Early morning, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day combo: an unexpected turn of events upends plans. Thank goodness for modern medicine. And for a life of faith and prayer. Plan: an early morning Ash Wednesday service at our local Catholic church. My husband is Roman Catholic. Typically, we split services on this day, so I can attend a UMC one. However, the last few UMC I’ve attended since I retired were what I call “Ash-Lite.” I wanted to participate in the fullness… Read more

For those who preach and believe in predestination, the “God always has a plan” tribe, then yes, God does play favorites. Some get it good. Some don’t. Quit complaining. It’s all part of God’s design. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I just read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den (which seemed more like a cage than a den with free access to gazelles and rabbits). So God protected Daniel from being eaten because he was innocent.  Darius, on the other hand,… Read more

Here’s the truth about those who step up to complain of abuse: those who hold power seek to “disappear” them. I myself nearly did a permanent disappear. Until I decided to live. In a damning article about who knew what when in the Rob Porter, high-powered assistant to President Trump, wife-beating scandal, a writer for Slate magazine makes this painful point: There are many ways to disappear a woman complaining about predation and abuse. You can insult and demean them,… Read more

Ultimately, all the greats say that self-mastery underlies any accomplishments or hope of a truly fulfilling life. We pay attention to the mundane to free us to tackle the more significant and complex problems. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I am eighteen years old. Shouldn’t I be like experiencing life and learning new things and being awed by the world at this age? Instead, I feel beat down by trying to make sense of my life. It’s past the point of wishing… Read more

Warning: Don’t accept immigrants from this ****hole country. They have untreated parasitic infections, a high murder and incarceration rate, massive opiate problems, and an inability to pay medical bills. Don’t accept immigrants from this place. A significant number are infected with a parasitic roundworm of the Toxacara family. It is rarely treated and may cause significant brain damage. Which ****hole country is this? The USA. Don’t accept immigrants from this place. Every day, an average of 82 people die by handgun… Read more

Meditations on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day One young woman, eight years old and well before the age most people start thinking for themselves, said “NO.” “The answer is NO!” “No, I will not permit you to forcibly hold me down and cut my genitals so you can keep your traditions. No, I will not permit you to mutilate me in the name of ‘we’ve always done it this way’ and societal acceptance.” Because of her determination and courage, 50,000… Read more

Trump–and his avid disciples–are barbarians. They are not politicians. They don’t understand or honor the slow process of making policies. The “way we’ve always done things” cry is irrelevant to them. They are here to destroy and to rebuild the US in their image out of the ashes. And that is precisely why the UMC needs its Donald Trump. Background: I am married to a business owner who has given me a front-seat education on the effect that the policies… Read more

In my past role as “mystery worshipper” for a newspaper column, I am offering a few pointers for an effective church website. The number one issue: Never, ever change your normal worship time without splashing it all over your website! But other than that particular rant, below are some things I have learned after perusing hundreds of church websites. One: Do not assume that a Facebook page provides adequate electronic presence. You still need an actual, up to date, reasonably professional looking… Read more

Little things make the big things: what little things that make big things could we do in the big “do-over” time that we call the New Year? For the last four months of 2017, I lived with foot one or another in the “toes above the nose” stance. I had finally decided to undergo the surgeries necessary to correct inherited foot problems that have plagued me since I was a teen. And that was a long time ago. As the… Read more

Below is my, admittedly limited, take on the repercussions of the tax bill. Keep in mind that because of my husband’s occupation, when he is home, we watch a lot of business news. It is neither Republican nor Democratic–just questions and concerns about various aspects of the economy. 1. Of course, the bill benefits the uber-wealthy. They bought and paid for those currently in office. Just a fact of life. We might as well get over it. Money always talks…. Read more

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