Help! I’m poor. Should I tithe to TV preachers?

However, large religious institutions, especially those with massive expenses and infrastructures, manipulated the tithe as a way to essentially extort money from less biblically literate members. Dear Thoughtful Pastor:  In the past, I have tithed money into various ministries that I enjoyed listening to on TV. As I do not enjoy attending church, I have [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…]

'Twas the Month Before Christmas

Holiday advice flows from every communication source, mostly on how to deal with too much forced togetherness of relatives and the stress of the next few weeks. And every year I ask, “If this is supposed to be such a fun time, why are we all so stressed?” I’m going to put the blame right [Read More…]

Do Pets Go to Heaven?

This last week on “Stump the Pastor” Sunday, I received simply spectacular questions, many from our deep thinking youth group. A number of the questions revolved around the themes of heaven and hell. What are the characteristics of such places or destinies? Much literature drags us into hell with a red devil and pitchfork, riddled [Read More…]

Charities, Corruption, and Wisdom

I mentioned in my message this past Sunday that all of us engage in a corrupt world. Our job is not to separate ourselves from it, but to bring light and grace to it.  It takes a great deal of wisdom to learn how to do this without corrupting our own souls. While many have [Read More…]

God, Tragedy, Churches, Faith and Forgiveness

The Dallas Morning News had a front page article today about the role faith and churches are playing in the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes in Granbury. The beginning of the article contains these statements: In a place where so much has been lost, broken and scattered, many people in this tornado-touched town say they [Read More…]

The Wasteful Weekend

What a waste. Twice a year, a large team of people head to the Texas Youth Correctional facility in Corsicana, TX.  There they lose three days and spend a huge amount of money feeding, caring for, speaking with and offering grace and love to some of the incorrigible adolescent males incarcerated there. Many of those [Read More…]

We Do Love Our Tools

Humans are tool-making and tool-using creatures.  Our opposable thumb and finger grasp strength provide the springboard to create and use machines as extensions of our bodies and brains. We are also tool-purchasing creatures.  Tools to cook, tools to communicate, tools to study, tools to build, tools to create, tools to clean, tools to repair, tools [Read More…]

“All You Can Do Is Pray.”

“All you can do is pray.” I said this to our Children’s Day Out (CDO) director this past Thursday after a conversation about the increasingly desperate need to purchase a van. The program, CDO, had simply exploded, particularly in the last 20 months when it moved from preschool to a full-service daycare, including before and [Read More…]

Reflections Upon Heading Home

My bag is packed, and shortly I’ll head out, flag down a taxi like the best of New Yorkers and head to the airport.  I still have the rest of July for the Sabbatical, and massive amounts of work to put what I’ve written and thought about during these weeks into a coherent form, useful [Read More…]