October 18, 2021

The Revised Common Lectionary this week gave us an attempted double bind by the disciples James and John. It is a classic example of people believing too much in their own cleverness. “James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him,… Read more

October 14, 2021

We all agreed what we needed in our Annual Conference is a renewed sense of mission. At least, no one in our group offered any dissent to the idea. The sentiment made sense. Over the last 20+ years, I have heard many criticisms of The United Methodist Church coming from lay people. But I have not heard any criticisms of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The highpoint of our Annual Conference meeting has been the ceremonial sounding of the… Read more

October 11, 2021

The first sign of revolt was at the garden center. I stood in a long line waiting to check out. Then the cashier of the other line stepped out from behind her counter. “Folks,” she began, “I have to take my lunch break! I am sorry no one is here to fill-in for me. If you complain, complain to management.” She closed her register and walked away. The ensuing chaos was frightening. We found ourselves forced to allow people in… Read more

October 7, 2021

Will we recover? This is THE QUESTION every congregation is asking right now. Once the danger from the pandemic is over, will things return to normal? I certainly hope not. Consider what we will recover if we returned to normal? There are some things I wish I had not learned. There are other aspects of my life as a Pastor I do not wish to return to. And I don’t want what other people wish to recover. Our experiences gives… Read more

October 3, 2021

What? Jesus is for us! He is against them! Yes, it is an easy trap to fall into. We are not always on the side of the angels. Sometimes we are not on the side of Jesus when we try to be. Often we think some action or idea is good for two reasons. The first is it sounds good to us. The second is other people approve of it especially people who think as we do. I offer a… Read more

September 27, 2021

The new Netflix Series Midnight Mass is about a nightmare. It is a recurring one. People often try to change medication, diet, exercise pattern, and bedtime routines to avoid nightmares. But lifestyle choices cannot end some nightmares especially the living ones. The nightmare indicated by Midnight Mass is one that never dies. It never can go away. Beware of spoilers in this post. Plotting A Nightmare This limited series centers on a Catholic church in a small American fishing village in the… Read more

September 23, 2021

The death of Bishop John Shelby Spong brought up the suspected accolades and condemnations from the expected quarters. It was all predictable.  The Church is as polarized as the rest of society. It is a great tragedy. But the tragedy would be worse if the church was a monolithic entity lacking intellect and wisdom that ran down a cliff into the sea. Christianity would never have survived the Enlightenment if it had been. Bishop Spong tried to revive the Church… Read more

September 20, 2021

I am so over it. My tolerance has hit a big, ugly wall longer than the Southern border I understand the concept of demonic possession in ways I never have before now. The tragedy of 2016 is involved. But truth be told I was rapidly approaching my limit before then. Spiritual Fatigue Here is something I realized only recently. I no longer argue with people about the issue of homosexuality. It was not a conscious decision. I must have experienced… Read more

September 16, 2021

Spirituality and wisdom are inseparable. The two are so intertwined in Christian thought that you cannot have one without the other. The root of Christian belief is practice. “As the church prays so the church believes.” Theologically educated people learn this fact. But what many of us fail to understand is that faith and practice continue to inform each other. Christian revelation does not end with the Bible, Church Councils, or even The Reformation. For Christians, revelation is an ongoing… Read more

September 12, 2021

My previous post on Biblical Illiteracy drew a few good criticisms. Some readers thought I cut the article short. The nature of blogging makes for shorter writing pieces. It is frustrating sometimes. But it is good discipline as well. I left off in the discussion of proof texting as the means many use to establish “biblical teaching.” The old adage; “it means what it says, and says what it means” does not clarify what’s said. It merely sounds like it… Read more

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