The Crucial Difference Between Schism and Division: Lessons from the Garden

The question appears again and again in church life and right now particularly with mainline denominations: should we just give up and split up? There is a way to divide and still thrive. Let’s pay attention to the lesson from … Continue reading The Crucial Difference Between Schism and Division: Lessons from the Garden

I Would Have Cut and Run As Well

I would have cut and run as well. I would have run into that darkness to save my body, not caring that I was leaving behind my soul. You see, before anyone saw the light and bright of Easter Sunday, darkness prevailed. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem probably led many to hope, “Now, someone will get rid of these Roman oppressors!” They saw Jesus as “messiah,” the sent one who would set them free. Messiahs live in a world of misunderstanding, especially those who come preaching peace and concern for the outsiders, not war and gaining as much as possible … Continue reading I Would Have Cut and Run As Well

United Methodists: It is Time to Stop and Pray.

The battle over sexuality rages with new energy. The Just Resolution decision instead of a trial for Rev. Olgetree (this 80 year old retired clergy presided at the same-sex wedding for his son, and fellow clergy filed charges against him) has ignited a firestorm of separatist talk, exposing more fully the deep divisions among us. IT IS TIME TO STOP. It is time to stop and pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him, “teach us to pray.” IT IS TIME . . . To stop and acknowledge that only God is holy. To stop and … Continue reading United Methodists: It is Time to Stop and Pray.

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas

Holiday advice flows from every communication source, mostly on how to deal with too much forced togetherness of relatives and the stress of the next few weeks. And every year I ask, “If this is supposed to be such a fun time, why are we all so stressed?” I’m going to put the blame right where it belongs: on Norman Rockwell and Clement Clarke Moore. Norman Rockwell’s paintings graced The Saturday Evening Post covers for four decades and sometimes featured idealized holiday family gatherings. Moore probably penned the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” more popularly known as “The Night … Continue reading ‘Twas the Month Before Christmas

We Are In This Together

Syria. Chemical Warfare. Innocent children and adults killed. Political instability. Denial. Blame. Egypt. Churches burnt. Religious oppression. Political instability. Worshippers killed. Anguish. Russia. Economic disaster. Growing coldness to the US. Persecuting gays and lesbians. Exodus. Sadness. North Korea. Gaining nuclear weaponry. Inexperienced leader. Needs to keep nation in crisis to hold power. Systematic, brutal suppression of disagreement. Powder-keg near an open flame. Fear. United States Barely “united” any more. Dems and Reps can’t/won’t sit at a table together. Public discourse informed by nastiness without civility. Growing divide between desperately poor and obscenely rich. Sounds like first century or third world … Continue reading We Are In This Together

The Heavenly Waiting Room

Many of us hold beliefs in an afterlife of some sort.  However, we have significant disagreement in how we think that afterlife will work as we hold mutually contradictory descriptions.  For example, if heaven for one man equals having seventy virgins to deflower as he wishes, then that person’s heaven equals hell for others. If one person’s heaven means being surrounded only by like-minded people, the majority of humanity will be denied entrance. My point: if our versions of the afterlife mean that others must suffer or be excluded in order to get our ideal world, maybe, just maybe, there’s a problem here. … Continue reading The Heavenly Waiting Room