Let’s be fair, UMC, and exclude ALL the unclean, not just the homosexuals

Jesus broke the rules of the holiness code, rendering himself ritually unclean, with great regularity. We want a cheap holiness code, not the one Jesus taught and modeled Sex life examination mandated to exclude the unclean With Judicial Council Ruling on Petition 1343, various Boards of Ordained Ministry are going to be required to make a [Read More…]

Could Diverse and Especially Female Clergy Be What Is Killing the UMC?

A third reason the UMC is dying may be because of a thorny issue we don’t want to acknowledge: the decision to be more inclusive with ordination and especially bring female clergy to positions of highest leadership.  After a one-year stint as a professional Mystery Worshiper, I would say that the LDS (Mormon) web presence is [Read More…]

Wild dogs, babies and betrayed trust: why the UMC is disintegrating

Trust serves as the glue that holds any society together. We trust that others will obey the traffic laws, will pay their fair share of taxes, will be faithful to their spouses, will respect one another’s property, will contribute a proportionate amount to the common good. When that trust is betrayed, the wounds go deep [Read More…]

The Megachurch Infection

The megachurch infection may lead to the eventual death of Christian connection, also known as the church. Let me explain. In 2014/2015, I did a series of “Mystery Worships” where I visited a different church each week and wrote a newspaper column about it. After noting a “meh” response to one church we attended, I thought I’d [Read More…]

Do we want tight doctrinal standards or do we want to follow Jesus?

After spending much of 2014 and 2015 visiting churches, I have become increasingly aware that people flock to church groups with tight doctrinal standards. As many note, these still show growth both in the US and overseas. The more theologically progressive mainline denominations with looser doctrinal boundaries show declining numbers. The more rapidly growing churches rarely ordain women [Read More…]

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…]

The church then and today: the need to exclude defines us

Saturday was Sicily. We wandered in the small villages that Francis Ford Coppola inadvertently made famous by filming parts of The Godfather movie series in them. We were making our way to a church where one of the scenes was filmed.  Along the way, we saw this arch. The guide told us that we now [Read More…]

Notes from a retired pastor, musings from cruisings: swans and emaciated Jesus

Luxury cruising: finding our bed strewn with rose petals and towel swans along with a bottle of champagne waiting for us as a way to honor our anniversary. Luxury cruising: having the head chef come our table and say, “I’ve finally found you–you are not taking advantage of ordering anything you want ahead of time. [Read More…]

Notes from a retired pastor: musing from the cruising

My life has not turned out in any way that I expected when I decided to take early retirement. I had sensed strongly (and with significant pain for a lot of reasons) that God’s call upon my life had shifted its emphasis. I’ve always known there was a dual call: both to the pastorate and [Read More…]

The penchant for purity will kill the church

I am watching from a distance as I see The United Methodist Church slowly disintegrate into irreconcilable factions led, kind of, by a group of paralyzed Bishops. At this point, they appear to be unable to even come to a consensus on who to put on a committee to address the issues nibbling away and destroying [Read More…]

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