“I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America,” John Wesley reflected late in his life. “But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly […]

United Methodists: Dead sect? Or are we yet alive?

Our perspective can sometimes become limited. Sure, we ought to focus on those closest to us—family, friends, neighbors—but it gets dangerous when we develop tunnel vision. Recently, I was reminded of the value of a larger perspective from a somewhat unexpected source—astrophysics. Losing sight of Earth A great book to […]

Heavenly perspective: Faith and astrophysics

To "win" we need to surrender.
Earlier this week, I met Victor. Homeless. Addict. Convict. Probably about my age. Chef. Dependable. Dad. There are a litany of things that differentiate us, but I kept seeing everything we had in common. A daughter who knows us better than we know ourselves. Discomfort with the tears that well […]

For the Victors: Learning to surrender

NT Wright's Simply Christian teaches what we mean by justification. Photo by Joe Iovino.
“Tonight we are going to talk about justification,” our improv teacher announced. My ears perked up. Justification is a word we use in church about a central Christian concept. Now I was learning it was an improv word too. “Justification is making things right,” he continued. “For example, if during […]

Justification and Improv: Making things right

Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury England
I’ve been frustrated by the conversation following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida this week. National leaders offer thoughts and prayers, irritating others like Neil deGrasse Tyson who tweeted that thoughts and prayers do not stop bullets. Some advocate for gun legislation, while others say that no regulation will not […]

Building cathedrals: Our gun control debate

The woods at night.
On Ash Wednesday, I had the privilege of sharing the meditation during chapel at United Methodist Communications.  Texts: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b –6:10 Since reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark, I have become more keenly aware of all the lights in my life. We put them everywhere. The […]

Walking in the Dark: Ash Wednesday meditation

Improv is like skydiving. 2
“Improv is like jumping out of a plane, and building a parachute together on the way down.” When Matt taught us that during our first class, I was already familiar with the abject terror of jumping onto the improv stage. It took several more classes to begin to comprehend the […]

Working together to build better parachutes

Improv and life, is improved when guided by "yes and." 2
If there is one thing you know about improv, it is probably the “yes, and…” philosophy. As I come to more fully understand it, I seek to apply it to my everyday life. Our class’s introduction to this concept was a 2-person game where started every sentence with “yes, and.” […]

“Yes, and…” Applying improv’s #1 rule to life

It is a funny thing that I have taken in improv class. Photo by Joe Iovino. 2
The folding chairs formed a circle in a nondescript room—wood floors, brick walls, cups and a pitcher of water on the floor in the corner. It looked like every 12-step meeting ever depicted on screen. It was, instead, my first improv class ever. The day before we took our seats […]

No script? No problem. My intro to improv