Are you planning a vacation? Memorial Day in the U.S. traditionally marks the beginning of summer and vacation season. There was a news report recently about the cost of air travel and how many people are expected to fly this summer, with Memorial Day weekend being a peak travel period. I'll be flying this Memorial … Continue reading Prayer as Preparation
I am a United Methodist. My denomination recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, remembering how it was formed by a union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968. This church has formed me as a disciple of Jesus Christ, has taught me grace, taught me how to sing grace, preach grace, … Continue reading The Hopefulness of Mission, or Why I’m Not Worried about the Future of the UMC
Yesterday in a meeting I was asked who is my favorite mission theologian. I quickly answered: Glory Dharmaraj. Glory and her husband Jacob worked for many years in United Methodist mission agencies, Glory for United Methodist Women and Jacob for the General Board of Global Ministries. They wrote about complex mission concepts in such a … Continue reading Mutuality Takes Work
Today is Good Friday, the day on which Christians mark the crucifixion and death of Jesus. On my morning walk, I thought of all the churches I've had the blessing to worship with over the years. As a child growing up on the Mexico-Texas border, our church would worship once or twice a year with … Continue reading Liturgy In Place
Next year, United Methodist Women will celebrate their 150th anniversary of women organized for mission. In 1869, Methodists had been training and sending missionaries for nearly 50 years, but women were only allowed to participate as missionary wives. The Mission Board did not financially support mission training for women, nor did they see the need … Continue reading What’s History Got to Do With Mission Trips?
Forgiveness Through Lent, my Bible study group is focused on forgiveness. Last night, one of our discussions centered around how (if?) it is possible to forgive like Jesus did. We talked about how Jesus knew he was to be betrayed and yet he loved those who betrayed him, who put him on trial, who executed … Continue reading Going On To Perfection
The List of Names Perhaps you, like me, have been overwhelmed with the news lately. Another mass shooting. Another list of names of lives cut short, images of grieving friends and family on the tv. I've listened to too many pastoral prayers, heard too many bells rung, watched too many candles lit in churches after … Continue reading The Possibilities of a Round Table Conversation
Ash Wednesday in Community Last night I went to church for Ash Wednesday service. We sang together, listened to scripture, and prayed together. Our pastor gave a short sermon, and led us through a silent meditation time by passing out cards with a single word printed on them. We would meditate on the word, and … Continue reading Lenten Practices
What Do You Mean By That? As a United Methodist, I often find myself asked about some of our unique use of words. “Annual Conference” for example, is both a geographic term (a region in which a bishop has authority for clergy and local churches) and an annual meeting in which clergy and laity gather … Continue reading Can You Practice Mission?
Ten years ago my oldest daughter went on a youth mission trip. She was the only one from our church, joining a group of youth from churches in our district. They spent the week working on the kitchen of an elderly woman who told them stories of growing up in Jamaica, how proud she was … Continue reading The Problem of Persistent Poverty