I don’t know what life would look like if one entered with perfection into the will of God. The problem? Jesus messes that up for me. Surely, he, if anyone, did indeed walk that path to the center of God’s will. And look what happened to him. I feel for them, the UMC Bishops. At considerable expense and after prolonged anguish, they appointed a commission, The Way Forward, that was supposed to take this off their plate, i.e., discerning will of… Read more

And what would it look like to “put God back in schools?” I’m old enough to remember filing into the lunch room at school, having a teacher ring the triangle chime, and either leading us in a sung grace or being silent when someone would offer a prayer. It had no effect on me. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have a question about the response to the mass shootings specifically and to the role of religion in our society in general.  I… Read more

Chip decides to spend a year studying the Bible and living fully from the commandments he finds there. In other words, he will seek to Live Biblically. I absolutely loved the book by A.D. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Question to Follow the Bible as LIterally as Possible. I read it when it first came out and just re-read it after I had the opportunity to preview the CBS comedy, starting Feb 26, based on the… Read more

There is virtually no chance that the US government will enact any regulation that would limit the distribution of assault weapons, so we must take steps to find ways to identify and restrict the freedoms of those who will almost inevitably use them for the slaughter of the innocents. We as a society must take seriously the fact that some people just have no business of freely participating in it. Anyone in the US who pays attention to the news is… Read more

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

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