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The United Methodist Reporter has been a long-time source for commentary on the life of faith and the practice of ministry in the United Methodist Church. Articles may be submitted for consideration by emailing to editor@circuitwritermedia.com, and should be no more than 1,200 words in length. You may also submit letters to the editor to the above address.

Reflections: Holy Conferencing— what does that mean?

Nearly 50 years ago, as a young pastor, I preached a sermon titled “The Ministry of Holding One’s Tongue.” My scriptural text was taken from the little-read book of James, chapter 2:1-12, a passage that describes the power of speech for good or ill. In my sermon, I mostly focused on the value of sometimes […]

Losing old structures for new life

By Jim Harnish, Special Contributor • • • None of us really wants to die. The desire for life is planted so deeply with us that we naturally resist the threat of death. We rebel against it, fight with it, and use all of our power of human wisdom to attempt to defeat it. Our […]

Why we’re hungry for ‘The Hunger Games’

The Hunger Games has sold 26 million copies and is the first young-adult book to sell a million copies on Kindle. When it was released in theaters on March 23, the film version broke box office records for a new non-sequel release. People who know only the basic plot are asking why the series is […]

Methodists need to recover identity as doctrinal people

There should be few things more offensive to Methodists with regard to their tradition than the oft-repeated and vacuous claim that it is “not doctrinal.” This ill-informed opinion (often spoken by other Methodists) is flatly wrong. And given that we are on the verge of a General Conference—where doctrinal decisions are made in abundance—it’s helpful […]

Lessons for the UMC from a Quaker theologian

As a labor of love, my wife decided this winter to catalog all my books and place a Dewey Decimal System label on each spine. It saves both time in looking for a book and the expense of ordering a duplicate if I can’t find what I remember having read! Neither of us had any […]

We need ‘call to holiness’ more than Call to Action

By Sarah S. Howell, Special Contributor • • • At Christ in the Desert Monastery in Abiquiu, N.M., when the sun goes down, so do you. With limited electricity and a prayer schedule that begins at 4 a.m., there is no holding back the darkness. Sunset is not to be fought but embraced as a […]

Faith requires saying ‘no’ to death penalty

By Becca Clark, Special Contributor • • • I’m proud to live in a state that does not have the death penalty. I’m a staunch pacifist, and I believe that nonviolence isn’t weakness, but requires profound strength. It is by no means easy. Vermont State Police arrested a couple recently and charged them with second […]

On Easter let’s proclaim—not argue for—faith

I have long ceased arguing faith. That is, the effort to “prove” the validity and merits of Christian belief. I am appreciative of the works of scholars and theologians who do so, and I am in the debt of many. I continue to read with benefit the contemporary writings of religious scholars and church leaders […]

Robert’s Rules of Order aren’t best guide for GC

We Methodists are about to head to Tampa for our big quadrennial denominational meeting called General Conference. Like some beached whale, our church struggles to survive, and the underbelly frankly isn’t very pretty. I like to be hopeful that the creature can live, but worry that the way we do what we do at such […]

Return from exile provides fruitful metaphor for UMC

The “wilderness” doesn’t fit. We need a new metaphor. The concept of “wilderness wanderings” has taken a prominent role in conversations about United Methodist leadership, thanks in large part to consultant Gil Rendle’s Journey in the Wilderness (Abingdon Press). The book draws from the story of Israel’s four-decade trek through the Sinai desert following the […]