July-August 2012

Bring it on!

By B.J. Funk
I was agitated! This did not make sense! How could James write,“Consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

You’ve got the whole word in your hands

By Duffy Robbins
We’ve all met people who “can’t talk without using their hands.” These people are called “teachers.” Doing a lesson or a message, or even a short devotional, without using gestures is like going into battle unarmed (pun intended). And yet, developing good gestures is another one of those communication skills that requires practice.

Religious liberty, the church, and the pill

By Heather Hahn
The Obama administration mandate that employers provide workers with contraception coverage is not a United Methodist issue per se. But church members often speak up when issues of religious liberty enter the national conversation.

Remembering Charles Colson

In this era, Charles Colson will be remembered as one of the most respected evangelical leaders in the United States. He was an influential layman, best-sell- ing author, broad-minded ecumenist, prison reformer, and presidential adviser. Like so many other believers, we were inspired by his conversion from the “hatchet man” for President Richard Nixon to the founder of Prison Fellowship.

Bishop’s retirement reversal sets new course

By Heather Hahn
The North Texas Annual Conference has entered untested waters, and decisions made in the coming months regarding Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe could have a ripple effect on The United Methodist Church.

Has American Christianity become heretical?

By John H. Armstrong
New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat (pronounced “dow-that”), the author of several books on politics and social issues, has given us a great gift in a new book with the provocative title: Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (Free Press: New York 2012). This is a thoughtful and (often) contrarian look at how Christianity has been misunderstood and abused on both the left and the right since the late 1950s.

New wrinkle in guaranteed appointments

By Heather Hahn
Supporters of guaranteed appointments for United Methodist clergy have a new reason for hope. The Rev. L. Fitzgerald “Gere” Reist II, secretary of the General Conference, informed the Council of Bishops late June 11 that the language in the 2012 Book of Discipline “does not eliminate the security of appointment for elders.”

Annual Conferences voice opposition to General Conference action

By Kathy L. Gilbert
Promises of support and prayers for healing for gays, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people are coming from bishops, pastors and laity as The United Methodist Church held annual conferences around the globe.

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