Never Too Old to Be Tacky

Supposedly, the older you get, the wiser you become. Life’s experiences deepen character. You’re more patient, understanding, empathetic, and kind. Things become more flexible and conditional, and less inflexible and absolute. Younger generations discover how to cope with life, and prosper in it, by learning from wise silver-haired gurus. This is the theory. Unfortunately, incidents …

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George Floyd: Why Is Peace So Difficult?

After every senseless, racist murder, and after the public outcry and protests, we hope that we’ve moved closer to exposing racism and achieving a more just, peaceful society. Then there’s another George Floyd instance, and we’re back to pain and more division. As a white person who doesn’t know what it’s like to live the …

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A New Kind of Fundamentalism?

With protests against COVID-19 restrictions popping up around the country, I’m wondering if we’re not seeing a display of a new kind of fundamentalism. Christian fundamentalists, a sliver of believers, have been around a long time. They derive their name from adhering to five fundamentals of the faith. Their resulting version of Christianity comes across …

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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: No Need to Hide It (June 29, 2020)

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field.” – Matthew 13:44 This one-verse parable stresses that the new way of living offered by Jesus is worth more than anything else in …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Racism and White Impatience (June 22, 2020)

Naaman went away in anger. He said, “I thought for sure that he’d come out, stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the bad spot, and cure the skin disease.” – 2 Kings 5:11 Most white Christians are avowed anti-racists. Those of us who fit that category want the …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: He Never Said “…As Long As…” (June 15, 2020)

He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” – Matthew 22:37-40 One …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Unseen Value of Humility (June 8, 2020)

Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses on account of the Cushite woman whom he had married—for he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” The Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was humble, more so than anyone on earth. – Numbers 12:1-3 These verses are a soap opera …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Seeing Stars (June 1, 2020)

[The magi] asked [King Herod], “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” – Matthew 2:2 During the pandemic and people staying in their homes, an interesting phenomenon occurred. Pollution lifted and people saw things that they couldn’t see before. In one …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “The Faith of a Son (or Daughter)” (May 25, 2020)

Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” – Galatians 4:6 The childhood of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, bore similarities to an Army boot camp. Everything was done on a rigid schedule. Any disobedience was punished swiftly, often with the “rod.” And …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: An Absurd God (May 18, 2020)

God made every kind of wildlife, every kind of livestock, and every kind of creature that crawls on the ground. God saw how good it was. – Genesis 1:25 While sheltering in place, I’m binge-ing on some documentaries. One of my favorites is a Netflix series titled “Absurd Planet.” It highlights the strangest looking and …

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