Looking in from the outside — a pastor visits another church

As most of my Facebook friends know by now, I'm currently in Los Angeles having helped my eldest drive from Nashville to establish a new home. Needing to recover from the drive and needing some time off, I chose to stay over a few extra days to enjoy the sunshine, connect with some old friends, … Continue reading Looking in from the outside — a pastor visits another church

ALL are of Sacred Worth — A pastor’s personal reflections on the things that divide us.

This past week the frailty and humanity of this thing we call the United Methodist Church was put on full display in the media throughout the world. The story was the church's trial of a clergyperson who had disobeyed the official teaching of the church in presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son and his partner. The story was full of things designed to encourage attention in the media -- conflict, sex, religion, family, and legal drama. And the verdict came down quickly -- guilty -- with the strong possibility that this pastor will be removed from ministry. For some, the trial, verdict, and penalty reaffirmed that the order of the church was firm and in control, and that the traditions held closely to the heart were protected. For others the same things confirmed what they already thought -- that the followers of Jesus aren't really serious about this love thing, and that we are more in love with our rules than with the lives of our neighbors...

12 Steps of Church Transformation: Step 2 — A Power Greater Than Us #2

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. --12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous-- I left us with a question in the last post: do we REALLY believe in a God who has the power to transform the church? To quote Bishop Vashti McKenzie, "...if so, why don't we … Continue reading 12 Steps of Church Transformation: Step 2 — A Power Greater Than Us #2

12 Steps of Church Transformation: Step 2 — A Power Greater Than Us #1

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. --12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous-- So far, the 12 steps have asked us to  admit that we are powerless to effect change and manage our churches and denominations. But the 12 step model goes even further, suggesting that our problems … Continue reading 12 Steps of Church Transformation: Step 2 — A Power Greater Than Us #1

A bit more on powerlessness and leadership

One of the things that we church people have done these days is to revere the culture of competence. We have taken the call to be a community of broken individuals working toward wholeness and transformed it into a product to the sold to the highest bidder; a commodity to appeal to the masses. This … Continue reading A bit more on powerlessness and leadership

The 12 Steps of Church Change: Step 1 — Powerlessness

We admitted we were powerless...that our lives had become unmanageable. --12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous I don't know about you, but as the pastor of a traditional, historic, aging, church that has been in numeric decline for some years now, it's time for me to come to terms with the powerlessness I feel in regards … Continue reading The 12 Steps of Church Change: Step 1 — Powerlessness

The 12 Steps of Congregational Change — Setting the Stage

About a year and a half ago, a new member to our church community came with a request. He shared that he and his wife were recovering alcoholics, and that they were dedicated adherents to the AA 12 Step Movement, attending meetings almost every night. He noted that there were no meetings in our immediate … Continue reading The 12 Steps of Congregational Change — Setting the Stage

The Future of the United Methodist Church

I met Mike Baughman through a curtain in a convention center in Tampa. I was working for the United Methodist News Service as a social media maven. Mike was in a similar role for the United Methodist Reporter. Our desks were next to one another, and I had a great time getting to know him, … Continue reading The Future of the United Methodist Church

A False Gospel and the Church [Randy Cooper]

As I have thought about it these years, I believe I was captive to the false gospel ofGnosticism though one could perhaps speak of Donatism. Gnosticism is found in every churchbasement, and no seminary is free of it. Among other things, Gnosticism is our dualistic longingfor a pure church and our unwillingness to believe that … Continue reading A False Gospel and the Church [Randy Cooper]

A comment on my previous post which will probably won’t make anyone any happier…

In my previous post I raised some questions related to a statement that Amy DeLong made in regards to change and grace. Several folks have rightly suggested that I took the sentence in question out of context, and that Amy was obviously referring to change in regards to GLBT folks who have spent their lives … Continue reading A comment on my previous post which will probably won’t make anyone any happier…

Oh, I’m probably going to tick all sorts of people off….

Earlier today, a buddy of mine sent me a link to an interview on the Believe OutLoud website with Amy DeLong, who was recently tried for being an open lesbian and for performing same-sex marriage/covenant ceremonies. In the end, she was acquitted on the first charge for she refused to talk about her sexual practices … Continue reading Oh, I’m probably going to tick all sorts of people off….