Three Months, Twenty-Nine Days

I woke, way too early with a memory-flooded mind on what should have been a leisurely, sleep-late, relaxed, slow-waking morning. A friend has recently asked me to offer some happy memories of my years as pastor as I do this pre-retirement journaling.  I agreed to do so. As I began that task, however, I found [Read More…]

Portrait of a Pastor

I received a gift this morning.  A gift so full of love and hope that I am still nearly breathless. Several years ago, Vicki Attaway made her way to the church I serve, having heard that there was a female pastor there and that she might find it welcoming and comfortable.  Within a short period [Read More…]

A Modern Take on Luke 15–Probably Heretical, Possibly Shedding Fresh Light on a Shocking Story

The Complaint A group of VERY IMPORTANT church leaders began to grumble about Jesus.  “He ignores us, the movers and shakers, the ones divinely given the leadership of The Church. Instead, he takes his meals with people who don’t even give $5 a year to our coffers, haven’t partaken of the sacraments in years AND [Read More…]

Local Shopping, Personal Service, the Power of Connection, and the Art of Discipleship

A few weeks ago, in a need to do something that I could start and finish, I cleaned the stove. When I took off the light cover from the stove vent hood so I could wash it, it promptly broke. “No problem,” I thought.  “I’ll just get another one.” Placing the broken on in the [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…]

Dead Soil Produces Dead Souls: Thoughts on the Toxic Church

I hear the word “toxic” bandied about all the time, both applied to people and to churches.  The word means poisonous, of course.  Poison is “a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health” (from  So if we are in a “toxic” relationship or toxic church, we are in [Read More…]

Academia, Metrics and the Church

Recently, I posted a response on the Missional Methodist blog about what I see happening right now in The United Methodist Church. I mentioned that I see huge parallels with what is happening in the academic world and what is happening with the church. Academia is being told: the purpose of education is economic–getting good [Read More…]