Back to the Future, UMC Style (or, More Fun Times with the Judicial Council)

Methodnerds, this one’s for you. Recently the Council of Bishops asked the Judicial Council to rule on the constitutionality of the plans that have come from the Commission on a Way Forward. (If you understand that sentence, you are a Methonerd.) My interest here is not in the rulings on specific proposals within the two…

On Fundamentalisms

The Christian movement we call “fundamentalism” began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, largely in reaction to the rise of modernity and liberal theology. Its adherents came from a variety of Christian traditions, including established mainline denominations and independent churches that we would today call “non-denominational.” Proponents of this diverse anti-modernist movement joined…

Make Christianity Weird Again: A Sermon

The following is the text of a sermon I preached in chapel at United Theological Seminary on September 12, 2018. I don’t normally post sermons on my blog, but a few people have asked me for the text of this one. The biblical texts are Proverbs 1:20-33 and James 3:1-12.  Years ago I was a…

Politics and the Christian Mind

The longer I study Christian Scripture, the more convinced I am that the Christian mind is a peculiar oddity. (I’ve written on this before, here, here, and here.) Put differently, through what Wesley called the “ordinances of God”–which include worship, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, the reading of Scripture, and fasting–our habits of mind become different…

On Sin in the Church

The recent Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal brings to mind a question I have heard many people ask over the years: If Christians believe what they claim to believe, why do all of these scandals keep taking place? The Church and Moral Failings To be perfectly clear, Roman Catholics certainly aren’t the only Christians who…