Notes from a retired pastor: musing from the cruising

My life has not turned out in any way that I expected when I decided to take early retirement. I had sensed strongly (and with significant pain for a lot of reasons) that God’s call upon my life had shifted its emphasis. I’ve always known there was a dual call: both to the pastorate and [Read More…]

The view from the pew, reflections from a retired clergy: guilt and peace edition

The Guilt Factor I’ve been retired from formal ministry for nearly three years now. Frankly, Christianity looks a lot different from the pew–and away from the church bubble. I just wrote a resignation letter to a non-profit agency where I have sat on the Board of Directors. I believe strongly in the mission and appreciate the [Read More…]

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I could be brilliant too if . . .

So, Donald, yes that great Republican and ever-so Christian man, is getting ready to be interviewed by the pastor, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International, in Detroit, MI, as part of his appeal to get more than 0% of the black vote. Now, the church community wanted Donald to actually speak in the church. [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…]

Jesus Is On The Cross–Sit Still and Think About It.

“Jesus is on the cross. You will sit quietly for the next three hours and respect that.” Can you imagine telling that to your children and expecting them to sit quietly from noon to three p.m. on Good Friday? And them doing it without complaint? AND then discovering years later that such a discipline left [Read More…]

A Violation of Integrity: "Coming Out" as a Lesbian Clergyperson?

She’s been living a lie and I’m deeply troubled about this even as others are cheering her on. I write of the Rev. Cynthia Meyer, a long time pastor, and her announcement to her church on Sunday, January 3, 2016. From this article, “I have been an ordained United Methodist pastor for 25 years. At last, I [Read More…]

Shall We Do Evil So That Good Will Come?

I watched part of the Republican debate last night (Dec. 15). I chose to listen with a more generous spirit than I have to date. Each candidate genuinely believes that he/she is uniquely suited to be President of the US, an extraordinarily difficult job where every single action and word will be critiqued, examined, and [Read More…]

To Trust in The Lord

Most of us can agree on major goals.  For the church, it is “Love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul and love your neighbor as yourself” and “Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”  and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” We can rally around those [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Clergy Appreciation Month and Reluctant Communicant

  Dear Thoughtful Pastor: As a pastor, I have come to dread “Pastor Appreciation Month,” because it quickly becomes “Pastor EVALUATION Month,” where people express their resentments. I’ve spent three decades doing this work that has swallowed me whole and left me and my family exhausted and lonely.  I wish we had a month designated [Read More…]

Fighting the System: The Aging Body and the Aging UMC

Battling the Systems Like just about everyone I know, I am in a constant battle with my body’s survival desire to put on weight. Vanity drives my battle. Cellular memory and human history drives my body. My body will ultimately win. It might be a good idea to be thankful for that. The way the human [Read More…]