Learning from Robert Schuller

I’ve never been a big fan of television pastors. In late college, I grew to appreciate T.D. Jakes, but that was mostly due to his preaching style and delivery. I may not have always agreed with his theology, but I was definitely convinced that he passionately believed in whatever message he was sharing.

Every so often, I would tune into the “Hour of Power” with Robert Schuller. As he aged, his increasingly gentle demeanor came across as sincere and trustworthy. However, I was mostly tuning in to find out what celebrity he would have as a guest on the program.

These days, I tune in from time to time to hear the choir and see what kind of message Schuller’s grandson, Bobby, is sharing.

As many of our churches have transitioned to online ministries, I’ve found myself thinking that maybe we all have something to learn from Schuller. And, as many of our churches begin to consider how to re-enter into the world of in-person gatherings, we also may have something to learn from Schuller.

Schuller (and others like Charles Stanley) always shared a broadcast from an actual church gathering. There was a physical congregation present to engage, respond and participate. For me, the temptation would be to primarily focus on the gathered community and just allow the digital community to peek into what we are doing. This sets the stage for a physical church with an online presence – we do things gathered together and broadcast it for others to observe.

However, Schuller always found ways to engage the virtual audience. He didn’t pretend that they were not recording. He would refer to the televised audience, offer ways they could participate and invite them to be fully involved and present in the gathering. It expresses the importance of those not able to be physically present. This sets the stage for a connected community – both digitally and physically present.

As we return to in-person gatherings, we need to take this lesson from Schuller and not proceed as if the digital congregation is not present. We need to find ways to interact and engage those digitally present. We simply cannot dismiss what has become an essential practice for our congregations.

Schuller also never hesitated to “make the ask.” He always invited the televised audience to fully participate in the ministry of the Crystal Cathedral through their financial gifts and prayers. Now, since the Crystal Cathedral did end up filing for bankruptcy, maybe he needed to ask for more! However, he always extended an invitation to partner in ministry.

Schuller didn’t stop with the ask. He also found ways to express gratitude. Most of the time, it was some kind of cheesy gift. Yet, it was a way to say, “we appreciate your support of the ministry.”

If we have a physical or email address, a note of appreciation goes a long way. Communicating words of gratitude for those physically present and those digitally present are very important. Telling stories of how those gifts are being utilized cannot be underestimated.

Schuller also would share paths for engagement. Whether it was an invitation to join together in prayer and praise, participating in a devotional study or some other way to be engaged beyond the worship gathering, there was always some kind of invitation.

As we begin to relaunch our in-person gatherings, finding ways to offer points of connection will be important. Whether it’s providing avenues to share prayers and praises, paths to connect with others via Zoom or other digital platforms, having weekly all-church studies or reading plans are ways those who cannot be physically present and still be holistically engaged.

So, while I have largely dismissed those TV preachers, they just might have something to teach all of us!

Orange County Register photo by Bruce Chambers – photo taken 1/1/06

Full Of…

Throughout the years, I’ve been accused of being full of many things.

Teachers, friends, family members, random strangers I encounter along the way have commented that I am full of…well, you know where this is going.

One mentor made the sarcastic observation that I am “full of sunshine and rainbows”!

“Warm and fuzzy” is something I’ve never been accused of being.

Typical descriptive words used in reference to me include, “sarcastic, cynical, overly-critical, harsh, cold.”

Yes, folks, I am a ray of hope in a dark world!

One of the things that my “less-than-warm and fuzzy” demeanor has produced is a pretty good BS meter. I can quickly cut through the nonsense. I don’t fall for the manipulative tricks of those in positions of power (political, religious, etc.). So, that’s a good thing, I think?

However, one of the downfalls is that I have a tendency to be an overly-harsh critic. I tend to focus in on the negative and rarely give people the benefit of the doubt. I quickly identify the BS, call it out and dismiss whomever happens to be spewing the BS.

Now, this overly-critical spirit is something I’ve been working on over the years. I’m in a much better place today than I was several years ago. I can thank my counselor, family and friends for that!

One of the things I’ve been working on during this coronavirus pandemic is having an open mind and spirit. Rather than “leaning into” my critical nature, I am trying to be open and look for the best. See, just with that statement, I’m growing. I can’t stand the overuse of that phrase, “leaning into”. It appears to be part of the new Christianese dictionary. But, I used it in my blog – so there you have it!

Each week, I probably watch up to 10 different virtual worship gatherings. I don’t make it through most of them. I fast-forward to catch the parts I want to see. Some are from churches I’ve followed over the years. Some are churches of friends. Some are links others have sent me. Some of it is to try and learn what others are doing and how we might be able to incorporate new things.

But, as I watch these virtual services, my first tendency is to go straight towards the negative.

  • Is that really the music they want to share?
  • Are they standing 6-feet apart?
  • Certainly that pastor doesn’t believe what he/she just said?
  • Do other people actually enjoy this?
  • What were they thinking?
  • How is this person in that position?
  • Do they really think that’s a good representation of their church?
  • Are you kidding me? Am I really watching this?

