Mar 2014 Connections. Two Sara Miles books describe her conversion, the food pantries she started, her public observances of Ash Wednesday, and her food-related view of communion. Read and download 3-2014 Connections >

Feb 2014 Connections. Reflections on whether church rules express God’s will, and on readers’ responses to the January 2014 Connections. Read/download 2-2014 Connections >

Jan 2014 Connections. Two disagreements within the UMC are in the secular news: can clergy perform same-sex marriages, and is online Communion permissible? To settle these, does the UMC need more rules or fewer? Both reflect major differences in beliefs… Continue reading →

Dec 2013 Connections. Readers are heartbroken, saddened, and ashamed by my church’s actions, but thankful for my honesty, hope, courage, inspiration, and guiltless discussion. Read/download 12-2013 Connections >

Nov 2013 Connections. 21 years of writing Connections has shown me I’m not alone in my experiences and views, but my congregation now feels more like a wilderness than ever. Read/download 11-2013 Connections

Oct 2013 Connections. Many claims made by churches don’t match what is now known from other sources. Progressive views are too often kept secret, making churches unlikely to survive. Read/download 10-2013 Connections >

Sept 2013 Connections. Today’s focus on metrics can keep churches from focusing on purpose as much as they need to. And continuing to use ancient Christian words and metaphors can be harmful, especially to women. Read/download 9-2013 Connections

Apr 2013 Downloads. What should churches’ and seminaries’ basic purpose be? What distinguishes church from other community-service groups? Read/download 4-2013 Connections >

July 2012 Connections. Emphasizing belief instead of Jesus-like behavior produces bad public policy, violence, hatred, and rage. Robin Meyers sees the church silencing Jesus. Read/download 7-2012 Connections >

Sept 2011 Connections. Many Christians retreat into gated communities, and many churches exclude people, while claiming to follow Jesus, who ate with tax collectors and sinners. Read/download 9-2011 Connections >

Aug 2011 Connections. It’s time to go beyond the “master story” of Western Christianity, which by the fourth century, Roman Emperor Constantine’s circle claimed as orthodoxy. Read/download 8-2011 Connections >

May 2011 Connections. If the church claims Jesus as its founder, says Philip Gulley, it should share his values. But it often doesn’t, and doesn’t welcome needed introspection. Read/download 5-2011 Connections >

Apr 2009 Connections. Jesus’s way of life revealed God. His death and resurrection are significant because of his life, says scholar Stephen Patterson.  At this time of the year, Christians tend to focus mainly on the death and… Continue reading →

Dec 2008 Connections. Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan find that the Bible’s Christmas stories are about personal and political transformation–the gospel in miniature.  Read/download 12-2008 Connections >

Apr 2008 Connections. We can’t act meek and mild and follow Jesus. He was the ultimate activist and used deliberate political strategies, observes Obery M. Hendricks, Jr. Read/download 4-2008 Connections >

Mar 2008 Connections. A bland, meek, mild Jesus who tells us in a passive, sentimental way to love our enemies and is gentle, serene, and nonthreatening, isn’t the real Jesus. Read/download 3-2008 Connections >

Dec 2000 Connections. You’ve probably seen it somewhere— WWJD. It’s on pencils, bracelets, pins and pens, and lots of other things. One of the U.S. presidential candidates even offered it this fall as an explanation of how he would make… Continue reading →

Aug 1999 Connections.“On the brink of the twenty-first century,” say Bill Easum and Tom Bandy in Growing Spiritual Redwoods (Abingdon, 1997), “‘Church Folks’ have a remarkably small ‘market share’ of the ‘Jesus Talk’ happening among the public. Read/download 8-1999 Connections

July 1999 Connections. Do you have a mental picture of Jesus? If so, what is it like, and where did it come from? Some of our mental pictures, like some paintings and printed pictures that claim to be Jesus, seem… Continue reading →

Aug 1995 Connections. Although I’ve been an active churchgoer all my life, I haven’t always been sure what to believe about Jesus. Some of what I hear other Christians say about Jesus gives a picture of him that has… Continue reading →