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

January 29, 2019

Do I want to be well? It’s a harder decision than most of us realize. It’s easier to be sick, to be able to blame the sickness for not being able to do this or that. It’s also far easier to blame others on not being well because they didn’t show up with exactly what we needed at the exact time we needed them.  Several years ago, I was in Jerusalem and ended up at the Sheep Gate there, seeing… Read more

January 21, 2019

Poor women will become the designated baby-makers of our society. The well-to-do and the daughters of the well-to-do will be able to get their abortions if a pregnancy is inconvenient, embarrassing, a threat to the health of the mother, or the result of a sexual assault of some sort.  My formative years, the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, proved a heady time for women. Women in force began to claim their full humanity and equal standing to men. We were… Read more

January 9, 2019

Let’s practice the art of adulting, take responsibility for what has happened and find creative and morally sound ways to move forward. The more the church looks like Mr. Trump, i.e., white, older, exclusive, isolated, intolerant of differing views, the less it looks Christian.  I’ve not made any secret of my dislike for President Donald Trump, for who he is as a person, and for many of the decisions he has made as the most powerful person in the world…. Read more

January 8, 2019

Perhaps the church needs training wheels to help it navigate the necessary turns and twists that demand doctrinal and social flexibility. Those who read religious history see with sad repetition how the insistence on unchangingly straight roads led to disastrous outcomes both within the church and in the effectiveness of its ministry to others.  Last year, my husband, an avid cyclist, and I had one of our (possibly not so) brilliant ideas: I would take up bike riding again so… Read more

January 1, 2019

What will the headline about the UMC read after General Conference 2019? Probably not much different than the one on this New Years Day, but will quote bishops, rather than patriarchs, for the comments. And it will be all about money, clothed with the language of “we are orthodox, and they are not.” The headline grabbed my eye when I opened the New York Times today. Without reading the sub-heading, I first thought, “Oh no–the coming UMC split has now… Read more

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