And, here’s the deal, I know there are plenty of people being just as overly-critical and negative in regard to the virtual offerings I provide. But, being sarcastic and cynical, I “lean into” that and put up my walls and find myself not caring about what others think. That’s helpful, right?

The thing is, I fully recognize my critical spirit is not helpful. It’s not helpful because, even when my assessments are accurate and my observations could be beneficial, it’s not coming from a good place.

So, I’m working on having open heart, mind and spirit. When I am open, I can look for the best. I can realize that, even though the music may not be what I’m looking for, these folks are trying their best. I can realize that, even though I may not agree with the theological perspective of the preaching pastor, I know that he/she is doing their best. When I have an open spirit, I just might learn something. When I have an open mind, I might see the best in others. When I have an open spirit, I just might be able to offer some helpful thoughts rather than hurtful/harmful criticism.

So, if you are like me and have a tendency to walk in (or log in) to a worship service with a negative/critical spirit, stop yourself and ask God for help, wisdom and to “create in me a pure heart”. Try to focus on the positives, the areas of hope, the places of potential. See if there is a way to turn your complaint into a compliment!

You know, there are appropriate, helpful and kind ways to correct, instruct, and share concerns. Then, there are ways that cause more harm than good. I know, as one who at times both shares and receives criticism, there are ways it can be offered that is well received – and ways it can be offered where it is dismissed and damages relationships.

So, if you can say something and maintain a positive relationship with others, go for it! However, if you have something to say but it is going to cause division, maybe find a different way to say it…or don’t say it at all.

It’s like my mother used to caution me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, maybe keep your mouth shut.”

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“I Like Having my Sundays Free”

My mother will struggle with this blog because I’ll overuse one of her least favorite words!!!

“I like having my Sundays free. If recent polls are a reliable indicator, a lot of people feel that way. Maybe you do too. I know a ton of awesome people who don’t go to church, and there could be a hundred reasons why. We church people have to own that at least for some of them, the reason is that church kind of sucks. Most pastors and churches have to try to do a lot with very little. It isn’t their fault. Maybe they need to do less.” ~ Jerry Herships, “Last Call: From Serving Drinks to Serving Jesus”

The above quote from Jerry Herships appeared in my Facebook Memories feed today. I found the quote to be just as, if not more, relevant today as when I shared it on April 27, 2016.

This brief paragraph stings a little for those of us in ministry. When I pause to consider why more and more people have decided that the Church is not for them, I am tempted to shift the blame. I mean, why would I (a pastor) take any kind of personal responsibility for people not participating in the life of the church? Certainly, my church doesn’t suck, right? (That’s rhetorical…so feel free not to answer that!)

Think of some of the “go to” answers and excuses we offer as a defense for why our church is boring/irrelevant/suck-ish:

  • “Sunday used to be sacred. Now we have soccer, basketball, football, softball, baseball and even lacrosse on Sunday morning.”
  • “Restaurants used to be closed on Sunday. Now we have brunch specials offered at the same time as our worship gathering. I mean, who doesn’t love a Belgian waffle?”
  • “Businesses used to be closed on Sunday. Now the best time to shop for groceries is Sunday morning.”
  • “People are so busy these days, Sunday is their only time to slow down, sleep in and take a break.”
  • “If we just offered ______ style of worship at ______ time, people would show up.”
  • “If we had a better ______ ministry for _______, people would come.”
  • “If our pastor preached better sermons…”
  • “If our pastor did more home visits…”
  • “That big church is light on theology. They may have fancy lights and a great band, but they just have a bunch of ‘feel good’ psycho-babble preaching.”

The reality is, I could go on and on. This a blame shift. If we’re being honest, we generally shift the blame to something for which we are not personally responsible. Rarely, if ever, do we own up and admit that WE might actually be part of the problem.

As long as we keep shifting the blame, rather than owning up to our role and taking personal responsibility, our churches will never improve. We continually see people make the decision to not have the church be part of their lives. And, rather than make appropriate adjustments, we tend to continue “business as usual.”

Herships forces his readers to get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes church just sucks!

Again, if we’re going to be honest, we ARE most likely part of the problem.

Maybe part of the issue is that we expect our ministry leaders to be generalist, rather than specialist. With that, we expect the pastor to excel in a number of areas (preaching, teaching, pastoral care, vision casting, serving in the community, business management, fundraising, etc.). Too often, we have similar expectations for other ministry leaders (the youth director probably needs to be able to play guitar, lead the praise team and specialize in fundraising; the children’s director should also be able to head up the Tuesday night meal and oversee the missions team; the business administrator should also be able to update the website and social media accounts).

Would the church be better served if we allowed people to lead from their areas of giftedness and then staffed to address the areas that are lacking?

For example, if the pastor is an effective and dynamic preacher, but terrible at administration…maybe the church should hire an executive pastor or administrator? If the pastor is a lousy preacher (yes, they do exist, even though most of us think we are better preachers than everyone else!), maybe hire a teaching pastor who can be the primary communicator? Or maybe this is a time to radically reconsider the entire staffing structure of the church?

Many pastors and ministry leaders have a decent working knowledge in the expected areas. Most pastors and ministry leaders only excel in, well, less than a few categories. There are pastors who are excellent communicators and vision casters, however they struggle in areas of business management and community involvement. And vice versa.

