Monday, May 22, 2023


 I was recently in a meeting where someone pushed back their chair and said exasperatedly, “I just can’t take any more change.” Looking around the room, heads nodded in agreement. The world is changing at breakneck speed and it can be exhausting and disorienting. It can also make us pine nostalgically for the past and even try to reinvent it, forgetting that it is nearly impossible to recapture what was because of all that has transpired, all the ways we and those around us have grown and changed.


Change happens. The Bible is full of stories of change: of individuals growing and changing (even changing their names!), of whole communities changing in response to their situation, providing us with inspiration as we face change in our own lives. God speaks through the prophet Isaiah: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”—a reminder that faith that is vital grows in response to a God who continues to create.


I have been on the road for several weeks and when I finally returned home, I was surprised to find lilacs in bloom, green grass, and LOTS of weeds. So much had changed in such a short time, a reminder to me that there is so much beauty waiting to be born and seeking to blossom. To face the crossroads of change is an inevitable task of every human being. To understand it as moving from miracle to miracle is a choice.


As you move through the changes of your life, may you seek the miracles of new life, of beauty, of possibilities waiting to unfold before and within you. God is doing a new thing, can you not perceive it?

Saturday, April 8, 2023


This week I saw the perfect Easter sign (one that every church leader—from choir member and administrative assistant to music minster and pastor, probably has tacked up in a corner of their mind):

He is Risen


Happy Easter!


Some of us can’t wait for Easter Monday (or even Easter afternoon!). We have done our best through choir rehearsals, Maundy Thursday’s Last Supper, Friday’s Tenebrae service, prepping the sanctuary for Easter, getting ready to welcome guests to worship, and the grand finale: Easter worship! Jesus might have come out of the tomb…but by the time worship is over, we can’t wait to crawl into our bed. We can’t wait to hang a “We are closed” sign up.

But, funny thing.

Resurrection happened!

Through no effort of our own, God breaks through with the Good News that death no longer has the final say. Whatever deaths we face, God promises new life through resurrection power. And this means that anything is possible.

I always couldn’t wait to finish the Lent-Holy Week-Easter marathon and crash. But the message of new life somehow got through to the church—it is time to rise and shine and do a new thing in the name of Jesus! New discipleship programs, new outreach ministries, new mission engagements…

And I was too depleted to respond well to the signs of resurrection happening in my church.

My prayer is that you have paced yourself well this week, so that as resurrection takes hold in your church, you will be ready to engage in the new life God is bringing forth in your very midst.

This is no time to repeat Good Friday’s phrase, “It is finished.”

In fact, God’s only just begun.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Resilient Faith

 Recently, I have been in conversation with more than one person who said, “I feel like I need a really good cry.” I know the feeling. There is so much to cry about these days: one more school shooting in our conference (this one at Denver’s East High School), the climate crisis, a fractured church, a world at war, bans on books, legislation that puts our trans siblings at risk…sometimes all I have are sighs too deep for words.

I spent this week in Montana, first at a Montana clergywomen’s retreat and then at our United Methodist-related Rocky Mountain College in Billings. When I turned into my driveway yesterday, I was surprised to see that a tulip plant had burst from the ground and was drinking up the sunlight. It wasn’t there when I left last Sunday. And this morning, it was partially covered in snow but by the afternoon, it was once again reaching up towards the sun.

God built resiliency into all creation. Paul reminds us of the strength we find in God to persevere all that befalls us:

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without God’s unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18)

When all seems so wrong and so bad, lean into the grace of God. When it feels as if your heart can simply not bear one more bit of bad news, remember that Love will continue to burst forth in your life and in our world again. When your soul is weary beyond words, remember the renewal Jesus offers you:

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

I pray for the healing of the world. May we find strength in Jesus Christ to extend God’s healing Love in our broken world.

Saturday, January 21, 2023


Thank you for your comments on last week’s reflection on reformation in The United Methodist Church. The many posts and emails I received in response to the reflection revealed a love of our church and a deep hunger for it to be all it can be amid a fracturing time. Where there is brokenness, there is a need for healing—there must be a time for rest and recovery as that which is broken is reformed. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the people called United Methodist will be a church of reformation as the broken pieces are stitched together in new and beautiful ways.
Can we sit in the rest and healing part for a moment?
My hunch is that you—like me—are sick and tired of the half-truths, mistruths, and just plain lies that have been said about our beloved church. I regularly get emails from folks across the connection saying that their church is considering disaffiliation because they were told I don’t believe in the divinity of Christ and that I use Tarot cards to make decisions in my annual conference. Both are false! And I give thanks for those folks who took it upon themselves to do a little research and seek out the facts.
I do have critiques about our church. There are things I wish were different. Some decisions pain me deeply. But disagreement is a part of living in community. I have yet to belong to a community that was free from dissenting voices. What matters is how we enter into the disagreements as we embrace a mutual desire to make our shared life better.
One thing I recognized early on as a pastor was that our appointment system makes it much too easy to leave a church (or for a church to request a new pastor) when the going gets rough. What I learned was that this doesn’t bring resolution, it simply delays an honest engagement of the disagreements. When all parties stay close, leaning in together, keeping aware of their commonalities instead of their differences, it helps move through the disagreement. We learn so much together! When we truly seek to move through our differences and stay united, we are all brought through the conflict to a whole (and holy) place of mutuality and trust. And it is from that place that great things can happen as we seek to serve as disciples of Christ!
(Image by Gerd Altmann)
I believe that God works even in the discord, for “in all things God works for good.” May we stay open-hearted to those with whom we disagree, for the Body of Christ is a diverse one and we need each other in order to know God as fully as we can. May love be the guide in all we do, in every ministry we undertake, in every decision we ponder; a love that enlarges our world, our views, our understandings, because this love requires us to take into account not only ourselves and those close to us, but even those we see as “other” and “strange” yet still possess the image of God.
May love undergird our life in Christ’s church as we seek to be faithful stewards of it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Reformation and The United Methodist Church

