An evening of joy; a morning of tragedy: will we ever wake up?

We’d had the most joyful of afternoons. After two interminable weeks in a non-weight bearing foot situation, my husband’s bandage was replaced with a walking cast. Delighted, we went to out to dinner and watched a funny movie before bed. We retired without bothering to check the news. Able to stay in bed lazily for [Read More…]

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Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Did Trump “accept Jesus into his heart?”

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: What does it mean that Donald Trump has accepted Jesus into his heart? Has Hillary Clinton accepted Jesus into her heart? Thank you for your reply. Let me state this clearly: I am not able to enter into the minds/hearts/souls of anyone, including the two candidates for the highest office of the [Read More…]

The sad necessity of abortion: how can the church lead the way?

The news hit early today: the Supreme Court struck down the law passed by the Texas Legislature that placed extreme restrictions on abortion access in Texas, particularly for poorer women in rural areas. The Supreme Court action, called the Whole Women’s Health Ruling, can be found here. I am relieved at the awareness shown by [Read More…]

24 Hours into General Conference: Sinking in the Graveyard of Procedural Stuff

The Rev. Don Underwood, at his sixth General Conference as delegate and his ninth overall, stated in a morning briefing with the North Texas Conference delegates, “We are sinking further and further into the graveyard of procedural stuff. We can’t even get to the rules.” No joke. The schedule of General Conference calls for a [Read More…]

An Ancient Base, A Modern Overlay, the Christian Challenge, and General Conference

Shortly (actually not so shortly as my flight has just been delayed) I leave for Portland, Oregon to observe and write about the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. As always, it promises to be contentious. In my sleepless moments last night, I pondered the whole nature of Christianity. Here we are, trying to send [Read More…]

Secret Shame and Church Offering Plates: Let’s Talk about Money

“Viral” hardly describes what happened to this recent article in The Atlantic. It’s called “The Secret Shame of the Middle Class”. The author, Neal Gabler, is a well-known and well-respected writer. With naked vulnerability, he describes his own family’s descent into the “I can’t even find $400 to meet an emergency” situation. Gabler doesn’t make [Read More…]

Our Interconnected and Tragically Divided World

The Interconnection On Sunday, two cousins, Gene (we’ll call him Gene One) and Gene (Gene Two), who also share the same distinctive last name and who had not seen each other in over fifty years, met for lunch. I am married to Gene One. Gene Two is the stepfather and business manager of David Little. David [Read More…]

Toxic Christianity: Can Jesus Save Us From It?

Has Christianity turned toxic? I wish I could say that it hasn’t, that it is a religion full of adherents who freely pass onto others the grace, reconciliation and forgiveness so generously given to them. That adherents make statements seasoned with the humility of human limitations and unknown and unexamined prejudices. That adherents take seriously [Read More…]

The State of Irreligion in the US

It’s Sunday, around noon when I started writing. Have a houseful of guests–relatives of my husband. We’ve been married just six months so this fun time has been one of learning much about his family. Think “Our Big Fat Greek Wedding” except they are Polish. Unquestionably, I’m the repressed quiet WASP. Not one of them [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Is Mainline the Opposite of Evangelical?

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I grew up in an “evangelical—fundamental” Christian home. My recollection is that this meant a high regard for scripture and belief in the basic tenets of the Christian faith. During this political cycle, the term “evangelical” is very repulsive to me and unbiblical, particularly with its apparent disdain for “the least of [Read More…]