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On Uniting Methodists: A "Fixed and Free" Romans 14 Church

This past week, the local church I serve, Lovers Lane UMC, hosted a gathering of area clergy and lay leaders interested in learning more about a movement called "Uniting Methodists." Leading the presentation and ensuing discussion were Rev. Rachel Baughman of Oak Lawn UMC in Dallas, and Rev. Dr. Stan Copeland of Lovers Lane.

I respect both of these leaders immensely; Rachel was actually my children's pastor when I was in the 6th grade at W.C. Martin UMC in Bedford, TX, and Stan has been my boss and mentor for the better part of the last decade. That respect was shared by the room as far as I could tell, and it was their presence together on stage that likely sparked more than a little curiosity amongst those who came. 

The sight of them sitting together on stage perhaps sums up Uniting Methodists in one image. On the left (literally and figuratively), a young, progressive, woman with clerical collar, black plastic glasses, and dreads pulled neatly into a bun. On the righ…
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Ode to a Catheter

One year ago today, Scott and I woke up on a Sunday, but it wasn't our usual Sunday. Sundays usually are a whirlwind of a day. We wake up early, scramble to get ready in order to get to church for our 7:45 a.m. meeting with the rest of the staff.

This Sunday was different though.

I hadn't slept well in anticipation for what would happen this Sunday morning. I tried my best to be well rested, but my mind was going. They say to relax because stress isn't good, but by golly, a lot was weighing on this day. We woke up--a little awkward silence as we got ready. We tried our best to act relaxed and cool---while inwardly, stressing out beyond belief, scared, nervous, and feeling like we could cry at any moment.

We pulled up to the fertility clinic for our third IUI procedure while praying over and over again, "please let this work, please let this work..."

I clung to Psalm 17:6 "I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I p…

Hardy, Rice, and Us: Seeing is Believing

By: Scott

Greg Hardy is a bad man.

For some people, this only seemed to hit home this past week when we, the general public, were confronted with graphic photos of the bruised back of Hardy's abused then-girlfriend, Nicole Holder.  This came amidst Jerry Jones referring to Hardy as a "true leader" in interviews this past week as well, which anyone with even an ounce of morality should have concerns with.  Bloggers took aim, social media was set ablaze, and now Hardy, the Cowboys organization, and Jerry Jones especially have pariah-status yet again.

Let it be said again, Greg Hardy is a bad man.  He is not a "true leader" by any stretch of the imagination.  He has clearly done some evil things in his life, including the physical abuse of at least one woman.  But I'm not sure our righteous indignation is that righteous at all, because I have noticed a pattern emerging in how we treat domestic violence in the public sphere.

Back in early 2014, we found out th…

Things NOT to Say to Couples Potentially Experiencing Infertility

I have learned that we often say things that hurt people's feelings without realizing it. We say hurtful things unintentionally and people then get in their car and cry or sit in a bathroom stall and try to hold it together--not that I am speaking from experience.  One of the hardest things about going through infertility were all the things that were said to me that made me angry or cry and people NEVER knew that it made me feel anything. This list is pretty strict and you may think it is too harsh or make you overthink everything you say, but I think we have to become aware of what we say.  So here is my list of things NOT to say or at least ways to maybe rephrase questions...

First of all, if you have a girlfriend that you know is NOT trying to get pregnant, then don't feel like you can't say this stuff. For everyone else that you don't know well or you're unsure, try to follow this:

1) "So do you have kids?" 
So you've just met someone or you'…

The Road to Baby Gilly

By: Raegan

Before I begin, I want to say two things:

1) I know our video was light-hearted and humorous, but infertility has hardly been something to laugh about. It has without a doubt been the hardest and most painful thing Scott and I have gone through. Just when we thought we couldn't cry more, we did. Just when we thought we couldn't be more heartbroken, our hearts got broken all over again. Just when we didn't think we could get more tired, more frustrated, or more angry, we felt like we couldn't even think straight. Somedays were just plain hard to even get out of bed.

2) I know many have gone through so much more than us, have waited much longer, and have had far worse experiences. I do not want to make our situation seem bigger than it is.  I have learned everyone's pain is individual and unique in their own way.  I never want to discount someone's hurt or journey.

To set the stage, I have always wanted to be a mom. At the age of 8, I was knocking on a…

Not a Wasted Moment

A new year.

I'm not really into resolutions. Never really have been into them. Mainly because I usually am awful at them. Changing my life for Lent is hard enough, but a whole year?! Come on! I keep thinking about where I was at this time last year.  Well, not literally.  I was in the Holy Land so it is kinda hard to top that.  At this time last year, I had a huge prayer.

And it wasn't answered in 2014, or 2013, or 2012...

Frankly, I've had this prayer for as long as I can remember.

What I wanted did not happen. So it begs the question, "Was this past year a waste?"

No. Not at all.

Some of my highlights this past year included:

Traveling the Holy LandCompleted another semester of seminaryBecame a certified candidate for ministryProgressed to the next level of ordinationWent on a mission trip with the best middle school students aroundVisited family and friendsGained more responsibility and opportunities at workWrote a TON of papersDrank A LOT of coffee Met weekly…

3 Things to Consider: The Osteens and Prosperity Gospel

Ok, so there's been a lot of hullabaloo surrounding the Osteen Empire following the viral spread of a video showing Victoria Osteen putting on a clinic of how to insert your foot into your mouth.  Of course, the theological landscape has been ablaze with blogs, articles, and status updates decrying the Osteens as "heretics," "liars," and "probably responsible for all the world's problems."  Okay, maybe that last one is a bit of an overreaction...

This got me to thinking, and there's a few things I'd like to address in light of "Happy-gate 2014."

1. This is nothing new for the Osteens.

I can only assume from the reactions I've seen that some people have simply never heard of the Osteens before, or if they had heard of them, they have never bothered to look into their theology (or lack thereof) or their practices. If they had bothered to investigate them, if only briefly, they would know that this kind of message is business-as…