Chaos, Sexuality, & Politics in the UMC: An Interview with Ashley Boggan Dreff, part 2

In the first segment of my interview with Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff, author of Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality, we discussed the origin of United Methodist language around homosexuality at one of the first General Conferences of the new United Methodist Church in 1972. (We also talked about George Whitefield’s knuckle, […]

The Origin of the Incompatibility Clause (and Whitefield’s Knuckle): An Interview with Ashley Boggan Dreff

I talked to Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff two days after the St. Louis General Conference ended. As the Director of United Methodist Studies at Hood Seminary and author of Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality, she made a great conversation partner for trying to put what had just happened in some perspective. […]

How a Mississippi Man’s Struggles with Weight Tell the Truth about America

“America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.”  —Ta-Nehasi Coates, Between the World and Me I confess that I picked up Heavy, Kiese Laymon’s staggering memoir about growing up bright and black in Mississippi, with more than a little curiosity about the obesity […]

Another Southern Writer Finds Love in the Ruins: A Review of Kevin Powers’ Latest

The opening paragraph of Kevin Power’s new novel, A Shout in the Ruins, is perhaps the finest beginning to a book I’ve read since Flannery O’Conner blew open the universe in the first paragraph of The Violent Bear It Away. Like that gem, Powers’ opener is all mood and tantalizing hooks that spark a thousand […]

What You Need to Know to Care for Your Clergyperson (Even if That’s You)

Some of the advice that Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell and Jason Byassee have for clergy is very straightforward. “If you’re really tired and wondering whether you should work more or go to bed, don’t wonder—just go to bed!” (157) Excellent tip. Back from my nap now, I’ll go on to say that other advice in Faithful […]

Joy Comes In the Morning: A Review of Christian Wiman’s Poetry Collection

“Joy: that durable, inexhaustible, essential, inadequate word. That something in the soul that makes one able to claim again the word ‘soul.’” (xxxvii) Last year two books from Christian Wiman made their way to my reading stand. If nothing else had happened in the literary world in 2018, those two works would have been enough. […]

Long Arcs and Stumbling Blocks: A Break Down (Because) of General Conference 2019

It took two weeks of explaining before I broke down trying to get through one more rundown of what happened in St. Louis.* Of course, I felt the pain of it even while I was at the General Conference. The Tuesday night it ended I stayed up late writing notes to former seminary classmates and […]