March 14, 2018

Or as the good old King James Version puts it, “I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD’S anointed.” That’s Donald Trump today. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I know this is a generalization but all generalizations have a basis in fact. When Obama was President the conservatives in the country railed at anything and everything they saw as a transgression of some, very poorly defined, standard.  Now Trump is the President and represents the conservative side. His transgressions (such as having an affair… Read more

March 13, 2018

Yes, there is something profoundly wrong at the heart of The United Methodist Church. And it is called the Evangelical Takeover. I admit it: I’m fascinated by the fact that with the death knell of Evangelicalism now being easily heard, the UMC is about to become downright Evangelical. I also just don’t get it. The Issue Behind the Issue Anyone who has been following the drama in the UMC about the potential split of the denomination over the issue of what… Read more

March 5, 2018

But too many of us are ready to cast those who think differently into hell. I sometimes wonder if this is the unpardonable sin: the taking upon ourselves the right to judge others for all eternity instead of recognizing that this privilege belongs only to God, not to us. In a previous post, I reviewed the forthcoming Netflix movie, COME SUNDAY, which tells the true story of pastor/evangelist Carlton Pearson and his fall from grace when he realized he could… Read more

March 5, 2018

I do not think Pearson’s spiritual journey is uncommon. Many have formerly held tight to the idea that God, without compassion, purposes that most of humanity, the creme-de-la-creme of creation, will suffer their afterlives in hell, a conscious, unending torment. Eventually, they realize that this idea makes no sense. What’s uncommon is how publicly this particular theological move was played out in Pearson’s life and the soundness of the rejection he experienced. So what is it about hell that makes so… Read more

February 28, 2018

I don’t know what life would look like if one entered with perfection into the will of God. The problem? Jesus messes that up for me. Surely, he, if anyone, did indeed walk that path to the center of God’s will. And look what happened to him. I feel for them, the UMC Bishops. At considerable expense and after prolonged anguish, they appointed a commission, The Way Forward, that was supposed to take this off their plate, i.e., discerning will of… Read more

February 28, 2018

And what would it look like to “put God back in schools?” I’m old enough to remember filing into the lunch room at school, having a teacher ring the triangle chime, and either leading us in a sung grace or being silent when someone would offer a prayer. It had no effect on me. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have a question about the response to the mass shootings specifically and to the role of religion in our society in general.  I… Read more

February 26, 2018

Chip decides to spend a year studying the Bible and living fully from the commandments he finds there. In other words, he will seek to Live Biblically. I absolutely loved the book by A.D. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Question to Follow the Bible as LIterally as Possible. I read it when it first came out and just re-read it after I had the opportunity to preview the CBS comedy, starting Feb 26, based on the… Read more

February 16, 2018

There is virtually no chance that the US government will enact any regulation that would limit the distribution of assault weapons, so we must take steps to find ways to identify and restrict the freedoms of those who will almost inevitably use them for the slaughter of the innocents. We as a society must take seriously the fact that some people just have no business of freely participating in it. Anyone in the US who pays attention to the news is… Read more

February 14, 2018

Early morning, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day combo: an unexpected turn of events upends plans. Thank goodness for modern medicine. And for a life of faith and prayer. Plan: an early morning Ash Wednesday service at our local Catholic church. My husband is Roman Catholic. Typically, we split services on this day, so I can attend a UMC one. However, the last few UMC I’ve attended since I retired were what I call “Ash-Lite.” I wanted to participate in the fullness… Read more

February 13, 2018

For those who preach and believe in predestination, the “God always has a plan” tribe, then yes, God does play favorites. Some get it good. Some don’t. Quit complaining. It’s all part of God’s design. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I just read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den (which seemed more like a cage than a den with free access to gazelles and rabbits). So God protected Daniel from being eaten because he was innocent.  Darius, on the other hand,… Read more

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