Six Days of Creation? Really?

According to an article in the Christian Post, the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church recently passed a resolution affirming belief that God created the world “in six natural days.” This might come as a surprise to the Creator, since we know earth to be over four billion years old. There’s irrefutable proof of that, as Bill …

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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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Tragedy in Church

A horrible event happened in the church I serve. Last Sunday morning (Feb. 17), a man entered the building and asked a greeter where the rest room was.  Once there, alone, he took his life. Our staff and security personnel responded quickly and appropriately. Happening toward the end of the last worship service, the congregation …

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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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It’s About Honesty and Humility. Period.

After 40+ years in the United Methodist ministry, two things have become clear. If we’re ever going to resolve our significant differences, we’re going to have to have the honesty to admit that none of us knows what we’re talking about. Each of us sees things only through a very narrow lens. Our genes, ancestry, …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Door Open, Light On (September 16, 2019)

Matthew 5:14-16 A young man, who’d been in my youth ministry twenty-five years earlier, walked into my church one day. After catching up with each other, he got to the point. “I stopped by to say thanks for saving my life.” That’s a conversation starter. He went on to explain how, as a youth, he’d …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Being Positive in a Negative World (September 9, 2019)

Exodus 17:8-13 The ancient Hebrews painted this story with broad strokes of melodrama. When the Israelites, in a battle for their lives, saw Moses on a hill with his arm raised, they were inspired. When he grew tired and lowered his arm, they lost inspiration. Putting yourself in Moses’ sandals, it is a bit tiring …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Loving Anonymously (September 2, 2019)

Luke 10:38-42 Martha’s flaw in this story isn’t her attention to detail. Actually, her attention to detail is admirable. Who doesn’t want a clean house when you’re entertaining? However, Martha’s words reveal what’s going on in her heart, and that’s the problem. “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: College Time (August 26, 2019)

1 Corinthians 13:8-11 Having served as a campus minister for several years, I became acutely aware of how traumatic the transition between high school and college could be. Many young people, having been raised in sheltered environments, had to discover shocking truths. Clothes don’t wash themselves. Bathrooms don’t clean themselves. Checking accounts have to be …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Loving Reality (August 19, 2019)

John 20:1-18 Jean Vanier (pictured above) encountered the neglect and suffering of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. He decided to do something about it and established a global movement (“L’Arche”) that provides authentic care and community for them.  He once said, “The big thing for me is to love reality, and not live in the imagination …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: 7,000 Diapers (Aug. 12, 2019)

Isaiah 49:13-18 That’s the estimate of how many times a child will be changed before earning their potty training degree. 7,000. A daunting number that could prompt any sane couple to double-think the parenting thing. Yet they choose it. Sometimes they even choose to have an additional child before the first one has graduated from …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Time to Awake (August 5, 2019)

Ephesians 5:8-20 When you’re asleep, you mistake delusions for reality. In daylight you know that you’re not really falling or that you’re not taking a final exam in a class you’ve never attended. The only danger is to believe those dreams are real when you’re awake. It’s easy to live in a dream-like state that …

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