Today’s First World Problem

In a moment of complete self-indulgence, I am sending to the recycle center all of my years-long collection of plastic food containers and replacing them with a new set that actually has lids that match the containers. And yes, this is a classic case of a First World Problem!  That’s a great website if you…

Santa is NOT Jesus!

I love Christmas music.  The great hymns and classical pieces fill my soul and some of the other lighter pieces add a nice touch of frivolity to the season.  But I have one major gripe. A few days ago, I was idly listening to some Christmas music on TV while halfway engaged in another task.…

Smelly Women and a Hand Up

A late evening call to the church: “I’m in a motel with my little girl and I can’t pay the bill tonight and I can’t go home because I’m running away from my husband.  Can you give me the money to spend another night here?” A friend accompanied me to the motel where we could…

Above All, Do No Harm

The idea of “doing no harm” underlies many important service traditions.  The Hippocratic Oath, often taken by students upon graduating from medical school, reads in part:  “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.” The General Rules of The United…

Judicial Council Decisions: The Emperor Has No Clothes

The United Methodist Church cannot be re-formed. It’s over for us with our current structure. The Judicial Council’s decision to revoke the involuntary retirement of Bishop Earl Bledsoe over issues of violation of procedural minutia found in the Book of Discipline (not over the question of his effectiveness, which was not being ruled upon) has forever made…

The Election Port-Mortem, the Fundamentalist Takeover of The Republican Party . . . and The UMC?

Election Post-Mortem Mark Davis, a right-wing conservative radio host and columnist, wrote this in his post mortem about the Presidential election: But I lament a country where the middle class is more attuned to government benefits than the work ethic that was once our nation’s engine. I will blame the culture of dependency that leads…

Three Beat Up People, The Art of Discipleship, and Questions About the Pastoral Role

The Setting On Sunday evenings, I’ve been holding a remarkably well-functioning Confirmation class consisting of several young teens, one older teen, and four adults, ranging in age from early 30’s to mid-70’s, a mixture of men and women. The teens get drilled first. This is a “no-frills” confirmation regime: the faster they learn the material…