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Q&A: Constant is the call for leadership

Leadership in the church has always been a daunting task. Fortunately, now as always, the early church offers some of our best resources for effective ministry, says Christopher A. Beeley, author of the new book Leading God’s People: Wisdom from the Early Church for Today (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2012). Dr. Beeley is the Walter H. […]

Q&A: Making mandalas – Artist finds spiritual depth working with circular images

Every day, Donna Bearden makes a mandala.  An artist and educational psychologist, she has developed a daily spiritual practice of taking photographs and fashioning them into mandalas—circular, kaleidoscope-like images with a rich spiritual history. Dr. Bearden is a member of University Park United Methodist Church in Dallas (where her husband, Leighton, served as senior pastor […]

Q&A: It takes discipline to edit Discipline

It’s said that the two items no one wants to see being made are laws and sausages. Perhaps the United Methodist Book of Discipline should be added to that list. It takes almost six months—and a process defined by the rules of the General Conference—before the denomination knows exactly what happened after its big legislative […]

Q&A: Unpacking the message of Micah 6:8

The Rev. James C. Howell is senior pastor of Myers Park UMC in Charlotte, N.C., and an author of several books, including the new What Does the Lord Require?—Doing Justice, Loving Kindness, Walking Humbly (Westminster John Knox). This short book on the well-known verse Micah 6:8 includes a study guide. Dr. Howell answered questions by […]

Q&A: Rachel Held Evans’ blog plumbs faith, finds readers

Rachel Held Evans is a blogging phenomenon, having built a huge audience, particularly among young people, for her candid, searching and often witty posts about Christian faith. (See http://rachelheldevans.com.) Her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions (Zondervan, 2010), describes her emergence from […]

Q&A: A self-described fanatic for ecumenism

Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr., the senior bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, presides over the East Coast region for the 141-year-old historically African-American denomination. Long before his 2010 appointment to that post, he was known as a scholar and a leader in the Christian ecumenical movement. A former president of the National […]

Q&A: Mostly, spiritual life isn’t spent in ecstasy

People often ask Duke Divinity Professor Lauren F. Winner how she can be so self-revealing in her books, which have chronicled the ups and downs of her faith life. But talking about our lives with God—good and bad—shouldn’t seem so daring, she says. In Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis (HarperOne), she writes about the […]

Q&A: Mission to bring meditation to the masses

By age 35, Congressman Tim Ryan had been one of Ohio’s youngest state senators, served two terms in the U.S. Congress and hobnobbed with presidents and prime ministers. But a different story, full of unmet ambitions and caustic self-criticism, coursed through Mr. Ryan’s mind, carrying him away from even the most important moments. “I was […]

Q&A: Is U.S. a ‘nation of heretics’?

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat doesn’t mince words in his new book Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics. Since the 1960s, he argues, institutional Christianity has suffered a slow-motion collapse, leaving the country without the moral core that carried it through foreign wars, economic depressions and roiling internal debates. In its […]

Q & A: A gadfly bishop reflects, and candidly

It’s fitting that the latest book by Bishop Will Willimon would be released as General Conference tackles its biggest reform agenda in decades. Bishop Willimon has been a UMC gadfly since long before he became a bishop. That happened in 2004, after he’d spent 15 years of as Dean of Duke Chapel and professor of […]