United Methodists: It is Time to Stop and Pray.

The battle over sexuality rages with new energy. The Just Resolution decision instead of a trial for Rev. Olgetree (this 80 year old retired clergy presided at the same-sex wedding for his son, and fellow clergy filed charges against him) has ignited a firestorm of separatist talk, exposing more fully the deep divisions among us. IT IS TIME TO STOP. It is time to stop and pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him, “teach us to pray.” IT IS TIME . . . To stop and acknowledge that only God is holy. To stop and … Continue reading United Methodists: It is Time to Stop and Pray.

The Freshness and Fragrance of the Gospel: Pope Francis and the UMC

In an interview published today, Pope Francis said the church should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings. Yes, he sounds very much like Jesus. I wonder how long he’ll last as Pope. I’d like to think a long time. But I doubt it. And it would be nice if the leaders of The United Methodist Church could also figure this out. Another quote from the interview:  “We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely … Continue reading The Freshness and Fragrance of the Gospel: Pope Francis and the UMC

Four Months, Fourteen Days

On December 31, 2013, I will say “good-bye” to a life and work I have simply loved.  That day will be my last day to serve as Senior Pastor at Krum First UMC, and my last day as an Elder in active service in The United Methodist Church.  The next day, I officially take on the status of “Retired.” I can carefully describe the methodical reasoning and name the logical steps I took to reach the decision to retire.  I can even sum them up in one sentence:  it is the best decision for me personally and for the church I serve … Continue reading Four Months, Fourteen Days

From Barren to Baby, Hope After Tragedy

As did many clergy, I faced a dilemma with this Sunday’s message after the events of Friday’s massacre of children. For Advent this year, I had decided to do a series I called “From Barren to Baby” and speak of some of Jesus’ ancestors, particularly those whose stories started with the barren woman scenario.  I learned long ago that when a passage in the Bible begins to speak of a woman unable to have children, it is code for, “Pay attention!!!  Something important is about to happen!” So, we’ve looked at the Abraham-Sarah-Hagar saga and then at the very strange … Continue reading From Barren to Baby, Hope After Tragedy

On Earth As It Is In Heaven, Initial Reflections on “Everything Must Change” Clergy Retreat

I read this New York Times Magazine article with fascination, drawn into the beauty of the life of people on a Greek island.  The writer has been seeking to find the key to their extraordinarily long lives. Their food is simple, homegrown, primarily vegetarian, and herbal teas and homemade wines are consumed daily.  Exercise is just a normal part of life, and everyone gets plenty of sleep.  However, the researcher affirmed the impossibility of just importing their food, sleep and exercise habits as a solution to the diseases of civilization that plague us in more developed countries.  He writes, As … Continue reading On Earth As It Is In Heaven, Initial Reflections on “Everything Must Change” Clergy Retreat

Dead Soil Produces Dead Souls: Thoughts on the Toxic Church

I hear the word “toxic” bandied about all the time, both applied to people and to churches.  The word means poisonous, of course.  Poison is “a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health” (from dictionary.com).  So if we are in a “toxic” relationship or toxic church, we are in a situation that promotes the opposite of what most of us want to experience, which is life and health. Not too long ago, this question popped up in an online discussion board primarily for United Methodist clergy: “Why do so many conferences allow problem churches … Continue reading Dead Soil Produces Dead Souls: Thoughts on the Toxic Church

Biblical Ignorance and the Delegates to General Conference

I have been reading blog after blog about what is happening at General Conference, taking particular interest in the ones that supported the now dead legislation that would take language out of the Book of Discipline that condemns homosexual practices. I have numerous thoughts here. The thing that hits me the hardest here is the utter biblical ignorance that is being expressed by those who oppose the full inclusion of our GLBT brothers and sisters into the life of the church. They pick up a few verses from Scripture and use them to condemn or go with that disgusting “Hate … Continue reading Biblical Ignorance and the Delegates to General Conference

The “Do-Over”

I was recently reading some material about learning to face the things that scare us the most while being reminded again of how difficult real life-change is. We stay stuck in destructive habits and relationships, soul-draining jobs, and unhealthy bodies. We live enlarging our separation from the Holy One because facing the pain of change so frightens us that we choose to stay stuck. The author of the work I was reading also suggested strongly that unless we are scarred by life, we have never really lived. We offer more when scarred, beat up, missing a limb or two, full … Continue reading The “Do-Over”

The Transformative “Thank You”

Wow, Thanksgiving is already upon us. School is out for all of next week, academic pressure is off for a little while, and many will travel for family gatherings. For years and years, my sister and I have prepared a very formal Thanksgiving meal at her gracious home in Plano for the extended family. The best linens, china, silver and crystal emerged from their normal storage spots to endure the yearly washing and preparation time. This year, after a rather tumultuous summer and fall for both of us, and the growing realization that what people really wanted to do was … Continue reading The Transformative “Thank You”