The Crucial Difference Between Schism and Division: Lessons from the Garden

The question appears again and again in church life and right now particularly with mainline denominations: should we just give up and split up? There is a way to divide and still thrive. Let’s pay attention to the lesson from the garden here. In 2012, I wrote a post about the now-impossibility of actually reforming [Read More…]

The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Three

Note: this is part three of a three part series. Part One is here; Part Two is here. Three Things to Keep in Mind First: not all growth is good growth.  When effectiveness is measured only by numerical growth, we make the fatal mistake of assuming that just because something grows rapidly, it is doing [Read More…]

The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Two

Note: this is the second of a three-part series.  Part one is here; part three is here. The Church is In Crisis I suspect everyone agrees that The United Methodist Church, as a world-wide organization, is in crisis.  Our membership grows older and the death tsunami looms. Few churches see a vital future. People in [Read More…]

The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part One

I recently walked out of a local electronics store in some frustration.  I have an older inkjet printer that needed new ink cartridges.  Now, ink cartridges are some of the biggest consumer rip-offs ever devised, so I wasn’t in a great mood when I walked in.  My irritation grew when I realized that my aged [Read More…]

The Election Port-Mortem, the Fundamentalist Takeover of The Republican Party . . . and The UMC?

Election Post-Mortem Mark Davis, a right-wing conservative radio host and columnist, wrote this in his post mortem about the Presidential election: But I lament a country where the middle class is more attuned to government benefits than the work ethic that was once our nation’s engine. I will blame the culture of dependency that leads [Read More…]

The Language of Power and Pentecost: Bishops, Clergy and Gardens

Note:  this is part of a larger body of writing I am currently working on with the theme of “The Sustainable Church” which is an extended metaphor of church as garden.  I believe what I am learning has important applicability to the current situation in the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. How [Read More…]

Biblical Ignorance and the Delegates to General Conference

I have been reading blog after blog about what is happening at General Conference, taking particular interest in the ones that supported the now dead legislation that would take language out of the Book of Discipline that condemns homosexual practices. I have numerous thoughts here. The thing that hits me the hardest here is the [Read More…]

Ministry With the Poor

Today, Dr. Frederick Schmidt posted on his blog here about doing ministry with the poor, on of the four areas of focus of the United Methodist Church mandated by the 2008 General Conference (just a meandering thought:  will all those change with the 2012 General Conference–just when I’m starting to figure this out?). Anyway, I [Read More…]