Editorial: The Tale of Two Narratives

There are two competing narratives regarding the future of The United Methodist Church. Both are predicated on what most observers believe is likely to happen at the 2016 General Conference. The most probable scenario is that we will leave Portland with little significant change to the Book of Discipline regarding sexuality. There may be some […]

Is More Debate on Sexuality Necessary?

By Walter Fenton – A recent United Methodist News Service article began as follows: “Resolving the denomination’s longtime debate about human sexuality requires more United Methodists to be part of a conversation, say denominational leaders” (emphasis added). The article reported on a November 1 online panel discussion on human sexuality hosted by the UM Church’s […]

Why I Quit Devotionals

By Jessica LaGrone – I have a confession to make. I’m done doing devotionals. It started a few years ago. I showed up for an appointment and learned I would have to wait for about 45 minutes. I headed to my car to find something to do during the wait (this must have been before […]

Disquiet Time

“My new Bible study is really testing me. I have never studied the Bible or read my Bible and I really have no idea how to do it,” confessed my friend Tiffany on Facebook. The 24-year-old roller derby girl, saleswoman, and mother recently began attending a new church with her husband and she joined a […]

Living with Advent Vision

By Elizabeth Glass Turner – Vision for the future is not the same as planning for the future. Vision has nothing to do with retirement plans or funeral homes. The purpose of the kind of vision I am talking about is not to make sure that we leave a legacy or a mark that will […]

The Heart of The Methodist Revival

By Kevin M. Watson – In the 18th century, a small number of Anglican priests began preaching on the importance of justification (forgiveness, or pardon with God) by faith and the new birth (entering into a new relationship with God the Father as an adopted child). The best known of these priests were George Whitefield […]

Wesley and Church Discipline

By Les Longden – John  Wesley had a “boot camp” style of small group life. The rigor and strictness of his standards for the Methodist societies make it clear that contemporary Methodist congregations look much more like the Anglican church that Methodism was trying to reform. A look at how Wesley exercised “discipline” will cause […]

The Christmas Tree

In the winter of 1983, my parents had been married for 16 months. They were 20 years old and juniors in college. They were broke. As in, 25 cents in the checkbook at the end of the month is a success, broke. My dad had two jobs: a part-time youth pastor position at a tiny […]

Remember the Prisoners

By Peter J. Leithart – “Nobody criticizes us. We have no enemies,” Warden Burl Cain tells me as the servers load our plates with Big Lou’s brisket, ribs, chicken, grits-n-shrimp casserole, and baked beans. “I have the number for the head of the local ACLU on my cell phone, and she has my number on […]

Scripture Re-enacted in Post-Genocidal Rwanda

By Donald E. Messer – No one living with HIV was willing to speak at the AIDS workshop in Kigali, Rwanda, for United Methodist pastors. That’s how pervasive the stigma and discrimination is against those with the disease. But on that day last July, Katrina — a middle-aged HIV positive woman from a rural church […]