Feelings about the Proposed United Methodist Church Split

I am relieved by the proposal recently hammered out by the inclusive, high-level mediating group dealing with the future of our denomination. If it ends up being presented at, and approved by, the 2020 General Conference in May, then the decades-old wrangling over gay ordination and same-sex marriage may finally come to an end. It …

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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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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: Conservative or Liberal? (February 17, 2020)

If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: “This is the way; walk in it.” –Isaiah 30:21 One of the most profound revelations I’ve ever come across is that we are programmed to be either liberal or conservative. We’re predetermined to traditional values and …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: From a Different Angle (February 10, 2020)

God kept remembering that they were just flesh, just breath that passes and doesn’t come back. –Psalm 78:39 Have you ever encountered people in your life who you just didn’t like, who irritated you? We all have, of course. They are the ones who ping your internal radar with a warning to avoid them if …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Slavery of "What if…." (February 3, 2020)

“Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? If you can’t do such a small thing, why worry about the rest?” –Luke 12:25-26 Just as we can be enslaved by seeking the conditional love of others, so can we enslave ourselves by our self-chosen problems and projects. I have a …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Slavery of "If…" (January 27, 2020)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” –Luke 2:32 (NRSV) Father Henri Nouwen once said that if we are concerned with the world’s “if’s,” then we are destined to be enslaved. We look for love, and the world gives it… “if.” If you think like me, …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Channeling Dr. Seuss (January 20, 2020)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.–Revelation 21:1-2 And to Think That …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Just Have Fun (January 13, 2020)

“Yet [I] came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” –Matthew 11:19a One evening at bedtime, I asked my son Cameron, who was five, what he’d like to thank God for. He replied, of course, “I don’t know.” “Well, what makes you happy? …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Best New Year's Resolution Ever (January 6, 2020)

Luke 18:35-19:10 The two characters in the passage from Luke aren’t very lovable. One is a whiny blind beggar with an attitude problem. The other is a corrupt businessman who extorts taxes from his fellow citizens. Social media would have lit up these two men. Insults, stereotypes, rumors. But since such postings wouldn’t happen for …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Singing at Your Wedding (December 30, 2019)

He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.  – Zephaniah 3:17 (The Voice) I’ve officiated at hundreds of weddings. Each was unique and special. There was one, though, that made a lasting impression on me. It was that of a young couple, freshly graduated from college. …

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