Don’t tell the unemployed, “It doesn’t make sense.”

"It doesn't make sense."That’s the common refrain from across the table --- the one thing the handful of people who will talk to you will say over and over again when you are unemployed: “It doesn’t make sense.”There are many reasons for that refrain.Some are simply trying to understand.The work that you did, the contribution that you made, the stack of commendations that you received, the article that featured your work, the claims that the company relied on your efforts, the to … [Read more...]

7 Things that Pentecost has to teach The United Methodist Church — and the rest of us

Here we are, one day after Pentecost and life is back to normal.Hearing the text of the Book of Acts read in multiple languages was exhilarating last week. This week it feels like happy-talk.Watching my United Methodist sisters and brothers navigate yet another General Conference is painful. It is difficult to watch the members of a great church with a rich tradition struggle to remain civil with one another. I am mindful of just how much those dynamics have been a part of my own … [Read more...]

3 Reasons Why Immortality Isn’t Everything It’s Cracked Up to Be

Chinese tech giant, Huawei, is on a campaign to compete with religion beyond the grave. More accurately, I suppose, one could argue that with the company’s help, the Chinese government is trying to erase the need for religious convictions by making the grave irrelevant. Or that’s the conclusion reached by Catholic Theologian, Thomas Williams.Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai this week, Huawei’s Kevin Ho, President of their handset products line, announced that soon child … [Read more...]

4 Ways Spiritual Direction Could Change the Church

There are times when, as theological educators, we have the rare privilege of not only contributing to a discipline, but we also get a front row seat to historic change.The practice of spiritual direction has entered one of those history-making chapters.Spiritual direction is a structured effort to listen for the voice of God with the assistance of a one-on-one relationship with a spiritual director or companion who provides space for that effort and asks questions that prompt the … [Read more...]

5 Priorities as We Vote

A number of years ago, I invited a New Testament scholar to speak at the Cathedral in Washington. I picked him up at Reagan – National – Airport - in Washington – by God – DC. We drove up the tidal basin past the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, west of the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol, and then traveled up Rock Creek Parkway, past the Kennedy Center.“You, know,” he said, “I began my work as an archaeologist and I’ve often tho … [Read more...]

4 Ways Teaching in a Seminary is Different

 Some weeks ago, I polled my Facebook friends, asking this question “What gifts, skills, values, or knowledge do you value in a priest, pastor, or minister that a seminary can help your clergy acquire?”The survey was hardly scientific in nature, so I can’t claim any statistical validity for the responses. But it was a fairly large, committed, and thoughtful group of laypeople and clergy.The responses were interesting.One cluster of answers revolved around preaching and litur … [Read more...]

4 Ways the Culture Misunderstands Spiritual Formation

For much of the late 20th Century and all of the early 21st Century, an increasing number of people have described themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.”Even if that trend left the church at some disadvantage in speaking to the needs of a growing segment of the population, the development was a welcome one. It was also a wake up call to a church that had allowed an important dimension of its experience to slip to the margins of its life.The church’s failure to do that work, howev … [Read more...]

4 Ways the Church Misunderstands Spiritual Formation

The journey into God that transforms us and leads us into deeper connection with God lies at the heart of spiritual formation. Formation creates a space for that encounter to occur, and it nurtures the practice and virtues that makes that journey possible.But it is also widely misunderstood, even by churches.In looking back over decades of attention to the task of formation, here is a brief outline of four models for spiritual formation that are important elements of the experience, but … [Read more...]

The Last Enemy

At my brother’s funeral just over three years ago, the pastor officiating at the service brought us together in the church’s library and laid down the law. “There isn’t going to be any grieving today. We are going to celebrate Dave’ life.”He meant well.But then -- and even now -- I wanted to grab him by the lapels and say, “That’s easy for you to say.” Candidly, I’m sure the unedited, in-the-moment version was far harsher, but let’s leave it at that. I had things to celebrate, but I had a … [Read more...]

The Making of Donald Trump and the Unmaking of a Nation

As Donald Trump steamrolls through the primary season, the question many are asking is, “How could this possibly happen?”The man’s life is a bundle of contradictions. His speeches, while mercifully brief, are also devoid of content, apart from sweeping promises no one could reasonably believe he will fulfill. He is often crude, insulting, and vulgar. Nonetheless, his campaign thrives without spending significant sums of money to make it happen.Some theorize that Trump’s success has to do … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X