I watched part of the Republican debate last night (Dec. 15). I chose to listen with a more generous spirit than I have to date. Each candidate genuinely believes that he/she is uniquely suited to be President of the US, … Continue reading Shall We Do Evil So That Good Will Come?
Dear Thoughtful Pastor: One thing is abundantly clear as I read my newsfeed on social media and the 24-hour news cycle: Much of the world is in fear. When I think about fear in the Bible, I mostly recall angels … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Fear-based Lives and Health Care Disasters
The big question of “What is Enough?” kept arising in the midst of this decision to retire early and respond more fully to God’s call to devote my working hours to my writing world. What is “enough” when it comes … Continue reading Three Months, Seventeen Days, “What is Enough?”
Last Friday night I was eyeing my swollen and throbbing finger in some frustration. A painful wasp sting had just put a crimp in the plans for the evening. Idly, I checked the news and heard to my horror that Oklahoma City was just at that moment being besieged again with tornadoes and driving rains so heavy that the reporters say it was more like a hurricane than a tornado. Definitely interrupted evening plans for them. I logged into Facebook and mentioned that I was watching the situation. Several people contacted me privately, admitting their fears about relatives there. They … Continue reading Unrelenting Suffering: Reflections on Oklahoma City Storms
Several weeks ago, in the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, I wrote: “evil defies reason.” With the exposure now of kidnappings and years-long torture of three women in Cleveland, the time has come to further explore the nature of evil. Again, evil defies reason. Reasonable people do not plant bombs that kill, maim and destroy. Reasonable people do not kidnap others and hold them and torture them for years on end. Reasonable people do not insist on sucking everyone around them into their own vortex of impenetrable darkness. Reasonable people may make lots of foolish mistakes, even indeed bringing harm to others, but they … Continue reading More on The Nature of Evil
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
Fear has won. We are shutting down. All, just in case . . . just in case someone gets sick and dies, or, more likely, someone gets sick and sues the school district or the county or church or business or what ever organization was so irresponsible to actually hold an event where someone might, just might, pick up a virus and pass it on. Yes, the swine flu is contagious, as are all types of influenza and lots of other illnesses as well. And yes, there are concerns that the relatively mild version going around now may hit again … Continue reading Let’s Shut the World Down
Two people want to pray. People can certainly pray anywhere, but these two decided to go to a place where prayers are routinely said. There is definitely something that enhances prayers by going to a place that really is set aside for such activity. The atmosphere may quiet the spirit, the whispers of other prayers, long since said, may still inhabit the space, pulling us toward a transcendent experience. A really fascinating book, just released, called The Year of Living Biblically tells, among other things, how the regular practice of prayer brought a sense of inner belief that has never … Continue reading Two Prayers–and a Problem