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

December 28, 2018

So first, I must know: what indeed do I control? Answer? Me. Only me. Try though I might, I can’t control anything or anyone else. I don’t have that power. And neither do you.  My husband and I recently returned from a long and fascinating cruise that eventually took us deep into the Amazon River. On multiple levels, the trip was eye-opening for me. I learned about the gigantic Amazon rainforest and its essential, and increasingly threatened role, in global… Read more

December 15, 2018

It dawned on me later that perhaps that large howler monkey, sensing that I was ill as animals are wont to do, may have been acting as a guard, effectively saying, “Worry not. I’ve got your back.” I do remember having no fear, no sense of discomfort, just the fullness of peace and the embrace of a world that is foreign to me.  Today, we sail in the somewhat calmer, deep blue, Caribbean. But a few days ago, after the… Read more

December 10, 2018

I managed to hold on until we got off the bus, headed to the pier edge, sat down on a fortunately placed piece of covered pipe and waited. The outcome was inevitable. After a few bouts of retching, I felt well enough to walk to the boat, but I also knew exactly what would happen when the blast of the ship air conditioner hit me.  Our travels sound very glamorous—and to some degree they genuinely are. We occupy a lovely… Read more

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