Drop to My Knees, Steam, Wipe, Pray

The youth group had a lock-in last night. After helping with the food and snack needs, and making sure the adult chaperones were compliant with all policies and procedures for keeping children and youth safe, I offered my blessing and went off to dinner with friends and then good sleep. This morning, I came back early to help with clean up and ensure the worship-readiness of the church for Sunday. Before starting to work, I noticed one of the youth sitting alone and looking up at me with pleading eyes. I knew she had just been through a rough time, … Continue reading Drop to My Knees, Steam, Wipe, Pray

A Modern Take on Luke 15–Probably Heretical, Possibly Shedding Fresh Light on a Shocking Story

The Complaint A group of VERY IMPORTANT church leaders began to grumble about Jesus.  “He ignores us, the movers and shakers, the ones divinely given the leadership of The Church. Instead, he takes his meals with people who don’t even give $5 a year to our coffers, haven’t partaken of the sacraments in years AND even support gay marriage and homosexuals as ordained! The church will decline in numbers even further if they get their way.  Why isn’t he dining with us in the hotel conference room so we can form a new strategy on how to build growing, vital, … Continue reading A Modern Take on Luke 15–Probably Heretical, Possibly Shedding Fresh Light on a Shocking Story

The Phone Call and the Novena

A dear friend of mine phoned earlier this evening.  She refers to herself as my “spiritual mother” and I very much believe it.  She’s in her late 80’s, and is simply beautiful. I describe her as a piece of pure light wrapped in a tiny piece of increasingly frail human flesh. We connected about a year and a half ago.  She had been reading my newspaper columns in the Denton Record Chronicle and phoned to talk with me and see if perhaps the church I serve would be able to embrace her and her unique understanding of Christian spirituality.  I assured … Continue reading The Phone Call and the Novena

Santa is NOT Jesus!

I love Christmas music.  The great hymns and classical pieces fill my soul and some of the other lighter pieces add a nice touch of frivolity to the season.  But I have one major gripe. A few days ago, I was idly listening to some Christmas music on TV while halfway engaged in another task. Suddenly the words to a song penetrated my distracted brain.  The words were, “He’ll be here with the answer to prayers that you made through the year.  They’ll be yours if you’ve done everything you should extra special good.” Startled I glanced up in time … Continue reading Santa is NOT Jesus!

The Day Off and the Quotidian Tasks

I was watching one of those hoarding TV shows recently.  I suppose they relax me a bit.  This morning, as I was pondering and praying through the day, I became even more away that I am just one step away from seeing my own life spiral out of control as do the lives of the hoarders.  One day when I will not do what are occasionally called the “quotidian” tasks–those things that must be done routinely no matter how much we dislike them–just one day of refusing to do them can lead to a downward trajectory that is difficult to … Continue reading The Day Off and the Quotidian Tasks

God Is Not Your Butler

In some of my multi-faceted reading, especially when looking for a column idea, I head to the websites of some well-known advice writers.  They receive fascinating arrays of questions like: “My mother has stolen my identity and runs up  bunches of bills on my credit card–how can I make her  more responsible financially?” “I just found out my boyfriend has this thing for underage girls–how can I make him stop since he is perfect in every other way and I am madly in love with him and want to marry him?” “My forever best friend just asked someone else to … Continue reading God Is Not Your Butler

“All You Can Do Is Pray.”

“All you can do is pray.” I said this to our Children’s Day Out (CDO) director this past Thursday after a conversation about the increasingly desperate need to purchase a van. The program, CDO, had simply exploded, particularly in the last 20 months when it moved from preschool to a full-service daycare, including before and afterschool care.  Which also means transporting a lot of students each day. Determined fundraising had netted about $12,500, but a really good quality and safe van was going to cost much more. The Director’s aging and inadequate personal van was barely functioning.  It was not … Continue reading “All You Can Do Is Pray.”

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

Fight Like the Devil and The North Texas Annual Conference at a Distance

I had been formally excused from attendance at the North Texas Annual Conference this year because of my sabbatical leave, but decided to watch as much of it as I could by livestream and to keep up otherwise by twitter and blog posts. Powerful reports filtered in of great worship, strong youth leadership, renewed energy, hope, connection and collegiality.  The Nehemiah team did a great job presenting options for new delivery models as they held to the essential mission of the Annual Conference.  Church plants are adding many new people to worship and the reports about Owen Ross and the … Continue reading Fight Like the Devil and The North Texas Annual Conference at a Distance