(How sad it is that the state of the UMC is such that any satire must be clearly labeled as such. This is satire. It is more tragic satire than comic. It is akin to the irony of, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” However, I can imagine any number of U.S. bishops who could deliver this message as written and with a straight face. So, I reiterate: This is satire. Bishop Achrestos offered us assurance and calm following the 2019 General Conference. While the bishop is fictional, all events, quotes, and actions he describes are actual. One may take issue with their characterization or their significance but not the reality.} Continue reading “Bishop Achrestos Addresses the South Carolina Annual Conference”→
The Blood of Christ. We have forgotten how to speak of it. The debate in theological circles has moved from which theory of atonement best describes the work of Christ on the cross to a debate as to whether there is any atonement at all. Contemporary Christian music avoids the blood. Mainline hymnals edit it out. I have heard a district clergy meeting sing out, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the love of Jesus.”
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, “Woman, behold thy son!” Then saith he to the disciple, “Behold thy mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (John 19:25-27)
A much better sermon on the thief on the cross by Dr. Carl Hoefler can be found here. This is a greatly abbreviated version of an evangelical sermon of my own which addresses common misapplications of lessons from the thief. It may be criticized as belonging to another century. The critic is right. It’s from the first century.Continue reading “You Are Able: Are You Willing?”→
Personal reflections on this passage can be found here.
The Second Word
One of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him saying, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” But the other answering rebuked him. saying, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)Continue reading “Dr Carl Hoefler on The Glorious Guilt”→
The concept of covenant in the UMC has degraded to the concept of contract law. Instead of putting things in writing so we can remember what we agreed to (because we want to keep our word) we tend to treat any agreement as a contract where we can find loopholes. Our instruments of governance Continue reading “UMC Apportionments: A Moral Dilemma”→
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.