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Reflections: Thanksgiving 2012 – Sandy casts shadow

Very soon, families will gather across the country for the observance of Thanksgiving Day. Over time, the celebration has taken on practices of both religious and secular significance. This duality is manifested in my own memories of Thanksgiving, whether from recent years or long ago. Food, family, worship and football are the primary elements. Growing […]

Reflections: Pets aren’t just blessed—they’re also a blessing

I took my dog, Buddy, to church recently! Buddy, is our 9-year-old family companion, a gift from a daughter. I must admit, I did not want another dog; we had a dog all the years our children were growing up. Our last one, Lady, was a big, beautiful, adorable collie. But I had had enough […]

Reflections: A simple nightmare—or a church yet to come?

There is nothing quite like an early summer storm. We thought the rain would never end. My wife and I talked late into the night with the rain pounding against our bedroom window. For some reason our late-night conversation turned to the recent General Conference. The conference has become a quadrennial rhythm of our married […]

Reflections: Troubled visitor deepens worship

I was recently in a worship service when the solemnity of the moment was unexpectedly interrupted. A young woman entered the sanctuary and, with the service well underway, walked down the long aisle and took a seat near the front. It was impossible not to see her. As she joined other worshippers seated on the […]

Reflections: Coming to church should never be a waste of time

It was a comment that I shall never forget. I was in a cabinet meeting, and one of the district superintendents was reporting on a recent meeting with a congregation’s pastor-parish relations committee. The congregation was to receive a new pastor and this was a meeting to assess the congregation’s needs and its current identified […]

Reflections: A word to pastors serving in their first appointments

With fall comes the return of students to school and the end of summer vacations, but also the practical beginning of new pastoral appointments made at spring annual conferences. Among the clergy are those serving their first appointments following seminary graduation. I remember the excitement and anxiety of my first appointment fresh out of seminary. […]

Reflections: When it becomes difficult to believe in God

The man simply said, “I no longer believe in God.” It was said without emotion, no effort to be dramatic. Clearly, he did not intend to shock me, or otherwise create a scene. He went on, “I do not believe there is a Supreme Being who looks down to protect me or even cares about […]

Reflections: A passionate, witnessing faith

A recent experience greatly impressed me. A fine layman was asked to transport me from an airport to the hotel where I would be staying during an out-of-town visit. I was to be a guest preacher at his local church. We had hardly left the airport terminal when his enthusiasm for his faith became more […]

Reflections: Why fathers are needed more than ever

By Bishop Woodie W. White, Special Contributor… It is an alarming phenomenon—the absence of fathers in so many households across the country. One wonders when the trend began. Recent statistics have caught my attention. Some 40 percent of all infants born today in the U.S. are born to unwed mothers, and among certain groups that […]

Reflections: Learning to believe in a God of ‘Yes and No’

I often wonder about those who have only a “God of Yes” theology. When the crops are plentiful, the prayers for successful children are answered, the business thrives and the team wins, they believe everything is the result of God saying “yes” to their sincere appeals. Most of us are genuinely eager to give God […]