Toward a Language of Reconciliation

These days my pastor often says something like, “At this stage of my life, questions haunt me.” I’m a few years younger than my pastor. I have questions, too, but I’m haunted by quotes. Not (usually) the pronouncements of famous people, but quotes from I’ve heard everyday people utter in the most ordinary of circumstances. […]

Let Love Conquer All

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Malcolm McCoy, a man I knew briefly in my teens. I didn’t spend more than half an hour with him in all the time I knew him, but you can count on one hand the men who had as positive an impact on my life. As a Boy […]

Hold Them Up, Any Way You Can

Marie’s voice mail message wasn’t an invitation, exactly. But once I heard it, I knew I’d be attending her husband’s funeral the following Saturday. I don’t like giving up my Saturdays, but that didn’t matter. Marie couldn’t have foreseen what God wanted to tell me there. Roland had spent several years as the staff chaperone […]

Stupid Church Tricks

Sometimes I think Jesus must look from heaven upon the Church that He will be coming for someday, and respond this way: There could be (and probably is) a website dedicated to situations involving church leaders behaving badly. And this past week there were two especially egregious examples of the genre. First, there was the […]

God on the Fringes, Revisited

I’m worn down physically today, and I’ve got plenty of company. Our ministry just had its big annual weekend conference, called Dominion Camp Meeting, and its success requires a significant sacrifice on the part of relatively few people. It’s worth it, but it’s exhausting (this is where, if you’ve been at the ministry longer than […]

Overwhelmed and Grateful

Here’s the best way for me to measure the past 10 days: my father had a heart attack, and that’s not what’s keeping me up at night. A week ago Monday, a friend of our family called. Dad had experienced chest pains, he said, and was in the local hospital. The friend and his wife […]

Whose Church Is It Anyway?

I haven’t been a United Methodist in more than 14 years. But I still attend the small-town church I grew up in when I visit my parents, and I drop a check in the offering plate when I do. My heart’s stake in the United Methodist Church (UMC) is much more significant. It was not […]