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The Hidden History of Methodist Schism

As United Methodists face General Conference 2020 and the potential of forming new church bodies, it feels as though the denomination is at a significant crossroad.  As if we are doing something we have never done before.  If only that were true. The truth is,...

A Christian Alternative to Polarization

For three days in an Airbnb rental in a cozy Atlanta neighborhood, my team and I took a spiritual retreat.  Nine of us worshiped together, laughed and played together, ate meals together, envisioned the coming year together, and worked on some detailed processes...

Two Popes, Three Opinions

There’s a classic Jewish aphorism: “two Jews, three opinions.”  It sounds like the punch line to a joke, but it’s merely an observation about Jewish willingness to see all sides of an argument and to debate them with aplomb. Rabbi Wolpe references Yeats: “Out of the...

Three Ways to Be Light in the Darkness

It’s easy to get depressed these days.  Between meanspirited win/lose politics, the dismissal of fact-based debate, public shootings, brutal treatment of migrants and asylum seekers, extreme weather events, and destabilized foreign relations, the darkness around us...

Living Epiphany

The Season of Epiphany is framed by two key events in the life of Christ:  his baptism and his transfiguration.  In between these two major experiences, this liturgical season covers Jesus’ entire life and ministry.  It’s a season of deepening in spiritual growth....

Machetes, Guns and the Hidden Message of Epiphany

When a machete-bearing assailant broke into a private Hasidic home to “get” the Jews who were celebrating Chanukah there, his move was both horrific and ironic.  That the safety and merriment of a home could be violated by such hate is unthinkable. That it happened at...

Christmas and the Last-Minute Leader

If you are a last-minute leader, you’re not alone.  You’re not the only one putting finishing touches on a worship service, sermon, play, piece of music, bulletin or outreach effort.  In fact, you can be forgiven for thinking your timing is right in line with the...

Is Your Advent Prayer Missing the Point?

The Advent the liturgy instructs us to pray—solemnly, hopefully, deeply—is "Come, Lord Jesus, come.”  This hopeful prayer set against the backdrop of darkening days—both seasonally and politically —implies waiting with expectation.  Yet I can’t help but wonder if this...

Should Gender Matter in Christianity?

Gender and Christianity has been in the news the last couple of weeks.  Specifically the role of women in church leadership.  After telling wildly popular evangelical bible teacher Beth Moore to “go home,” influential fundamentalist preacher John MacArthur clarified...

How to Create a Culture Shift

At Shepherd of the Hills Church, it’s been a long time since the cries of children interrupted worship. That’s okay with this aging congregation. Although they miss younger people, they appreciate less commotion. If only they could get some responsible families,...

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