Ordain Thyself

For the past few months, I’ve been collaborating with a few guys on a fun little app. Today it went live on the iTunes App Store. So now, for just $.99, you can get ordained in over two dozen religions. You can learn what you believe, and even post pics of yourself in your religious vestments to Facebook and Twitter.

If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, give it a try and let me know what you think!

The Methodist Fiasco

As an observer and critic of denominations, I watch the United Methodist Church General Conference from afar earlier this month. And it confirmed my opinion: Of all the screwed up denominational systems, the UMC is the most screwed up.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Will Willimon, a Methodist bishop, writing in The United Methodist Reporter:

Methodist Bishop Will Willimon

General Conference in Tampa made history as the most expensive ($1,500 per minute!), least productive, most fatuous assemblage in the history of Methodism.  Sunday evening’s “A Celebration of Ministry” fiasco was a metaphor for our nearly two weeks at church expense: four hours of belabored supplication by the General Commission on Status and Role of Women, five Ethnic National Plans, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, United Methodist Men, Girl Scouts, Africa University and a number of other agencies I can’t remember.  A subtheme of that long night: even though we can’t cite specific fruit, please don’t force us to change or to expend less on ourselves.

Even after suffering this abuse, General Conference succumbed to the agencies’ pleadings.  In a post-GC blog, Mike Slaughter (who with Adam Hamilton eloquently—and futilely—warned GC that we must change or face certain death) told the truth: “Our denominational systems continue to resist change by protecting archaic structures.  From our seminaries to boards and agencies, institutional preservation was a strong resistant influence throughout GC.  Entrenched organizational bureaucracies resist accountability …”

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There’s a Queer Underground at Biola

The purveyors of the website The Biola Queer Underground and contacted me, hoping that students and alumni of Biola who read my blog would speak out in support of them. Here’s a little something about them:

The purpose of this website is multi-dimensional:

1.We want to bring to light the presence of the LGBTQ community at Biola. Despite what some may assume, there are Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, and Queers at Biola. We are Biola’s students, alumni, employees, and fellow followers of Christ.

2. Biola’s value statement reads, “We believe that integrity and authenticity should be hallmarks of every believer. Our relationships should be models of transparency, truth-telling and unwavering commitment to the example set by the Lord Jesus Christ.” Although Biola may have good intentions in the way it handles homosexuality and related subjects, this does not foster the desired outcome of integrity and transparency among LGBTQ individuals. We speak for our majority in saying that most LGBTQ people feel isolated and fearful of rejection should we act with integrity and come out of the closet. Biola needs to take a close look at its fundamental values, first to question whether they are carried out, and second to discuss if identifying as LGBTQ is in fact contrary to these values.

3. We want to be treated with equality and respected as another facet of Biola’s diversity. Reconciling faith with non-conforming gender/sexual identities is our most important and difficult goal. This of course will take time. We begin by sharing a few of our personal stories and writings.

Find them here: biolaunderground.com.

Do You Pray?

I’m at the early stages of a book called, Why Pray? Why Some People Pray, Others Don’t, and What God Has To Do with It, and I could use your help. I don’t want this book to just be about why I do (or don’t) pray. (You’ll have to read the book to find out if I do or don’t pray.)

I’m happy if you’d like to write in the comment section about why you do or don’t pray, but I also want to give a confidential place for you to answer that question. There are pastors who read this blog and don’t pray — they’d probably rather not publish their doubts for all to see.

So, here’s a form where you can contribute your thoughts to my writing. And, in advance, thanks.


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