Eli Stone - Two Ministers

Eli Stone is a show I will miss. I've had some great spiritual discussions with folks that I may not have had access to if not for Eli Stone.

The episode titled "Two Ministers" just aired and as usual a great episode. In the episode a transgendered pastor had been fired after recovering from the surgeries. The show stated in one bit of dialogue that the pastor was in the United Methodist Church. The UMC church has struggled with this issue. Pastors have had to take action to be allowed to remain. I believe it is healthy to examine ourselves our beliefs and our biases to which they give rise.

A few items stop this episode from being reality for 12 million United Methodists in the US (and the apparently three or four of us that watch Eli Stone).

TV: The pastor served at St. Ann's UMC
reality: Our saint names are as predictable as John, Paul, George and Ringo; Mathew, Mark, Luke and John)

TV: St. Ann's fired the pastor.
Reality: As United Methodists our pastors are subject to an itinerancy system (appointed by the Bishop of the conference). As such, the local church does not call or hire pastors. Which means we do not get to fire pastors as a local body.

TV: The pastor always worn a clerical collar.
Reality: Some UMC pastors choose to wear clerical collars. It is not the norm. An exception would be chaplaincy situations.

TV: The pastor sued the local church for the right to remain.
Reality: The pastor would have appeared before the Judaical Council of the UMC (after many other steps). If after this there were a civil case the defendants table would have been packed with individuals from the church, district and conference.

This is minutia to most. However, it is important to note the United Methodist Church is not a mish-mash of Catholic and Baptist polity.

All of this to say, anyone wanting to hire on a consultant for future media projects give me a call. You can make 4 or 5 of us very happy!



I'm huge muppet fan. Enjoy this classic muppet moment. I'm pretty sure you'll instantly recognize what you are seeing. You're welcome.

HT: Tony McCollum who I'm pretty sure I hacked off via twitter. Sorry?

Style, Content, and Context

I have been frustrated. Better stated, I have had a frustration. I could not clarify what the frustration. I knew it when I saw it. I could say, "that's it!" I couldn't tell you the root of my frustration. There were plenty of reasons I could be legitimatly frustrated by these things. But I could identify the cause, my belief. My lack of understanding was leading me to become hypersensitive to the "thing" that I was seeing all around me, in my church, among fellow youth workers, in Christian leaders I look to for wisdom and in myself.

A month ago, I began to get some clarity.

Good communication has style and content. Most do not master both style and content. A pastor must first be concerned with content. A sunday school teacher, youth worker or anyone delivering a message (Christian or other) needs to be concerned with the content first. "So faith comes from what is heard" (Romans 10:17a). By definiton content is the substantive or meaningful part.

Style is important. How we say something or present something has an impact. There is a robust discussion with in the church in regards to style. What can we do to enrich the message, to engage the recevier and perhaps provide additional meaning? Style.

Part of my frustration is I see far too many folks running around wanting to be "style" people. People concerned about how things look and how they are preceived. Some are legitimate. Some are what I call the "cool kids" (cool for the sake of cool). Most are those responsible for content.

Sidetrack: I declared the word "cool" dead in my vocabulary about four months ago. The word is over used and has lost it's meaning. If I say we are doing something "cool" what have I communicated? What does it say about us that we want "cool" leaders? If you hear me use the word "cool" I am describing the weather, the forehead of my child or I'm on a rant.

For months I have been confronted with content people that want to be style people. I have found myself desperate for content. Grown weary of "style" being the higher priority. As I mentioned before most of us can do one or the other (content or style) well. So, a content person spending their time concerned with style, while neglecting content is bad, bad, very bad.. It has affected my worship, forced me to examine my ministry, become the focus of relationships and left me exhausted.

This morning driving to work it became clearer. Context has to enter into the mix. Jesus had content down. He was the Word (how's that for content). I know there books about teaching the way Jesus did, but none I know of about dressing like Jesus. Adopting the look of Jesus isn't going to help any more than me dressing like (insert name of coolest Christian you know). Jesus made things relevant. Even if we are too stupid, proud, or sinful to see it.

"So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ." Romans 10:17

So I'm focusing on staying true to the Word and finding ways to be relevant to the community.

Help me out. What are your thoughts?


Test me!

I met Meghan on our summer mission trip last year. She was one of the many amazing people I met and shared a week with. Meghan posted this the following on her facebook and I'm shamelessly ripping it off. So play along!

Comment on this post and I will reply with one of the following:

1. I'll respond with something random about you.
2. I'll tell you which song or movie you remind me of.
3. I'll pick a flavor of jello to eat with you. =]
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me.(if possible. If not, I'll say something that only makes sense to me.)
5. I'll tell you my first memory of you.
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I'll ask you something I've always wondered about you.
8. I'll tell you my favorite thing about you.
9. I'll tell you my least favorite thing about you.


I should have called in gay...

I almost missed that across the nation today, folks are “calling in gay” from work to show how much this country relies on a certain group of people who is often discriminated against.

A really interseting story already is unfolding here.

If someone has "called in gay" and is looking for a place to serve I'm sure they can use a hand getting ready for "An Evening in Old Bethlehem".


pauvre mardi

Tuesday has largely been overlooked in the world of song writing. Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday get all the glory.

Here's a list of songs about the day, Tuesday:

"Tuesday Afternoon" Moody Blues,
"On a Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago" Counting Crowes
"Tuesday Heartbreak" Stevie Wonder
"Tuesday" Spyro Gyra
"Sun Comes Up It's Tuesday Morning" Cowboy Junkies
"Church on Tuesday" Stone Temple Pilots
"Groovy Tuesday" Smithereens
"Another Tuesday Morning," Jim Brickman
"Tuesday Morning," Melissa Etheridge

Are there others? (besides "Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones...not about Tuesday)

I feel compelled to give mention to Til Tuesday, Aimee Mann's project in the 80's. "Hush, hush even down, down, voices carry"

What's your favorite Tuesday song?