February 24, 2019

The real craziness of the organizational day is just about to start. I’m going to sign off here and start a fresh post. Forgive me for the typos and run-on sentences. All written quickly. Hope we all survive the afternoon.  I started writing this at 10:30 am. To that point, opening at 7:30 am, we had spent an hour in worship. Then a break. Then singing. Then “setting the bar” of the Conference (I’ve yet to figure out what that means… Read more

February 24, 2019

Yes, should the Holy Spirit fall here, no one will walk away unchanged. We’ll all recognize ourselves as hopelessly in need of grace, utterly thankful when it falls upon us, and devoid of judgment over the other, knowing that we all stand in the same space. My bet for this Conference? The Holy Spirit will stay far away as the intent to split and to “get my way” resides solidly in the hearts of way too many delegates. We can’t… Read more

February 24, 2019

The words of Bishop Carter and his passionate call for unity ring in my mind. May they do so in the minds of these 864 people, whose hard work now awaits them. But I’m worried.  Sunday morning: Worship started at 7:30 am. I was a bit late getting to the press box, but most others are late getting in at all as the lines to enter the dome are hundreds of people long–and it’s pretty cold out there. At least… Read more

February 23, 2019

The delegates have now been given the opportunity to move from prayer station to prayer station to continue in this exercise of world prayer. At first, few seemed to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get up and move and find spots of prayer around the room, but that changed shortly. We are praying our way around the world now. Great reminders of the suffering everywhere–some on a level most of us quite comfortable folks in the US have trouble… Read more

February 23, 2019

Brokenness and surrender. These are the themes of the morning. Very triggering for those who have suffered much at the hands of an autocratic church which has offered few open doors and limited welcome to many.  Because of delays in getting press passes, the conference had already started by the time we of the press, still without proper passes, were ushered into what is a terrible observation point. We do have TV’s up here, but there is an echo so… Read more

February 21, 2019

That’s the thing about pearls: in their imperfections, they mirror the church. Furthermore, the more they are worn, the more beautiful they seem to become. They grow richer with age. They come in many different hues and shades.  I have always loved pearls and have a nice collection of them, some from years past, some quite recently acquired. A meme has recently appeared on Facebook with a photo of a woman wearing her pearls and noting this: Wearing my pearl… Read more

February 19, 2019

It is that “don’t knowness” that is now bringing me to a breaking point. I, deeply educated as I am about the Holy Scriptures, about church history, about the nature of theology, am aware that when I declare something about God with absolute certainty, I am also most certainly lying–or at least not offering the whole truth.  It has been a tough week for the religiously faithful people. Let’s start here: On the front page of the Friday, Feb 15,… Read more

February 11, 2019

The often-funny Pearls Before Swine comic strip with its “Great Bunny of Wisdom” wish speaks specifically to our crazy political world. The fights in the church world, particularly the UMC one, nearly perfectly mirror the ones in the political world. The essential message slammed me in the face.  Why the facepalm when I saw this? Because we in the church DO have a Great Bunny of Wisdom. We call that Great Bunny by far more majestic titles, of course. Things like… Read more

February 7, 2019

Liberals need conservatives; otherwise, things fall apart. Conservatives need liberals; otherwise, things get stuck. Healthy societies, held together by the cultural glue of shared assumptions–the necessary conservative part of life–can also bring in new ideas with lowered levels of fear–the necessary liberal part of life. But it’s easier to push Jesus over a cliff instead.  A woman, who had walked away from a tight-boundaried religious community, said recently, “I need a tribe where I can be safe.” Her comment spoke to… Read more

February 4, 2019

This is what the doctrinally pure, i.e., the splinter Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA), will ask anyone who wants to belong but who may not fit their definition of purity: just “turn it off.” I saw the musical, “The Book of Mormon” last weekend–and laughed all the way through it. As my friends warned me ahead of time, it is full of the “f-bomb” word and extremely sacrilegious. They were certainly right. Another friend, after a similar warning, also mentioned, “it… Read more

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