Called and Gifted? How about Called to Circuits?

The blogging world of United Methodist Clergy has exploded recently with the revelation that the Texas Annual Conference is floating a document that appears “ageist” in its suggestions as to who might or might not be encouraged to seek ordination there. I want to thank Jeremy at Hacking Christianity for this post which exposes the possible plans in the Texas Annual Conference for discouraging older people from entering the ordination process. Now, there are lots of comments flying around. One, from someone who was part of creating the proposal, reminded us that we live in the real world and that, … Continue reading Called and Gifted? How about Called to Circuits?

Controlling the Narrative: Lance Armstrong and the Rest of Us

“I wanted to control the narrative.”  That phrase has sprung out of the otherwise unsurprising Lance Armstrong doping confession. The need to “control the narrative” captures much human motivation and underlies multiple decisions. If we can indeed control the narrative, we can keep ourselves protected, lie with impunity and still look intact, together and successful. Armstrong’s real problems lie far beyond the lying and the doping. Those transgressions can be seen as primarily self-destructive. But Armstrong was other-destructive because he insisted that all who rode with him had to submit themselves to the full doping regimen AND routinely lie about … Continue reading Controlling the Narrative: Lance Armstrong and the Rest of Us

The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Three

Note: this is part three of a three part series. Part One is here; Part Two is here. Three Things to Keep in Mind First: not all growth is good growth.  When effectiveness is measured only by numerical growth, we make the fatal mistake of assuming that just because something grows rapidly, it is doing so under the blessing of God.  All gardeners and physicians know this:  rapid growth doesn’t necessarily mean good, healthy or desired growth. Second:  the process of making disciples is a long, slow, and often painful one.  A disciple is one who is actually willing to … Continue reading The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Three

The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Two

Note: this is the second of a three-part series.  Part one is here; part three is here. The Church is In Crisis I suspect everyone agrees that The United Methodist Church, as a world-wide organization, is in crisis.  Our membership grows older and the death tsunami looms. Few churches see a vital future. People in the US church, who have been the principle financial support of the worldwide church, are moving away from denominational religious structures. The crisis leads to pressure to have numbers that look good. We’re no different in that sense from any business that must please its … Continue reading The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Two

The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part One

I recently walked out of a local electronics store in some frustration.  I have an older inkjet printer that needed new ink cartridges.  Now, ink cartridges are some of the biggest consumer rip-offs ever devised, so I wasn’t in a great mood when I walked in.  My irritation grew when I realized that my aged printer does not have its exact model number indicated on any of the multitudes of printer cartridges available. Two different sales staff tried to help; each came up with a different solutions.  Both admitted that if I bought a cartridge, put it in the printer … Continue reading The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part One

Silence, Sandusky and Subordination

The Freeh Report Because of the release of the Freeh Report, multiple news organizations have offered more information recently on the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.  Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, hired by Penn State to investigate, published a scathing report about the extent of the cover-up by university officials.  Freeh concluded that those officials showed a callous disregard for the vulnerable youth because of their need to protect the football program at all costs. According to the report (page 21) in November of 2000, this happened: “Janitor observes assault by Sandusky, but does not report … Continue reading Silence, Sandusky and Subordination

On Needing Sleep

Every generation and every culture has its own triumphs and makes it own mistakes. We can often see both the triumphs and the mistakes in our child-rearing practices. In the early parts of the 20th century, prevailing wisdom insisted that a child be picked up as rarely as possible and little physical affection given. From that, a generation of structured, emotionally detached parents emerged. Then we had Dr. Spock and the invasion of what was called “permissive child rearing.” Here, parents imposed fewer and fewer limits on children. Such methodology helped produce the group called “baby boomers,” most of whom … Continue reading On Needing Sleep