Most of us know the story of the moving moment just after Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia when he told the driver to stop his car. Francis opened the car door, walked over to a barrier and kissed a 10-year-old … Continue reading When Following the Rules Denies the Hope of Grace
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: As a pastor, I have come to dread “Pastor Appreciation Month,” because it quickly becomes “Pastor EVALUATION Month,” where people express their resentments. I’ve spent three decades doing this work that has swallowed me whole and … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Clergy Appreciation Month and Reluctant Communicant
Are you as confused as I am about the situation in the Middle East and the recent Russian involvement? Knowing some history about the Russian involvement there, which goes back deep into the Middle Ages, helps. This brief history of that … Continue reading Russia, the Middle East, and Religious Political Rhetoric
I just saw a great article on “The Nature Cure,” where a physician actually prescribes outside sitting time in local parks, no electronic devices allowed. We need this. We need to sit outside. We need to sit outside without headphones … Continue reading Just Sit Outside
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: We have several examples of the power of prayer and the direct influence it can have on our lives and the lives of those around us. Yet you, in a previous column, would discourage people from … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: “Deliberately Diluting God’s Word” and First Class Women
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I am interested in your thoughts–or your take on God’s thoughts–about abortion. Many years ago I made the miserable and unhappy choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and while my reasons were very good, I have never … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Abortion Pain and the Choice Between Heaven and Hell
Did you know that SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) funds cannot be used to purchase feminine hygiene products? Can you imagine what it would be like to be a girl or woman living in deep poverty and unable to take care … Continue reading Ask Thoughtful Pastor: “Does God Like Women?” How About a Tampon Drive?
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Because one objects to certain aspects of Scripture, how does or can one believe the whole word of God?’’ ~Non-objectionable Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The Bible has been accepted as the inerrant Word of God for centuries. By … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: The Bible, the Whole Bible and Nothing But the Bible?
Battling the Systems Like just about everyone I know, I am in a constant battle with my body’s survival desire to put on weight. Vanity drives my battle. Cellular memory and human history drives my body. My body will ultimately win. … Continue reading Fighting the System: The Aging Body and the Aging UMC
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Do you believe in prayer? Does prayer work? If I pray for a friend with a disease and she dies anyway, did I just not pray hard enough? ~Disappointed Dear Disappointed: Three questions here. First question: … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Prayer and Lost Children