live in the [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Did the UMC really elect a lesbian Bishop? A primer on UMC-speak

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My question: I have been an active member of the United Methodist church for years. I know that the discipline is supposedly BIBLICALLY BASED but the recent appointment in Arizona of an openly lesbian to a Bishop position is TOTALLY CONTRARY TO WHAT I KNOW THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES! I am considering [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: how do I practice Sabbath today?

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: You know how the Jews in the Bible were forbidden to work on the Sabbath? If I want to practice the Sabbath today, what is considered “work?” Would folding laundry be work? What about using appliances? An ongoing tragedy of religious understanding takes place when something that was intended as good and [Read More…]

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When an “anyone but Hillary” is married to an “anyone but Donald” part five

We have a 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter visiting for a while with her parents. Keep in mind that this blended couple claims eleven children and twelve grandchildren, so having relatives visiting is a frequent joy. This morning, the visiting toddler wanted to sit on my lap while I was reading the paper. I welcomed her and [Read More…]

A Biblical Case for Hitler

In a blatant act of plagiarism, I have lifted some words from an extraordinarily popular blog post which was written by an anonymous woman who sees herself as a highly educated, theologically conservative pastor’s wife. The blogger describes herself, before making her biblical case for Trump, as one who “CANNOT, however, allow myself ignore the principles laid out [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: burning questions about cremation and interracial marriage

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have been reading both sides of the argument and praying about it and I’m just a little stumped. Is cremation frowned up? The opposed side says it’s a desecration of God’s gift to us. We are God’s property and he should choose that. But I don’t see any specific evidence in [Read More…]

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What will the church do about the Intersexed? Shall we just call them mistakes?

The world is ever so much easier to deal with when everything divides into two neat categories. This is good, that is bad. This is heaven, that is hell. This is day, that is night.  This is right, this is wrong. This is a wave; that is a particle, except we know matter can be [Read More…]

Lord and Lady Peter and Marriage Equality

The long-pursued Harriet speaks with Lord Peter, the man who loves her and now wonders if he has done good for her by finally convincing her to marry him. From this conversation comes my favorite passage of my favorite book: I’m only trying to tell you, in the nicest possible manner, that provided I were [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Dan Patrick and the now infamous tweet

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Can you tell me the background for Dan Patrick’s tweet? This verse comes from the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Greek Bible. The NIV is a male-centric interpretative translation so I am going to turn to the more accurately inclusive New Revised Standard Version where the verse reads: “Do not [Read More…]