Many people, who are seeking a deeper relationship with the Ultimate Source of being and value, find encouragement from their churches to allow God to speak to them on God’s own terms. Others, however, experience churches and other religious institutions as anything but welcoming places. In them, demands for unquestioning loyalty often stifle the striving for an authentic spirituality.
In my view, coming to faith and living faithfully require asking questions, expressing doubts, and scrutinizing traditional religious beliefs and practices in the light of our own life-journeys. Following this path can lead, as it has in my case, to enthusiastic participation in the life of a faith-community. But religious affiliation should never be at the expense of conscience, and I hope to show in the posts to come that it does not have to be.
So, who am I to be undertaking a venture like this? I am a happily involved United Methodist minister who cherishes the opportunities I have been given across half a century to serve as a pastor, University chaplain, counselor, and seminary professor of both theology and pastoral care.
Central to my faith-seeking and ministry have been conversations about the challenges of seeking and finding a God who is truly worth glorifying and a faith that is truly life-transforming. The conversations — with parishioners, students, and friends; the churchgoing and the religiously unaffiliated; the committed and the disaffected — now number in the thousands. From them, I am still learning much about the mysteries of faith and the search for it.
During my eight years of blogging to date, many of these conversations have continued on-line, and I am looking forward to beginning even more of them on this new site. Please join me.