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…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Screaming Babies and Communion Issues

Note: These are real questions, but the name of the questioner is withheld. Questions may be edited for the sake of clarity and brevity. If you have a question for The Thoughtful Pastor, feel free to email her at thoughtfulpastor@gmail.com or fill out the form here. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: “What should my attitude be when there [Read More…]

Why I Support Planned Parenthood

Unlike IVF patients, who are primarily wealthy and white, women who have abortions are disproportionately poor and women of color, groups it has always been popular to condemn and regulate.  This quotation from a Washington Post article on the free and uncondemned donation of embryos created by IVF for research purposes sums up the real [Read More…]

Ponderings on Itinerancy and Appointability

I originally wrote this a number of years ago, but with the recent post by blogger John Murdock, I decided to post it again. Murdock writes eloquently of the problems smaller churches face with the frequent rotation of clergy. Here’s the situation from the point of view of a pastor (now retired). One of the [Read More…]


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