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The Seduction of Young Men and Destruction of Compassion by the Neo-Calvinist Church Planting Movement

When the theology says, “You are a totally depraved human being. Nothing good can happen to you unless the sovereign God decides to grant you a blessing,” then those who are “blessed” find perfect justification to believe that the poor … Continue reading The Seduction of Young Men and Destruction of Compassion by the Neo-Calvinist Church Planting Movement

The Inquisition Cometh #UMC

I just read the heartbreaking report that some 60 (unnamed at this point) conservative pastors and theologians in the United Methodist Church have held a phone conversation about the deepening divisions within this denomination. From the news report: The group said that they were forming a smaller working group to bring suggestions to the larger group for responses, including suggestions of withholding funding from the church, advocacy with the Council of Bishops for greater enforcement of the Book of Discipline,  and the possibility of creating a proposal for the division of the United Methodist Church into two denominations. [Boldface mine] And so, … Continue reading The Inquisition Cometh #UMC

The Pastoral Life: They Die for Any Reason

I had just watched the dam deliver her fourth lamb, with help from the foreman of this lovely farm in the Cotswolds. This particular breed of sheep tend to give birth to twins regularly, but quads are highly unusual, and we just happened to be there at the right time to observe. Here’s the video. Be aware that it is “narrated” by the voices of four young children (4-7) who are a bit grossed out by the process, even as they stand there fascinated. Before this birth, the foreman, a kind and patient man, had given the tour of the lambing … Continue reading The Pastoral Life: They Die for Any Reason

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

Why It Matters: The Episcopal Situation in the North Texas Conference

Jeffrey Weiss, a reporter with the Dallas Morning News, has asked these questions concerning the episcopal situation facing the North Texas Conference:  “Why does this matter? And to who? Clearly, it’s a big deal to North Texas Methodist clergy. But who else should be paying attention? And why?” Here is my response: Does this Episcopal situation matter to anyone besides the United Methodist clergy? Three Levels On one level, and speaking on a short term time frame, no, not really. We clergy and the members of the churches we serve are the only ones who experience anything directly. Even then, … Continue reading Why It Matters: The Episcopal Situation in the North Texas Conference

The Language of Power and Pentecost: Bishops, Clergy and Gardens

Note:  this is part of a larger body of writing I am currently working on with the theme of “The Sustainable Church” which is an extended metaphor of church as garden.  I believe what I am learning has important applicability to the current situation in the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. How do plants communicate with the gardener that something has gone wrong?  What means do they use to let the one with authority over them, i.e., the gardener, gain awareness of their health, their diseases, their thirsts and their floods? This question strikes me as I … Continue reading The Language of Power and Pentecost: Bishops, Clergy and Gardens

Prayers for Annual Conference; unanswered questions to be addressed

Two weeks ago, Bishop Bledsoe invited the clergy of the North Texas Conference into dialogue. Yesterday, he announced his retirement. With Annual Conference starting tomorrow, I find myself deep, deep in prayer for all of us in the NTAC. I am in London on a three month Sabbatical that is also a journey of healing, both physical and spiritual, as I work on a project I am calling The Sustainable Church. I have learned this from my time in London:  time after time, this historic city has seen devastating fires and mass destruction from invading forces, the most recent being … Continue reading Prayers for Annual Conference; unanswered questions to be addressed