I recently had an interview with Yellowstone public radio. The interviewer, Kay Erickson, wanted to ask me questions about the current events in The United Methodist Church. I steeled myself for her questions but then was delightfully caught off guard by her first question:

“What can you say about the reformation happening in The United Methodist Church?”

“Reformation”. I like that.

Her question had me exploring the meaning of reformation. One source describes it as “improvement (or an intended improvement) in the existing form or condition of institutions or practices etc.; intended to make a striking change for the better in social or political or religious affairs.” Synonyms for reformation include “improvement”, “betterment”, “correction”.

Instead of “split”, “schism”, or “disaffiliation”, what if we saw this moment in the life of The United Methodist Church as a reformation moment?

If we were honest with one another, we would note that it is time for a reformation. While the Gospel message of love of God and neighbor hasn’t changed, the world around us has. Our communities are filled with “Nones” (those who have had no encounter with the Church) and “Dones” (those that have left for a variety of reasons, including spiritual trauma). In fact, the “Dones” have increased in numbers as studies show that church attendance has dropped off since COVID. How we share this life-saving, life-transforming love of God in Jesus Christ needs reforming in order to reach people outside the walls of our church.

Imagine a church where all people in your community can call home, receive a welcomed embrace, and find encouragement and strength for the challenges they face.

Imagine a church that sees new people as a gift from God, who possess skills and life experiences that can enrich our common life.

Imagine a church that is a community hub, where people come for learning, recovery, recreation, and creating change.

Imagine worship opportunities that are on days and times other than Sunday mornings, so that people can receive spiritual nourishment and a faith community when they most need it.

Imagine a church that centers those lives that the rest of the world shoves to the margins.

Imagine a church where bible study is intrinsically related to service and acts of justice in the world.

Imagine a church that is less interested in building and ministry maintenance and instead with how to best be organized to meet the needs of a hurting world?

Imagine a church whose connective tissue isn’t the building but the strength of the community.

Imagine a church that is always open to the Holy Spirit’s leading, allowing itself to change in order to remain faithful.

I am ready to engage in the work of reformation. How about you?

Friday, January 6, 2023

Journeying with the Magi

This is the Sunday when we remember when the Magi, with a sense of urgency, journeyed from the East. They followed the star, traveling first to Jerusalem and then on to Bethlehem, seeking to encounter the Christ Child.

While they were in Jerusalem, they came to Herod and stated their intentions to find this one called the king of the Jews. Herod feared this news but feigned a reverent interest in the baby, stating that he wanted the Magi to return to him after they had located the baby.

But the Magi listened to a message that came to them in a dream: don’t go back to Herod. They went home by a new road as they sought to distance themselves from a second encounter with Herod. By avoiding Herod, they kept Jesus alive. Herod was so threatened by the baby Jesus that he on to murder all the baby boys in Bethlehem

Our dreams can startle us in their clarity, pointing us to a direction we hadn’t intended to take.

Where do your dreams lead you?

Are you willing to step out on a journey that has no clear map, trusting that you will be guided by the Spirit to a place that is both transformative and life-giving?

By taking the unfamiliar road, what will be saved? Perhaps this is a question we most overlook when we are challenged to change direction. We keep looking back at what we will lose. But our actions—like the Magi—have the capacity to bring life to others in ways we can’t even imagine.

Journey with the Magi to encounter the Christ Child. Bring what gifts you can offer. Then, rise from your knees and take the path that will offer you—and others—life!

Saturday, December 31, 2022


2022 has not been an easy year. Divisions seem to have deepened and multiplied. Civility is in short supply. It feels like anger, mistrust, and disinformation guide personal and communal actions. We’ve grown accustomed to war and rumors of war. We have stopped seeing the image of God in some faces. Heartbreak crowds the corners of our heart, nudging out joy.

Looking at the blank slate of the New Year, I wonder what it will hold for you and me. When will a sunset create a deep pang so poignant that catches in our throat? What call will we receive in the middle of the night? How will joy well up so fast it will surprise us, and beauty suddenly appear and take our breath away? What strangers will become friends? What will we learn that will inform how we live for the rest of our lives? When and where will love blossom unbidden?

As I look for a word to guide my steps into the uncharted map of 2023, I found this section of I Peter from the First Nations Version of the New Testament:

Walk side by side in harmony with each other. Try to feel what others feel. Love each other as
family. Be tenderhearted and walk with a humble spirit.

Never return evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, speak words of blessing over each other, for you were chosen to share together in the Creator’s blessings. (I Peter 3: 8-9)

I receive the gift of these words from the Holy Spirit and will hold fast to them each day. I don’t think they will keep hardships at bay, but I do believe that they will make the way through hardships clearer. Grounded in Jesus’ way of love, I pray that my walk in 2023 will be one of gentleness and tenderness, caring for the earth and others as best I can.

What words will guide your steps into 2023?