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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Parable of Stuckey’s: A Story of Church?

Despite the fact that one of my most traumatic childhood episodes happened in a New Mexico Stuckey’s, I have always been in the thrall of the teal blue roofs that promise Mexican blankets, cheap sandwiches, and lots of pecan-themed candies.  The trauma came as a result of Stuckey’s time-honored practice of placing fragile novelty knick-knacks […]