Does Our Religious Orientation Choose Us?

Light shone down from heaven in a seminary classroom one afternoon. It’s stuck with me all these years. The theology prof provided this moment of clarity when he said that there are basically only two theological orientations. We all fall, in varying degrees, into one of them. He called one “redemptionist.” This is the group …

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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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Suggestions for a New Methodism

With the Judicial Council’s recent decision that central elements of the Traditional Plan are constitutional, the trajectory of United Methodism has been set for the immediate future. There will be no Book of Discipline-approved ordination of homosexuals, nor will there be same-sex marriages performed without harsh penalties. The resulting uproar in the aftermath of the …

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Dealing with Post-General Conference Anger

I went on blood pressure medication shortly after the 2019 General Conference concluded. The two events are not unrelated. As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed those systolic/diastolic numbers creeping up in annual physicals. However, by the time the GC ended, my numbers had eclipsed the threshold. What happened in the St. Louis gathering shocked people …

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My Bible Is as Worn as Theirs

After the United Methodist General Conference approved the Traditionalist Plan, which kept restrictive language against homosexuality in the denomination’s Book of Discipline, there was great rejoicing in the world of far-right evangelicals. On February 27, 2019, Franklin Graham posted his happiness on Facebook. He saw this as a victory for “God’s Truth” and the “clear …

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Christianity’s Future?

Religious identity in America continues declining. One survey found that 35 percent of Americans now identify themselves with no religion, and that 44 percent of millennials view themselves similarly. (Christian Century, January 16, 2019) It’s obvious that whatever the Christian church has been doing is simply not working anymore. The future of the church, if …

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Feeling Judged

“Don’t judge, so you won’t be judged.”  –Jesus This is one of Jesus’ most oft-quoted commandments. About any young person, non-Christian, or non-believer can quote it.   Just because it is well known doesn’t mean it’s easy to follow, of course. Every so often I’m reminded of how often I miss the mark. The fervor …

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Doubting or Questioning? There’s a Difference

“Doubting Thomas” is not an endearing term. It stems from the Resurrection account in John’s Gospel when Jesus, post-crucifixion, shows up in the room where the disciples have huddled. Thomas, though, is missing. When later told about what happened, he replies dogmatically, “Unless I see him for myself, I’m not going to believe” (John 20:19-29). …

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