Newsletter Article

Newsletter Article

Being Christians of Influence

  Tower Chimes – May 2024 I’d like to ask two related questions: I have a non-Methodist clergy colleague, someone I consider a friend and an effective pastor, who sincerely believes that the United States should not be a democracy but a theocracy. Theocracy means “rule by God.” It is government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. The legal system is based on religious codes and decrees. In most cases, there’s an ultimate human…

Grace Greater Than Sin

  Tower Chimes – April 2024 Recently, considerable effort was put into making sure the church website continues to be safe and secure for making financial donations. Because online threats have only increased over time, safety standards have also evolved. This being the case, we had to ensure that our website is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) compliant. There were many hoops we had to jump through to verify our compliance. Multiple tests were run, and with…

Is Christianity Under Attack? (pt. 2)

  Tower Chimes – February 2024 According to some, we in the United States are at war with ourselves. It’s not a war fought with bullets and bombs but, rather, with words, policies, laws, boycotts, and protests. It’s being fought using social media, courtrooms, legislation, preaching, writing, and media commentating. It’s happening on legislative floors and at school board meetings. Heck, the fight has even been taken to our school and community libraries. What am I talking about? I’m talking…

Is Christianity Under Attack?

  Tower Chimes – January 2024 Over the past year, I’ve become aware of a growing belief within the body of Christ that Christianity is under severe attack, and that the survival of…well, I’m not exactly sure but, supposedly, the survival of something having to do with the church, or maybe our beliefs, hangs in the balance. What’s probably closer to the truth is that there’s a fear of losing [worldly] control and power. What finally prompted me to begin to address…

Christ Our Unity

  There’s a psalm in the Bible which states, “How good and pleasant it is when families live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). I think we would all agree that where a group of people is united, they’re likely to experience a lot less friction than they would being divided. The problem is that it’s easy to have a wrong idea about what it means to be united. And this wrong notion can lead to a misunderstanding of what we…

The Seasons of Life

  April Tower-Chimes: The Seasons of Life We recently had to put our 13-year old cat, Lucy, to sleep after it was discovered she’d developed cancer. We’re grateful that on her last day with us she seemed to be pain-free, and even her trip to the vet was relatively stress-free. In her final moments we told her we loved her, gave thanks for the joy that she was for our family, and tearfully bid her good-bye. After a lifetime of…

Keeping the Right Perspective

  March Tower-Chimes: Keeping the Right Perspective Who among us doesn’t prefer stability over instability, predictability over unpredictability? By nature, most of of are wired to want things to be stable. This is why the precarious state of The United Methodist Church over the past few years has resulted in soaring levels of anxiety within the denomination. It would be difficult for any elderly life-long member of the UMC to point to a time in their life when denominational anxiety…

Radical Discipleship: Our Calling

  February 2023: Radical Discipleship: Our Calling Radical discipleship. Is this something good? The word radical has mostly negative connotations these days. These days, “radical” has mostly political undertones, and to be labeled a “radical” is usually not a good thing. With it, we associate words such as revolutionary, extremist, insurgent, rebellious, and militant. In this sense, few of us see being a radical as a good thing. But radical has another meaning: relating to the fundamental nature of something;…

My Pastoral Life in Review

  January 2023: My Pastoral Life in Review: That Was Then, This Is Now At the end of every calendar year, it’s not uncommon to review the ups and downs and the ins and outs of the previous twelve months. TV shows will recall the year’s top stores; radio stations will review the year’s biggest hits; pop-culture magazines will highlight the celebrities died; and Spotify users will be told which songs in their library they listened to the most. All…

Christmas or Xmas?

  Does it bother you when you see the word “Christmas” written out as “Xmas”? If so, you’re not alone. Around Christmas each year, there are some who openly decry the use of the abbreviation Xmas as a kind of blasphemy against Christianity, arguing that it “Xs Christ out of Christmas.” In response to the modern debates about the public display of manger scenes and substituting “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays,” many have become sensitive to anything that smacks of…