The Problem with “Biblical Values”

Actually, the problem is with the words, not the values. It arises when you use a phrase, understanding what you mean by it, but the reader or listener takes it another way. A conservative newspaper columnist recently wrote of her apprehension that liberals were pushing the LGBTQ agenda. She feared they were attacking the “biblical …

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Honesty and Humility Aren’t Enough

There are two defining virtues for a Christian: honesty and humility. Honesty: Christians have the courage to try and see themselves as they are, as objectively as possible. We search for blind spots, masked prejudices, self-justifications, and so forth. (Wasn’t that the point of Wesley’s small groups?) Humility: We admit we are hopelessly and unconsciously …

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“Staying” or “Beginning”?

I’m intrigued by something Father Richard Rohr wrote in his The Wisdom Pattern: Order-Disorder-Reorder. “It seems to me we must begin conservatively—with clear boundaries, identity, and a sense of respect for our reality. Then, and only then, can we move out from that strong center, according to our education and experience.” (p. 61) The trick, …

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A Flat Earth Bible?

The biblical writers believed in a flat earth. It was the stationary foundation of their world view. Under the flat earth was Sheol, the place of the dead. The sky was the domed firmament that held back water. Above it all was heaven. This sounds so, well, ancient. Good science at the time, but bad …

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Sitting with the “Enemy”

When a picture circulated of comedian Ellen DeGeneres sitting with former President George W. Bush during a Dallas Cowboys football game, it raised some eyebrows and questions. As Ellen said, in a USA Today story, people asked themselves, “Why is this gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?” The implication seemed to …

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Is God on Our Side?

Abraham Lincoln followed a vision that transcended partisanship. In his second inaugural address, with the Union’s victory assured, he could have piled on. He could have condemned the South and spoken about an eye for an eye. Indeed, our current political climate would have repeatedly fostered animosity through endless tweets. But Lincoln saw the bigger …

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Commandments Eleven and Twelve

The Ten Commandments form the foundation for honoring God and relating to fellow humans. After reading The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks, though, I think we could add a couple of others for the era in which we live. Brooks, a journalist and commentator, offers a candid glimpse into …

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No Pure Place to Stand

The Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church recently completed its three-day meeting in Springfield. We elected delegates, lay and clergy, who will represent us at the 2020 General Conference, the policy making body of our denomination. The people we elected (with surprising quickness) all endorse full inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community into the …

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