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Bad Predictions: 2011 Edition

A look back at our worst predictions of 2011...

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On Uniting Methodists: A "Fixed and Free" Romans 14 Church

This past week, the local church I serve, Lovers Lane UMC, hosted a gathering of area clergy and lay leaders interested in learning more about a movement called "Uniting Methodists." Leading the presentation and ensuing discussion were Rev. Rachel Baughman of Oak Lawn UMC in Dallas, and Rev. Dr. Stan Copeland of Lovers Lane.

I respect both of these leaders immensely; Rachel was actually my children's pastor when I was in the 6th grade at W.C. Martin UMC in Bedford, TX, and Stan has been my boss and mentor for the better part of the last decade. That respect was shared by the room as far as I could tell, and it was their presence together on stage that likely sparked more than a little curiosity amongst those who came. 

The sight of them sitting together on stage perhaps sums up Uniting Methodists in one image. On the left (literally and figuratively), a young, progressive, woman with clerical collar, black plastic glasses, and dreads pulled neatly into a bun. On the righ…

A Little Ice, A Lot of Water, A Whole Heap of Cynicism

Scott here.  I've seen a lot of concern over the wasting of water in the now infamous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  If you don't know what that is, welcome to the internet, you must be new here.  Google it and come back, we'll wait.

Anyways, I've seen figures suggesting that around 1.2 million Americans have participated in the Challenge, using approx. 5 gallons of water each, meaning somewhere in the ballpark of 6 million gallons of water have been used so far (as of two days ago, so that number has grown).  Sounds like a staggering number, and it is a significant amount of water, to be sure.   And if you donated to ALSA, but chose to forgo the ice bucket to conserve water, I think that is admirable, and I applaud your decision to use the Challenge as a way to shed light on water scarcity at the same time.

But before we begin criticizing an effective fundraising practice by lamenting the waste of water, I wonder if we are willing to examine our own daily practices and c…

Why I Loved Daniel and Hated Job

I used to hate the book of Job.

There, I said it.  I know some of you might be in shock that I--a seminarian, a pastor, a future ordained elder--would actually hate a book of the Bible.  But it's true, for the longest time I just could not stand the story of a man whose life get's worse and worse and worse, simply because God wanted to prove something to Satan... or something like that.*

Which is funny because my wife absolutely loves the book of Job.  It's her favorite in the entire Old Testament, and I could not understand why for the longest time.  It's just so dadgum depressing.  A man's life starts out so wonderful, so full of blessing and grace, and slowly falls apart until nothing is left but his faith.  And I know, I know, at the end he gets back double what he had before, but that's a few verses at the end of chapters and chapters of misery.

Not like Daniel.  The story of Daniel is a book that starts out with destruction and judgement and nothing but …