Archives for November 2012

Q&A: A Candid history of Christmas’ origins

While many may long for the true, “spiritual” Christmas from bygone days, the Rev. Bruce Forbes says that it never really existed. In his book Christmas: A Candid History, Dr. Forbes argues that the holiday as we know it today has always been part religious observance, and part party. Dr. Forbes, an ordained United Methodist […]

Seminaries must face life without Cokesbury stores

In her first year as a seminary student, Shelly Gonzales has come to rely on the campus Cokesbury store as a sort of unofficial student union—a place where she can get needed guidance, meet friends and even enjoy the occasional splurge on fair-trade chocolate. “For students, it’s having that personal touch of people who can […]

Quadrilateral can guide in sexuality debate

In reply to the Oct. 5 letter to the editor in the Reporter: God created us all and in God’s creation we are all diverse. Our skin, hair and eye color are all diverse, and each color has a range of colors in it. Our size, height, weight and feet are all diverse and have […]

Building relationships, across the ‘power lines’

By Sarah Howell, Special Contributor… I hate footwashing services. OK, let me qualify that. I just don’t like having my feet washed. My feet are weird-looking. I am very self-conscious about even the possibility of having body odor. In the past, I’ve intentionally volunteered to do something behind the scenes in such services so as […]

Q&A: Encouraging fearless talk about the Bible

Spending an intense year studying what the Bible had to say about women led the author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood (Thomas Nelson) to confront her worst fears about Scripture—and to draw closer to God. Rachel Held Evans didn’t write the book just to have more conversations about gender roles and women in the […]

Animated Disney adventure holds plenty of charm

By Rebecca Cusey, Special Contributor… Wreck-It Ralph Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence If Disney’s latest animated creation, Wreck-It Ralph, feels a little familiar, hewing closely to the lines of Pixar’s Toy Story, who can say that’s a bad thing? It’s like comparing a new car to a Ferrari. It may not […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Like Wesley, do we seek an ‘inward witness’?

This is the fourth column in which we look at John Wesley’s “strangely warmed heart” experience on London’s Aldersgate Street on May 24, 1738 and ask, “What insight does Wesley’s journey to Aldersgate give to me?” We ask further if small groups in our churches might find in Wesley’s journey an avenue to becoming “vital […]

History of Hymns: English hymn rejoices in ‘Fruit of This Creation’

“For the Fruit of This Creation” Fred Pratt Green UM Hymnal, No. 97  For the fruit of this creation, Thanks be to God; For good gifts to every nation, Thanks be to God; For the plowing, sowing, reaping, Silent growth while we are sleeping, Future needs in earth’s safe-keeping, Thanks be to God. * Many […]

Bees, snails, Moringa trees boost agriculture in Liberia

TUNUKUK PUYE, Liberia—The Rev. Joe Gatei pulls the baggy, mint-green net suit over his Sunday clothes. Knee-high black rubber boots, red heavyweight plastic gloves and a straw hat with an attached net veil make him look like a giant Gumby. With every inch of him protected, he is ready to visit the aggressive wild African […]

Judicial Council needs a change of worldview

By Joe Whittemore, Special Contributor… A few hours before the adjournment of the 2012 General Conference, the highly controversial Decision No. 1210 issued by the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church addressed and overturned restructure Plan UMC, which had been approved by a 59.62 percent vote of the General Conference. This hasty council decision […]