On District Superintendents, Pastoral Care, Condemnation and The General Rules

On Clergy Supervision A little discussed issue in the larger situation with Rev. Schaefer and the church trial: the nature and accountability of clergy supervision in our covenant. Each year, clergy are asked to complete multiple forms relating to our work, our lives, and our particular appointments. One of those is something called a “personal profile” where we speak in particular of family situations and other personal factors that may affect pastoral effectiveness and the nature of clergy appointments. According to one of the news stories I read, Rev. Schaefer did disclose in his 2006 personal profile that three of his … Continue reading On District Superintendents, Pastoral Care, Condemnation and The General Rules

Missing Babies, Feral Males, “Smokin’ Hot Wives” and Female Appointments

A little background here before I weave together some threads of thought. Sex Selective Abortions First, look at issue of sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. These are major issues especially in India and China.  For multiple financial and cultural reasons, many families have a strong preference for male babies over female babies.  The growing availability and affordability of ultrasound technology makes it increasingly easy to abort unwanted female fetuses.  If an unwanted one makes it to birth, the child is often abandoned and left to die. The result is a growing disparity between the number of males and females entering … Continue reading Missing Babies, Feral Males, “Smokin’ Hot Wives” and Female Appointments

Called and Gifted? How about Called to Circuits?

The blogging world of United Methodist Clergy has exploded recently with the revelation that the Texas Annual Conference is floating a document that appears “ageist” in its suggestions as to who might or might not be encouraged to seek ordination there. I want to thank Jeremy at Hacking Christianity for this post which exposes the possible plans in the Texas Annual Conference for discouraging older people from entering the ordination process. Now, there are lots of comments flying around. One, from someone who was part of creating the proposal, reminded us that we live in the real world and that, … Continue reading Called and Gifted? How about Called to Circuits?

Portrait of a Pastor

I received a gift this morning.  A gift so full of love and hope that I am still nearly breathless. Several years ago, Vicki Attaway made her way to the church I serve, having heard that there was a female pastor there and that she might find it welcoming and comfortable.  Within a short period of time, I discovered that Vicki, as am I, is a graduate of Rice University. An immediate and unbreakable bond formed. There are few of us and even fewer women of our generation who can say that. In time, Vicki’s love for God and willingness … Continue reading Portrait of a Pastor

Politics and the Pulpit

So, here is Dallas’s own Robert Jeffress opining about politics and the pulpit. Although he does not name the name, Jeffress makes it clear that Christians either vote for the candidate he clearly supports or they are voting against the biblical values of family and traditional family roles. Now, there are a whole other set of Christian thinkers and writers who affirm a different candidate, whom we shall also not name, believing that their candidate has a far better understanding of the biblical values of justice, compassion and mercy. I’ve been careful when speaking from my position as pastor not … Continue reading Politics and the Pulpit

Time For This To End: Bishop Bledsoe’s Decision to Appeal

Will this never end? That’s what I asked myself upon hearing the not unexpected news that Bishop Bledsoe has filed an appeal to have his involuntary retirement overturned so he may return to active episcopal leadership.  Full details of the appeal can be found here.  The document flows with legalese, of course, littered with words and phrases like “unconstitutional, unlawful, violates, lack authority, failed, Bishop Bledsoe deprived, lacks jurisdiction.” Jesus Has Left the Building No where in there do we have words or phrases like, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you, serving the lost, feeding … Continue reading Time For This To End: Bishop Bledsoe’s Decision to Appeal

Further Reflections on Bishop Bledsoe and the Nature of Grace

The Nature of Grace I’ve got the whole concept of grace heavy on my mind today.  In a world held together by a gracious God, I am more and more aware that we don’t always receive what we want and never receive what we deserve. Others have written eloquently about this subject, particularly Dietrich Bonhoeffer:  “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ,”  and Philip Yancey, “God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us … Continue reading Further Reflections on Bishop Bledsoe and the Nature of Grace

Reflections Upon Heading Home

My bag is packed, and shortly I’ll head out, flag down a taxi like the best of New Yorkers and head to the airport.  I still have the rest of July for the Sabbatical, and massive amounts of work to put what I’ve written and thought about during these weeks into a coherent form, useful to the church I serve, and perhaps to the church world at large. One last walk in Central Park this morning helped me to see three things. First, I accomplished a great deal on this time away.  I am rested, healthy, filled with the love … Continue reading Reflections Upon Heading Home

The Kingdom of Heaven and Heathrow Airport

Perhaps the kingdom of heaven is a bit like Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, June 27 . On that day: I fly from Heathrow to NYC, ending my extended sojourn in the UK, and beginning my reentry into the US. My nephew flies from Heathrow to Los Angeles My nephew’s mother-in-law lands at Heathrow from Florida. My son flies in from the Middle East mid-morning for two meetings at Heathrow and then back out again that evening for Berlin. My daughter-in-law’s brother lands at Heathrow from Bogotá, Colombia for the funeral of their sister’s father-in-law. Chances are none of us will … Continue reading The Kingdom of Heaven and Heathrow Airport