Seven pieces of institutional clutter the UMC needs to leave behind

Right now, the UMC, bound by institutional clutter, is unfree, rigid, divisive and has regulated creativity out of the system. I’m a sucker for the “25 things you need to get rid of” article. Clutter drives me crazy. I used to watch those hoarding TV shows. In so doing, I became aware of the ease [Read More…]

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The United Methodist Church in a United Airlines moment

Those who need to fly will, for the immediate future at least, book flights on any other airline than United Airlines, whose skies are now distinctly unfriendly. Those who long for God and God’s goodness will go to any other church, uninterested in a “United” Methodist Church with no evidence of real unity. EVERYBODY has [Read More…]

“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…]

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What will the church do about the Intersexed? Just call them mistakes?

So what do we do with the Intersexed, those born with ambiguous genitalia? Shall we just call them God’s mistakes and be done with them? A black and white world is easier for all The world is ever so much easier to deal with when everything divides into two neat categories. This is good, that is [Read More…]

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…]