Starbucks has some things to teach us about inclusivity, but ultimately, like my plants, the United Methodist Church must split to regain health and vitality. It’s more complicated than we think it is to practice inclusivity. On Tuesday, May 30, 2018, Starbucks ran full-page ads in several major newspapers (I saw them in both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) explaining why they were “starting a new chapter in our history.” Executive Chairman Howard Schultz offers the philosophy… Read more

On Memorial Day, it is time to remember those who died so that we as a nation may continue this unusual experiment in self-governance called democracy. History has few examples for us to follow as we pursue the ongoing task of weaving the delicate fabric of freedom around forces that push us into less-free spaces. Our memories make us, inform us, shape us. Sometimes they fill us with the warm glow of love given and returned, of special joys and… Read more

The Truth: Donald Trump is every Southern Baptist male’s ultimate fantasy: to do openly what they have been doing in private. Yes, Paige Patterson is Donald Trump’s pimp.  Well, well, well, the Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary decided they’d continue to pander to Paige Patterson’s sexism by adding the title “emeritus” to President and give him a cushy, paid-for home on the campus. While drawing his fat salary, he can sit on the front porch rocking chair and comment… Read more

 What broken windows can we fix in The United Methodist Church? Perhaps if we found one, we could find The Way Forward. Can life be entirely fair? I started wondering that yesterday when my husband and I decided to have lunch at a new restaurant in our area. My routine question: “Do you have a gluten-free menu?” The routine answer, “No, but some items are marked with the (tiny, nearly impossible to see) symbol.” And, as is the case with… Read more

Do not criticize Paige Patterson for telling the truth: if your black eyes, in whatever form they present themselves, mean some man will show up at church, then do not complain about them. That’s God’s plan for you. Don’t bother to duck.  Does God mind it when women get hurt by the men in their lives? It seems like a silly question, but recent events make it a realistic one. Yes, even as I write this, I can hardly believe… Read more

The church in the US exists as a voluntary institution operating without state mandate (as opposed, for example, to the Church of England, still supported by taxes on landowners). It actually has no right to the “tithe” as the basis for it has passed. Dear Thoughtful Pastor, Matthew 6:4 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) reads: “Give your contributions privately. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.” According to this scripture, is it wise to put your… Read more

My own great divorce from Evangelism came years ago and as accompanied by much grief. I left because . . . well, I was kicked out. Too mouthy, inadequately submissive to male authority, and, finally, I committed the ultimate, and the unforgivable sin: I got a divorce. A real one. I crossed the invisible line and paid the price. C. S. Lewis’ profound book, The Great Divorce, sprang to mind when I read an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News by… Read more

The Nashville Statement makes it clear: we humans need to limit God’s redemptive activities. We only want God to redeem our friends and those who think like us. Never, ever do we want God’s favor to land on those whose actions and habits deny our own core beliefs.  Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I’ve been studying the Nashville Statement – the 2017 evangelical statement of faith condemning same-sex relationships and transgender identity. The first article of the statement seems to contradict the… Read more

Privacy no longer exists–and that is a good thing. And I’ve gone to meddling today as I continue with my morning pattern of reading real newspapers and praying my way around the world. I offer you today’s snippets. Ditch that padded running shoe and go as close to barefoot as you can. According to a Wall Street Journal article called, “How Can You Make Running Less Painful”, the problem lies in our heavily padded running shoes which encourage people to land… Read more

As I wander through today’s newspapers, I am both in awe of and appalled at the capacity of the human being to do evil and bring harm, both intentional and unintentional, The Venezuelan president, with a nation in an extreme financial and humanitarian crisis, refuses to take aid freely offered by the US that could easily keep many of its starving and very ill citizens alive. We’ve messed up the Panda Bear habitat, bringing them too close to the possibility… Read more

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