“The Christians”–both the play and the reality

The vote supports Pastor Paul, but it doesn’t take long for Pastor Joshua’s new church, affirming the reality of hell, to drain the mother congregation. I saw The Christians on Sunday. Lucas Hnath wrote this play about Pastor Paul, a man who had skillfully grown his church from a tiny storefront to a huge megachurch, [Read More…]

The year everything broke

All of us live in the tensions between creation and re-creation. Nothing is stasis or particularly stable or immune from breaking. Last night, the dishwasher broke. (The repair service showed up promptly, fixed the problem but indicated that the fix is only temporary–we will be needing to replace it soon). Before that: The new coffee grinder [Read More…]

Church: take notice–people are leaving and not coming back

We all know the church ship is rapidly sinking. What fascinates me about the United Methodist Church is how little we seem to care. Instead, we wasted at least a generation and a massive amount of money with arguments over petty issues, and especially over petty issues that make us look like a bunch of [Read More…]

The truth about the future of the United Methodist Church

The truth about the future of the United Methodist Church? There is no future. It is as simple as that.  There is no future. I have been putting off writing this post for six months now, but it is time. I attended the 2016 General Conference as part of the United Methodist Reporter journalistic team. I [Read More…]

The view from the pew, reflections from a retired clergy: guilt and peace edition

The Guilt Factor I’ve been retired from formal ministry for nearly three years now. Frankly, Christianity looks a lot different from the pew–and away from the church bubble. I just wrote a resignation letter to a non-profit agency where I have sat on the Board of Directors. I believe strongly in the mission and appreciate the [Read More…]

Pages: 1 2

Theological Education and the Spread of the Gospel: Antithetical?

This morning at General Conference, we saw a heated debate about providing much, much more money for theological education in Africa. The statement kept coming up about how fast the church is growing there. The call for far more funding for advanced theological studies there suggests that many African clergy may not have anywhere near the amount of [Read More…]

All hell breaking loose at General Conference

[Note: Keep checking the United Methodist Reporter site for latest news] This morning, after a plea from the highly respected Rev. Adam Hamilton that the Bishops of the UMC do their job and offer some leadership through our morass, the Bishops presented a statement. In that statement, they recommended that all legislation concerning human sexuality [Read More…]

General Conference Day One: A Beautiful Morning for a Gay Ordination

OK, Portland is gorgeous. Lovely flowering bushes sweetly frame the craftsman-style bungalow, an Airbnb rental where I’m staying with the United Methodist Reporter team. Delicious coolness kissed the morning air as a cloudless blue sky belied Portland’s reputation as a place that rains all the time. I would be happy just to sit outside and [Read More…]

Fifty Shades: Female Sexual Power May Be the Real Issue

Ray Rice stands in an elevator and punches out his then girlfriend.  Anastasia stands in the elevator and says loudly “Stop!” to the handsome, rich boyfriend, Christian. He is stopped in his tracks. That’s the difference between a woman with power and a woman without power. According to the Rev. Dr. William K. Kirby, one [Read More…]

The Seduction of Young Men and Destruction of Compassion by the Neo-Calvinist Church Planting Movement

When the theology says, “You are a totally depraved human being. Nothing good can happen to you unless the sovereign God decides to grant you a blessing,” then those who are “blessed” find perfect justification to believe that the poor and disadvantaged deserve what they get. When the theology says, “Men, you and you only [Read More…]