Showing posts from May, 2016

Studying While Rome Burns

United Methodists would rather study than decide. I begin with confession. As I've written before, I was not temperamentally well suited for the ministry. The most successful pastors are extraverts who can work crowded rooms, skillfully making every interaction feel like an intimate one-on-one. There are exceptions to this rule, introverts who teach themselves to be more competent greeters, but really shine during in-depth conversations where their excellent listening abilities make for more profound connections. Personally, I much prefer the latter qualities in a pastor, but I completely understand the draw of the warm, electric, extraverted crowd-pleaser. I'm an introvert. There's no getting around it: I don't do well with meet-and-greet occasions. Interpersonally, I'm at my best when I've got the time and space to talk deeply with just one other person, and during my ministerial career, I made that kind of connection a number of times. T


Yesterday I said goodbye to Desale. Desale is in the fourth grade. While I can't speak for how he is in his general education classes, I know that he loves learning about music, and is always the most attentive student in the room when I'm teaching. He also goes out of his way to ask me about music outside of class. He's outgoing without being chatty, readily engages teachers in conversation, and is not shy about asking me to play a particular song over the PA during my morning gym duty. Two weeks ago, I started the fourth grade's second recorder unit, teaching them to play "Iko Iko," a New Orleans Mardi Gras song that just happens to be Desale's favorite. Uniquely out of the entire fourth and fifth grades, he began bringing his recorder with him to that morning gathering time (when 2nd, 4th, and 5th graders all wait to be picked up from the gym by their classroom teachers) in hopes of getting some extra coaching from me. This morning, Desale's

Because It's Long Past Time

Sure, he wags his finger at everybody. It's the "shushing" that makes it offensive. Dear Bernie Believers, I admire your tenacity, your devotion, your ideological purity, your passion for transforming this gumbo of a nation into something far more just, compassionate, generous, and responsible. I would love nothing more than to wake up tomorrow and find myself living in the America of Bernie Sanders's rhetoric. With that said, some of you folks need to take a chill pill. I primarily encounter your ideas on Facebook, where some of you share prolifically about your favorite Presidential candidate. On any given day, I'll see conspiracy theories about media coverage (Why aren't Sanders rallies making headlines?), denunciations of the Democratic party's primary system (super-delegates will steal the nomination from Bernie!), schemes to get the Democratic convention to overturn the popular vote (let's use super-delegates to steal the nominat

In Praise of Moderation

Quiz time! Who said it: "...Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And ... moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" Well? Do you know it? And don't you dare take your eyes away from this blog to Google it. That would be cheating. Anybody guess it was Bernie Sanders? Don't be too embarrassed if you did; after all, he's built his campaign around positions that many in the United States consider extreme: breaking up big banks, making health care and a public university degree into universal entitlements, and paying for it all with redistributive taxation. And he's not shy about using extreme rhetoric. Here's something he actually said:  "We need a political revolution of millions of people in this country who are prepared to say 'enough is enough'!" Anybody guess Donald Trump? He certainly has said some extreme things, all of them related to defending America: waterboarding, targeting the families of suspe