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: Love, Fear, and Hope (March 30, 2020)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. – 1 John 4:18a I was about six when my dad and I took an overnight train to Chicago. It was high adventure for me. We were in a sleeping car, with fold-out-from-the-wall bunk beds. I was in the upper, and dad in the lower. In the middle …

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SUNDAY MEDITATION: Into the Fire (March 29, 2020)

[NOTE: The weekly schedule of Monday Meditations returns tomorrow.] Through faith they conquered kingdoms, brought about justice, realized promises, shut the mouths of lions, put out raging fires… – Hebrews 11:33 I admire, and greatly appreciate, first responders. There’s nothing more inspiring than people who literally put their lives on the line for the sake of …

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SATURDAY MEDITATION: Social Distancing and Songwriting (March 28, 2020)

[NOTE: We’ll return to our Mondays-only format next week.] I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? – Psalm 121 If you need an infusion of hope, re-read Psalm 121. It recalls us from narrowly focusing on whatever it is we need an infusion for. Looking at the big picture—“toward …

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THURSDAY MEDITATION: Learning from Baby Birds (March 26, 2020)

[NOTE: We’ll return to a Mondays-only format next week.] I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. — Romans 8:18 If a baby bird doesn’t look up, it doesn’t get fed. Something in the grand design of evolution put the natural instinct …

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WEDNESDAY MEDITATION: A Mouse in the House (March 25, 2020)

[NOTE: We’ll return to a Mondays-only format beginning next week.] Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. — Acts 16:25 One of the most counter-intuitive scenes in the Bible is that of imprisoned Paul and Silas, beaten and bloodied, singing a “robust” …

Read moreWEDNESDAY MEDITATION: A Mouse in the House (March 25, 2020)

TUESDAY MEDITATION: Building a Home in Chaos (March 24, 2020)

[NOTE: This week my meditations run daily, and will return to a Mondays-only format next week.] I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen …

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MONDAY MEDITATION + SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT (March 23, 2020)

As we all live through the uncertain times related to COVID-19, I thought it might be helpful to offer a daily devotional this week, focusing on biblical themes of hope and perseverance. Feel free to share the links with any you feel may benefit from them. We’ll return to a Mondays-only schedule next week. I …

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Keeping Still (March 16, 2020)

[Moses said,] “The LORD will fight for you. You just keep still.” – Exodus 14:14 I’m writing this in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The United States is basically on lockdown. Fear is rattling everybody. But if you think we have it bad, consider the Hebrews, who’ve just followed Moses out of slavery in …

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