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Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Idolatry and Contrasting Points of View

In Exodus, God hands down the Ten Commandments. The second commandment forbids any graven images. Later in the same book, God tells Moses how the tabernacle is to be built and decorated — and all those chapters seem to instruct … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Idolatry and Contrasting Points of View

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Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Theology Matters, Especially ISIS Theology

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have been wondering what it is about the Islamic religion that justifies the actions taken against innocent civilians?  Certainly people have been making war on each other for as long as we have been called Human … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Theology Matters, Especially ISIS Theology

Church Plants Redux: Seven Reasons Why the UMC Can’t Plant Churches Quickly

“A drastically oversimplified screed masquerading as analysis.” That’s what one commentator called a recent blog I had written about the influx of young men into the neo-calvinist churches. While he could possibly have been kinder in the comment, I agree the post itself did not examine the some of the greater reasons why that type of church is showing such very rapid growth. I did talk about this several months ago when I wrote a (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek blog about why the UMC is such a dismal failure at church plants. But this is not a joke–and I now offer a better … Continue reading Church Plants Redux: Seven Reasons Why the UMC Can’t Plant Churches Quickly

Mystery Worship Eleven: A Missed Opportunity

Note:  this is part of an ongoing series.  Mystery Worship One is here;  Mystery Worship Two is here; Mystery Worship Three is here. Four is here. Five is here. Six is here. Seven is here. Eight is here. Nine is here. Ten is here. On my first Sunday back in Texas, I decided to attend an Orthodox Church for my Mystery Worship time. With some research for preparation, I discovered that the Orthodox Church considers itself the only true church, and is not in communion with other Christian groups.  Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Communion are expected to have made a confession in the presence of … Continue reading Mystery Worship Eleven: A Missed Opportunity

More on Sexuality, Acceptability and the Church

Here is a good, and a little bit funny, article on the nature of “biblical” marriages.  If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s how the author sums up the nature of “traditional” marriages with a biblical foundation: Traditional marriage is one man with multiple wives, multiple concubines, wives conquered in war and wives acquired in levirate marriage, possibly including girls under the age of ten, but definitely not including anyone of a different ethnic group, in an arranged marriage with disposition of property as its purpose. That seems very different from “one man, one woman,” does it … Continue reading More on Sexuality, Acceptability and the Church

In Heaven As It Is On Earth

I wish I could get it across that what Jesus lived and taught has almost no relationship with the “hate-ianity” that masquerades as Christianity across the press, airways and religious institutions today. What should be a grace-infused, fully-life-giving, all-welcomed, heavenly-spaces-opened, mystery-explored, forgiveness and reconnection-enjoyed experience has turned into a “gotta hate gays, gotta vote republican, gotta be sure and send everyone who believes differently to eternal conscious torment” religious charade. Now, the “gotta-hate” group makes better headlines. And the “gotta send everyone else to hell” mentality makes for tighter cohesive groups where if we are in, we are really in. … Continue reading In Heaven As It Is On Earth