What will the church do about the Intersexed? Shall we just call them mistakes?

The world is ever so much easier to deal with when everything divides into two neat categories. This is good, that is bad. This is heaven, that is hell. This is day, that is night.  This is right, this is wrong. This is a wave; that is a particle, except we know matter can be [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: The Final Judgment and Church Demands

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The Bible tells us that as Christians Jesus forgives us for our sins (our sins are erased), but then it also says we will answer for them when we get to heaven. There is comfort in knowing that if we repent we are forgiven of our sins and they are forgotten, but [Read More…]

One Month, Seventeen Days: Books and Questions

Tuesday afternoon a church member and good friend stopped by to see me, walked into my office, looked around and burst into tears. My first thought, “Something really bad has happened.” And then she said, “The reality just hit. You are leaving.” I had packed up many of my books over the weekend. Normally stuffed-full [Read More…]

Four Months, Seven Days

I thought that the first Sunday after the congregation learned about my retirement would be the hardest. Wrong. Second Sunday worse. People I hadn’t seen the first Sunday coming up to me and reminding me again how much I will miss them. And then there is Addie. Addie, daughter of one of the faithful families [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…]

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…]

Judicial Council Decisions: The Emperor Has No Clothes

The United Methodist Church cannot be re-formed. It’s over for us with our current structure. The Judicial Council’s decision to revoke the involuntary retirement of Bishop Earl Bledsoe over issues of violation of procedural minutia found in the Book of Discipline (not over the question of his effectiveness, which was not being ruled upon) has forever made [Read More…]

Three Hundred Words to Convince or It Vanishes

The WordPress blogging challenge for the day, “You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!” My response: Light.  We are light, this small community of faith. Grace and forgiveness glue us together, yet hearts and [Read More…]