Why FaceBook And Robert’s Rules of Order Make Holy Conferencing Impossible: An Alternative Approach

Yet One More FB Explosion For what seemed like the trillionth time, I watched another clergy Facebook conversation degenerate into frustration, name-calling, shut-off, and despair. The few political conversations I have participated on using the same medium have seen similar fates. Why? First, let’s look at Twitter.  With a 140 character limit, it became a place to is to make a hard hit with few words and watch the fallout. One-liners rule the day.  And one-liners have no space for nuance, for shades of gray, for real dialogue that might lead to mutual understanding. With FB conversations, those brief one-liners can be…

Don’t Send Shoes

The number one thing is, “Don’t send your used shoes.” Compassionate people plus tough and tragic situations equals a desire to do something, anything, to relieve suffering. So we ask, “how can I help?” There’s plenty of suffering to go around. From mass near starvation of Syrian refugees to still-unmeasured destruction and death in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan to the average, everyday angst that afflicts most everyone–well, we’re just not going to run out of instances that birth the impulse to help. Where to start? Don’t send used shoes. Really. Don’t do this. It makes things worse. One veteran aid worker,…

Charities, Corruption, and Wisdom

I mentioned in my message this past Sunday that all of us engage in a corrupt world. Our job is not to separate ourselves from it, but to bring light and grace to it.  It takes a great deal of wisdom to learn how to do this without corrupting our own souls. While many have tried to create utopian communities where corruption will be unwelcome and people can live in harmony and peace, such communities ALWAYS fall apart. That, like it or not, is the human existence. All my life, I’ve been drawn to organizations that seek to enhance the common good.…

God, Tragedy, Churches, Faith and Forgiveness

The Dallas Morning News had a front page article today about the role faith and churches are playing in the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes in Granbury. The beginning of the article contains these statements: In a place where so much has been lost, broken and scattered, many people in this tornado-touched town say they found something they didn’t know was missing. “I guess you’d call it faith,” said Josiah Thompson, a 26-year-old who decided at the last minute to take his wife and two young children to Granbury Baptist Church on Wednesday night. Thirty minutes later, his rental home exploded in…

Taxes, Details, Money, and Peace

After about five hours of uninterrupted work on my computer, I finally had to say, “Time to quit.”  Would that I had been writing an article, or composing a message, or catching up on correspondence or something else wonderfully creative!  But this task was far more mundane:  going over my 2012 financial records in preparation for the income tax deadline. Clergy taxes are extremely complicated, as we are considered self-employed, and so pay the extra SE tax, but really are not. Every expense needs to be categorized. Good hardware and software help manage this herculean job of exacting record-keeping, but the task…

Cold and Comfort, Disquiet at the Disparity

It’s one of those days where I realize just how fortunate I am.  The wind is pretty wild here in Krum and the temperature dropped well into the freezing range overnight.  It’s projected to be bitterly cold here tonight. I personally welcome the cold weather.  I sleep better, and also appreciate the necessity of extended cold for the sake of yard and garden. I am also not poor.  I live in a reasonably well-insulated house with a good heating system, have warm enough clothes, a car with a good heater, and plenty of blankets. No reason not to enjoy this. But I’ve…