Category: Blog Posts

The Immorality of Hidden Costs and Deferred Maintenance

In cities such as Tulsa and states such as Oklahoma, drivers are used to bouncing on the roads. Potholes, cracks, and crumbles are everywhere. When I drove Oklahoma’s roads often, every tie I owned was coffee-stained; taking a sip of hot coffee while encountering a pothole or heat-crack at 70 mph is not recommended. In […]

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What Good Does Punishment Do?

“I’m going to teach you a lesson!” exclaims an angry stranger who felt disrespected by another driver right before he pulls the trigger. Why do we punish? Even if we understand one person’s punishing behavior toward another person, why does a society punish? I am no expert on these questions. I invite you to ponder […]

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On Taking God’s Name in Vain in Public

With our behavior, Christians have sullied good words over time. Evangelism should mean “good news” rather than aggressive proselytizing. Missionaries have been colonizers and imperial agents. Evangelicalism is in danger of being a zombie for political identity. And then there is the word “God.” Of course, God’s name—any one of God’s names—has been invoked since […]

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Indoctrination is Not Education. Undoing Indoctrination is Discomforting

Oklahoma’s children need to be taught that “America is the greatest country in the history of the world because of the principles this country was built upon because we believe that individual rights were given to you by God and because we believe that morality and Christian values are the way to live your life.” […]

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The Bible and Book Banning in Oklahoma

Some lawmakers in Oklahoma and elsewhere are either banning or “researching” which books they’d like to ban. In Oklahoma, a bill currently still alive in the legislative session would make the Bible the official state book. Why a state needs an official book is one question (we don’t have one now). Which version of the […]

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Lenten Reflection on the Sin of Individualism

The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed the human animal is a political animal. He meant that we are a communal species, formed in the “polis,” through interaction with each other. Those who set themselves outside of the polis were “idios,” things unto themselves. He used the word from which the English word “idiot” was derived. In […]

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Jesus Deserves to be Served by an Educated Church

“Because I hope Christians will have something intelligent and helpful to say and do.” That is the fundamental reason I write this blog. Furthermore, that is fundamentally why I took a path into theological education 35 years ago. I am not claiming the thoughts I commit in public themselves are the intelligent saying and doing […]

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Talking about Politics in Church

Leaders in many congregations are understandably resistant, sometimes immunized, from talking about political matters in church. Who needs more polarization, anger, and bitterness? However, since politics runs on the same rails as social ethics and public morality, not talking about politics means the moral, ethical, and religious dimensions of politics are hidden, undebatable, or dominated […]

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“No One is the Boss of Me!” Is Not a Sufficient Understanding of Freedom

“Hey, it’s a free country.” What does that mean? I am a member of the United Methodist Church. Baptized as an infant. Confirmed in sixth grade. Ordained as clergy in 1979 and 1983. Since the beginning of the Methodist movement, freedom has been an issue. In England, John Wesley claimed extraordinary authority to send preachers […]

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Maybe a Little Hell Could Be Good

There was a time when the point of evangelical sermons was to scare the hell out of people and frighten them into heaven. If people were not uncomfortable to the point of feeling the war in their souls between God and Satan, the preachers were not doing their job. Now a branch of the political […]

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