Before I Take The Next Breath: A Sudden Response to General Conference 2019

No one should be held responsible for what she or he writes in the 24 hours after a cyclone like the one that just tore through The Dome in America’s Center. So I’ll hope you’ll extend me that grace as I offer, before taking the next breath, some initial thoughts and reactions to the Called […]

Cemetery of Beloved Memory: Meeting Paul Escamilla at General Conference

I once heard Paul Escamilla give a sermon in which he talked about a family cemetery in the Southwest borderlands. It was so rich that I felt I was walking the grounds with him, lingering over memories and sensing a deeper Spirit, one that binds us together across boundaries of time and space. Yesterday I […]

Because You Are More Powerful Than We Imagine – A Final Prayer Before General Conference 2019

Because you are more powerful than we imagine in our Pelagian fantasies, Because you are always more ready to dance than we are to follow your lead, Because you choose contingency over certainty and the added gifts of incarnation, intimacy, and the open door, Because you will still be watching when we turn our heads […]

Heartlands Resources for the United Methodist General Conference 2019

If seems like we’ve been writing about the Called General Conference in St. Louis for years, it’s because we have. Below is a collection of links to material that has appeared on Heartlands since its inception in January 2017: Essays & Book Reviews: What if We Can’t ‘Get Past’ Sex?: A Review of Entangled – a […]

In the Dreamtime that was Portland – Poetry Before General Conference

At the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Oregon, I watched a group of children playing in a fountain and was moved to write a poem about the struggle my church was going through. I still hold on to the dream that we can breathe again as the 2019 Called General Conference convenes in […]

A Book You Shouldn’t Read: The Unfortunate Autobiography of Carson McCullers

  The title promises more than it delivers.  Illumination and Night Glare, the unfinished autobiography of Carson McCullers, purports to be a chronicle of the artistic process, giving us insight into the inspirations (illumination) and trials (night glare) of McCullers’ life.  There is some of that in this slight book, but it retains its interest […]

How Bonnie and Clyde Helped Make Me a Methodist Preacher (or Getting to Know Your Community Can Transform Your Church)

Bonnie and Clyde get a little credit for my seminary experience. The Depression Era gangsters got their start in Eagle Ford, a flood-prone neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. While they gained a lot of notoriety for their exploits, when they were killed by law enforcement agents in a Louisiana ambush in 1934, everyone recognized the tragedy […]

Why a Story of Fugitive Slaves May Not Just Be History

In light of the current Great Divide, there is no innocent reading of history. We mine every thesis about the Constitutional Convention or the Civil War for evidence of another agenda. History becomes covert commentary on Trump and the Resistance. So when Andrew Delbanco’s wonderful new book on fugitive slaves in antebellum America landed in […]

Race, Virginia, and Jesus’ Circle of Favor

It has been a disturbing week in Virginia government. Once again, we are struggling with how we address questions of race and racism. This time Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring are both confronted with incidents from their past involving appearances in blackface, a remnant of minstrel shows where the entertainment came […]