The Burden of Open Communion: Rescuing the Eucharist from the United Methodist Church, Final Part

Before we move to specific reforms in Eucharistic practice, we must devote more words than I would like to an elephant in the room. United Methodist worship takes place in an environment of open Communion. Open Communion relieves the pastor and congregation of certain burdens, but it also brings additional burdens. A rite that is used before listeners who are barely familiar with the Christian faith, if at all, needs to be a clearer guide, more precise, and more catechetical–not less. Many denominations practice open communion, but in United Methodist practice the term is too often synonymous with indiscriminate Communion.

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Rescuing the Eucharist from the United Methodist Church: Part I

Don’t do this

From my childhood I remember the story of a counterfeiter who went undetected for years—not because his bills looked so authentic but because he found a way to make them look very old. He noticed that when people receive a new bill they examine it closely, but if the bill looks old—like it has been accepted by many people before—they barely glance at it. The same is true with ideas. If a concept looks new, then we study it carefully. If it sounds like it has been around a while and used by many others, then we accept it and pass it along.

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Follow the (Con)Science

Follow the (Con)Science

I want a principle within
of watchful, godly fear,
a sensibility of sin,
a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel
of pride or wrong desire,
to catch the wandering of my will,
and quench the kindling fire.

From thee that I no more may stray,
no more thy goodness grieve,
grant me the filial awe, I pray,
the tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make;
awake my soul when sin is nigh,
and keep it still awake.

Original Title: A Tender Conscience Author: Charles Wesley (1749)

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A Brief Defense of Authentic Bishops

Think its a good idea to run a church without bishops? That’s what United Methodists are doing now.

The transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline for the Global Methodist Church retains the office of bishop, albeit in a form dissimilar to what United Methodists have known. Keeping the office in any form is a genuine concern for many, and for good cause. I understand how two generations of United Methodist clergy who have known only corrupt and incompetent bishops would want to be rid of the office altogether.

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IF THEY DO THESE THINGS IN A GREEN TREE: Worship Resource for Good Friday

As a pastor I know that we can sometimes become too familiar with a passage of Scripture or the observance of a Holy Day. We can fall into the error of over analyzing or the converse error of assuming the congregation already knows this stuff and they require no analysis. It is helpful to hear how others have treated a subject. I make this offering of meditations on the seven last words of Christ not with expectation that others will duplicate it, but that others will build on it and make it better.

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The Protocol and Waiting For Godot {Or, Back To Plan A}

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on

Update: On 22 March the Council of Bishops rescinded their call for a 2021 General Conference. I expected they would have challenged the 2022 GC. At least one of the two was going away. In my informed opinion, and consistent with the ongoing conduct of the Council of Bishops, it is still just as likely that 2022 will be canceled. The Commission which set the date included caveats that might postpone it, and there are possible Disciplinary challenges as to whether the Commission has the authority to set an off-year date or if that is the sole jurisdiction of the Council of Bishops.

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At Noon on Friday, Dr Carl Hoefler

This 1983 publication is back in print…and for only $7.95. A few years ago I published excerpts from the book after being unable to get any reply from the last known publisher. Since the book is now available (and at a ridiculously low price) I have removed those posts. Here is how I introduced At Noon on Friday at that time.

There are saints of the Church whose life and words have healed many wounded souls and guided multitudes safely to heaven’s shore. Perhaps in the world to come they are the equivalent of Medal of Honor winners in spiritual warfare or Nobel Prize recipients for eternal peacemaking. Too often, however, in this world their good name and inspirational words are interred with their bones. This ought not be the case — especially for Rev. Hoefler.

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