Royal Pains, Week Four — The Hell King

We've had The King Of Bling, The Iron Lady King, and The However Kings.(Well, I originally titled that third one The Kings Of Compromise, but if you were with us last week you know that The However Kings is a much more appropriate title.)This week it's the most...

read more

Farewell, Charlotte District

Last Sunday afternoon, Good Shepherd hosted a briefing session for delegates to the upcoming Western North Carolina Annual Conference meeting.  Methodists from all over Mecklenburg and Gaston counties gave up their Sunday naps to come and receive the...

read more

Beginning At The End

When John Irving writes a novel, he begins with the final sentence.  Here's how Irving himself words it:"For 12 novels the last sentence has come first, and not even the punctuation has changed. From that last sentence I make my way in reverse through the plot,...

read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Cover Songs

Covering a song in rock & roll is a delicate task.  The artist must honor the original while adding a new element, energy, or style that makes the new version stand on its own.Some artists cover well.  Others get covered.  Some, like Bruce...

read more

Illustrations And Animations

We preachers spend a lot of time and energy trying to bring life to our sermons through what have historically been called illustrations.Donald Grey Barnhouse, longtime pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, compiled the most famous collection of...

read more

Royal Pains Week Three — The Kings Of Compromise

We like compromise in our families.We prefer it in our politicians.We deal with it at work.Overall, compromise makes us kinder, gentler, more tolerant.But to what level do we want in matters of faith?Maybe more to the point, what was the result of the tolerant...

read more

Odds And Ends

Some random thoughts on life, faith, and Charlotte, North Carolina . . . If Ann Patchett wrote it, I'm going to read it.I work on two messages per week . . . researching and writing one that I will preach in four to six weeks and then internalizing one that I...

read more

Theologically Progressive Diversity?

Does progressive theology at the denominational level result in diverse ethnicities at the congregational level?Or: if we would just be more progressive in our theology -- Jesus as one of many rather than the One and Only; heaven and hell as creations of...

read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Insights From Tim Keel

Last week, I had the chance to hear Tim Keel speak to a group of United Methodist pastors from Western North Carolina.Tim is the founding pastor and primary teacher of Jacob's Well Church in Kansas City.  That congregation is located in KC's version of what we...

read more

Royal Pains, Week 2 — The Iron Lady King

No, it's not a sermon on Margaret Thatcher.It's not even a sermon on Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher.But it is a sermon on a lady leader whose story has everything to do with iron.And I think it might be one of the more unsettling sermons we've had...

read more