The Gospel of Flowers: Reflection on Ordination

I was doing a bit of housecleaning and realized that I needed to discard some flowers that had passed their prime. This lovely grouping had been given to me by some special friends on the day of my long-awaited ordination, June 10, 2008. I had been enjoying them daily each morning as I sat at my dining table and enjoyed breakfast. But, as happens for all live things, decay was setting in. Time for them to land in the compost… Read more

Cooperation: Two Way Traffic to Life

Why doesn’t God_______? You fill in the blank—you’ve probably asked the same question. Why doesn’t God heal the sick and stop the tragedies and right the wrongs and turn back evil and make everything nice? Yes, why doesn’t God? Well, that question isn’t going to be answered in one short column. There are libraries full of books trying to answer that question as people wrestle with the whole issue of evil and nastiness and horror and general yuckiness in a… Read more

Promiscuous Love

This time of year when the acorns and pecans cover sidewalks liberally here in North Texas, I start thinking about how nature, with its powerful urge to reproduce itself, shows us much about the nature of God’s love. There is so much of it that we can trample on it and still have plenty left over to feed wildlife abundantly and see many new trees sprout in the spring.  The nuts fall without apparently without discernment–they are not parceled out… Read more

The Betrayal

Over the past year, I have been watching trust slowly erode between me and another person. We were never close, but had what I thought was mutual respect and goals coupled with an ability to bridge differences in style and methodology. Bit by bit, the trust links broke. Happened on both sides, I believe, but I can’t be sure. I can only know for sure what I experienced here. And if I am to use this as a learning experience… Read more

Does God Listen to Our Prayers?

Just a little while ago, I was sitting at my desk in the church office in earnest prayer for a member of the congregation who had announced on Sunday that she was losing her job and needed to find another. She’s a single mother, doing a spectacular job with her children, a creative, hard-working, generous, intelligent woman and I had promised her that I would make this need my special care in prayer. A few minutes later, I was checking… Read more

Spilling Over: More Than You Can Handle

A friend and I were talking last week about the often heard phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” She contends, and I agree, that such a phrase is less than helpful and really not true. There are times in life when we are very much given more than we can handle. I feel quite sure the many Chinese families who have lost their only child (due to the rigidly enforced one-child rule) in the multiple schools… Read more

Power and Corruption

So, we have a cyclone in Myanmar, a small country also known as Burma in Southeast Asia, and countless numbers are dead and goodness knows how many more are homeless and in desperate circumstances. As always, the international aid community, led by the United States, swings into action. Supplies ready, medical staff standing by. And, according to a report by the Associated Press, here’s what happened: “Even as the death toll climbed, Myanmar’s authoritarian regime continued to bar nearly all… Read more

To See a President

Every four years, a group of people come together for a somewhat strange gathering for the uninitiated: it is called the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. At this gathering, there will be representatives from across the world, who have traveled to pray and worship and debate and learn and eventually to make decisions that will affect all members of this large group, over eight million strong. The process is slow, laborious, often tedious, frequently frustrating. Because we are… Read more

What have you done for me TODAY? Waiting on God

I knew well a man who had put himself through college with an athletic scholarship. He often used football analogies to describe life and growth and the human condition and our relationship with God. One of his favorite phrases was, “You are only as good as your last play.” By which he meant, of course, that one can have played a powerful game two or three weeks before, or even earlier in the game, but the only thing on the minds… Read more

The Redeemable Mistakes

Who among us has never done something that is regretted later? Who has never said an unkind word about someone or to someone? Who has never gossiped or spread untrue rumors? Who has never deliberately inflicted hurt or pain on another in a moment of high emotion? Who has not made some life choices that turned out in retrospect to be destructive to one person or another? Who has not violated written or unwritten moral codes at one point? Would… Read more

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