It’s time. Blow up the UMC. My own breaking point.

These responses may be the breaking point for me. A church based on a theology of grace operates with the same nastiness of our current political discourse. I had planned a gentle, thoughtful post here. I have, after all, billed myself as the Thoughtful Pastor, although some certainly question the appropriateness of my claim. My proposed [Read More…]

Sexist pastors, sexist news commentators: losses and wins

Today: a possible victory for women subjected to sexist practices partnered with the long-running “Christian” and unquestionably sexist practice of keeping women’s voices subjugated. In the New York Times April 19, 2017, edition, the major editorial title reads, “Is Your Pastor Sexist?”  It’s a piece about the extremely famous NYC pastor, Tim Keller, an excellent [Read More…]

Help! I’m peace loving and don’t WANT to fight wars for Jesus

Did Jesus finish the work of defeating evil or did he not finish the work and therefore we must go to battles and wars for him? Dear Thoughtful Pastor: There is a hymn called “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.”  It speaks of Christians as soldiers of the cross, marching as to war against what [Read More…]

Darkness came over the whole land–and we prefer the darkness

As we repeatedly mend the curtain, as we reinforce the barrier with each stitch, we work to make sure the darkness stays. Everyone has heard that, at the moment of Jesus’ crucifixion, darkness came over the whole land. But few seem to know or understand what follows, “At that moment [the moment of Jesus’ death [Read More…]

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…]

The United Methodist Church in a United Airlines moment

Those who need to fly will, for the immediate future at least, book flights on any other airline than United Airlines, whose skies are now distinctly unfriendly. Those who long for God and God’s goodness will go to any other church, uninterested in a “United” Methodist Church with no evidence of real unity. EVERYBODY has [Read More…]

Silence: a movie for those tired of lies about God

Silence stops in its tracks the lies that good humans won’t suffer. It strips away any surety that our right actions and beliefs will bring the results we want. I spent my formative Christian years in Evangelicalism. This world hands out books of God’s promises: Bible verses, yanked from context, that suggest God is in [Read More…]

Help! Did God really want that child to die? Why didn’t God heal her?

We who call ourselves followers of Jesus carry the expectations that we will also heal, bring good news to the poor, offer release to the captives, give recovery of sight to the blind, and free the oppressed. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Last week, a Bible literalist church pastor was arrested in the death of his 2-year-old [Read More…]

Help! Is there any real truth in a world of “alternative facts”?

When I speak a “truth” that makes me look better and others look worse, the chances are 100% that I’m way off base from God-truth. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The last election cycle and the first 100 days of the Trump administration have lead me to this question.  The commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness,” [Read More…]

The Shack: a journey into grief and the questions of good and evil

That the love of God means the freedom for people to make their unimpeded choices for good or evil permeates The Shack. [Note: The Shack, based on the book by William P Young, is about to be released. The book caused enormous controversy among many Christians when it first came out. An editor, Chris Fenoglio, from [Read More…]