Christian Discipleship and Church Purpose


Christian Discipleship and Church Purpose

Nov 2011 Connections. Jesus’s teaching moves us into need. It requires real self-expenditure. Love is not just letting go of our leftovers or our excess. Read/download 11-2011 Connections >

July 2011 Connections. Fundamentalism arose in the early 1900s to combat modern knowledge based on scientific evidence. It opposes religious freedom. Read/download 7-2011 Connections >

June 2011 Connections. Emphasis on purpose makes many members feel like they’re in a wilderness, finds consultant Gil Rendle. But change in content, not just methods, is needed. Read/download the June issue. Read/download 6-2011 Connections >

Sept 2010 Connections. Christians’ behavior and claims that turn us off are often a distortion of real Christianity. UMC pastor William Holmes calls for mature Christianity. Read/download 9-2010 Connections >

May 2010 Connections. Many Christians have misleading impressions of faith. Questioning official church doctrines can promote the kind of faith that the New Testament describes. Read/download 5-2010 Connections >

May 2009 Connections. A guest author, central Texas United Methodist laywoman Julie Fuschak, tells how curiosity has motivated her spiritual journey. Curiosity is a favorite word of mine. Curiosity can lead to questions, which can lead to research… Continue reading →

Jan 2009 Connections. Most Christians read the Bible selectively, emphasizing only the comforting verses and ignoring those that make us uncomfortable.

Rereading the Christmas story in the gospel of Luke last month reminded me of how selective many of… Continue reading →

Nov 2008 Connections. Mississippi guest author Don Manning Miller tells how seeing that the racially segregated way of life was incompatible with the gospel changed his life.  As a young preacher over in Union County in the mid-sixties,… Continue reading →

Oct 2008 Connections. United Methodist pastor D. L. Dykes Jr. actively and bravely promoted progressive Christianity. The foundation headed by his son continues that tradition. Download/read 10-2008 Connections

Jan 2008 Connections. On his 2006 walk from Phoenix to Washington DC, UCC pastor Eric Elnes found thousands of spiritually homeless people in all kinds of places. Read/download 1-2008 Connections >

Oct 2007 Connections. Empire and the realm of God. Empire is still with us today. In fact, in some ways it is stronger than ever now. Unlike the Roman Empire of the first century, in which Christianity arose, and… Continue reading →

Sept 2007 Connections. Why do today’s Christian Americans need to know what the Roman Empire was like, and how Jesus, Paul, and other early Christians actively resisted it? A big reason is that many well-informed and perceptive observers today… Continue reading →

Aug 2007 Connections. The Roman Empire is the setting for what we read about in the New Testament. The Empire strongly influenced the lives of Jesus, Paul, and the other earliest Christians. As Christians today, however, we often fail… Continue reading →

June 2007 Connections. A Connections reader wrote me recently, “not all people who are in church are Christians.” That may well be true, but what does identify a person as a Christian, if it’s not merely being in the… Continue reading →

Apr 2007 Connections. Have you ever tried to list all the different pictures of God you get from the worship services you attend? What about the impressions of God you get from hearing Christians talk? What about those you… Continue reading →

Nov 2006 Connections. Still thinking about making disciples as I considered readers’ responses to the recent Connections on that subject, I read two newspaper articles that made me think even more about it. One article was about a fierce… Continue reading →

Apr 2006 Connections. For many Christians, the subject of money is taboo in church. Many don’t want any advice from the church about how to spend their money. They don’t want to hear requests for money, either. Read/download 4-2006 Connections

Jan 2006 Connections. Many books about prayer recommend methods that I’ve never been able to connect with, or they’re based on beliefs about God that I find unbelievable. However, I’ve just read a book about prayer that I find… Continue reading →

Feb 2004 Connections. Who’s speaking for God today? What God-inspired voices are crying in the wildemesses of our world, some of which are right in our midst? Might God be speaking through voices we’re ignoring because they’re pointing out sinful… Continue reading →

Dec 2003 Connections. Reading Why I Am a Catholic, by Garry Wills (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), his account of how he arrived at his present views about his church and his relationship to it, has made me think about… Continue reading →

Sept 2003 Connections. I’ve recently had a series of surprising experiences. The first was at a United Methodist-sponsored retreat I attended a few months ago. I walked a labyrinth at the Catholic retreat center where the retreat took place. Read/download 9-2003 Connections

May 2003 Connections. “America’s priorities were wrong,” said a representative of a Christian organization recently on TV. “We saved Iraq’s oil wells but not its museum.” Was he right? Without more details, it’s hard to say. But when so… Continue reading →

July 2002 Connections. As I write this my church’s choir is rehearsing for a July 4 presentation of Randall Thompson’s The Testament of Freedom. Its text consists of quotes from the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It’s an exciting work… Continue reading →

Oct 2000 Connections. How should Christians use their excess money? If you don’t feel you have any excess, you’re probably thinking this question is too ridiculous to ask. For some people, it may be. For some, however, it’s a very… Continue reading →

Sep 2000 Connections. According to the gospels, Jesus said a lot about money. In fact, it was one of the subjects he said most about. The Old Testament prophets talked about it a lot, too. To me that means… Continue reading →