It’s been said that members of the congregation and those looking for a place of worship will tolerate subpar music if the preaching is excellent. It has also been said that folks will tolerate subpar preaching if the music is excellent. If both the preaching and music are subpar, you better plan on having out-of-this-world children’s, student and hospitality ministries.

Maybe part of the issue is that we have not focused on what truly matters. Is the Church on the frontlines to address the most pressing issues in our community? Is the Church offering ministries that meet the actual (not assumed) needs of our neighbors? Does church suck, not because we have subpar preaching and music, but because we have lost our way?

Maybe we can use this time of physical distancing and online worship to embrace the old Cubs mantra of “try not to suck.” We have a great opportunity to make some shifts and address some gaps to offer something a bit more appealing to the world around us. I know that I have been thinking about the areas where I need growth, additional training or assistance.

You see, as the Church, we have a call to share the Greatest Hope the world has ever known. If the world around us is writing off the Church, that means that we have lost our way. When I read the book of Acts, I don’t think one would label what was happening as boring (well, maybe Eutychus would have a slightly different opinion).

I hear a lot of talk about how this pandemic might lead us to a time of revival. I hope and pray that’s true.

However, I am far too cynical and believe the harsh reality is that there will be folks who use this time of physical distancing to exit the church. There will be people who grow accustomed to the convenience of not having to leave their dwelling place on Sunday morning to attend church. Many will continue to worship online, many will not.

So, how do we respond?

We have a great responsibility to continually evaluate and consider what we’re doing in order to reach the world for Christ. If what we’re doing isn’t bearing fruit, it’s time to do some pruning.

What better time than now?

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I See We’ve Had an Incident…

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I do not do well with medications stronger than regular strength Tylenol. That will come into play in this true story. Also, NEVER take medications that have not been prescribed to you…even if your mother says it’s okay!

Emily and I have a favorite restaurant in Muncie, IN called Vera Mae’s Bistro. We especially love dining at Vera Mae’s around Christmas time, as the restaurant is beautifully decorated for the holiday.

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We have had many memorable visits to this wonderful establishment. The food, the service, the live music all make for an unforgettable experience.

Prior to venturing into the world of the vegan diet, I anxiously anticipated consuming the dill crusted cod, along with a salad with house made Bleu cheese or the French onion soup (which, seriously, is ridiculously good!). Emily regularly ordered the chicken brie raspberry, knowing she would be disappointed if she strayed from her favorite. And, of course, we left plenty of room for dessert (our favorite being the tiramisu from Ghyslain!).

Of course, we also had some memorable experiences shaped by unforeseeable “incidents”. You really can’t take the two of us anywhere!

One evening, a salad fork leapt from our table and came crashing down in the middle of the dining room. Hoping no one had noticed, we carried on our conversation and dining. Seconds later, one of the owners delivered a new fork to the table and politely said, “This might come in handy!”

We also enjoyed visiting Vera Mae’s with friends. One particular couple had the distinct pleasure of being with us for at lease two unique incidents.

As dinner was winding down, “someone” managed to shatter a glass on the table. It really was a freak accident. But, it was loud and messy. In addition to the water, in attempting to pick up some of the broken glass, I managed to slice my finger open and began bleeding. Thank goodness they used dark linen napkins! The waiter, who happened to be our waiter every-single-time we had an incident, came to the table and simply said, “Oh, I see we’ve had an incident.” After I apologized (I would like to point out that I am not the “someone” who broke the glass), he replied, “No worries. I typically have several incidents a night!”

Probably the most memorable incident (well, not for me, but for others) took place in the company of the previously mentioned couple. Emily and I were living in Lafayette at the time and were in Muncie visiting family and friends. We were both looking forward to getting together with our friends and enjoying a delicious meal!

Prior to leaving for dinner, I started to get a slight headache. We were at my parents house. I knew I needed to get ahead of the headache and asked my mother if she had any Tylenol. She fumbled around in the medicine cabinet and was unable to locate any Tylenol. However, she did find something that she proclaimed to be “just like Tylenol.”

Given that I trust my mother, I took the small bill and waited for it to kick in.

Just a quick note…NEVER take unknown, unprescribed medications from someone…not even from your mother! 

We were carpooling with our friends to the restaurant. On the way to the restaurant, I started feeling a bit “off” and told Emily that she would need to drive home. When I made this statement, she made the assumption that I was going to have an adult beverage with my meal.

However, the reality is that, as I was driving, I began to experience what I can only describe as tunnel vision, momentary blackouts and seeing stars. In hindsight, I probably should have pulled the car over.

Heading into the restaurant, others began to take notice that I was a bit “off”. When asked if I still felt up for dinner, my response was, “Yes. I think I just need to get something to eat and some water. I’ll be fine.” I was really looking forward to the dill crusted cod, tiramisu and time with friends.

Really, from that point forward, things are a bit fuzzy!

I know that I began to sweat profusely. Emily made the comment, “Jason, you are sweating a lot.” My response was a simple, “I am aware of that.”

One of our friends, who happens to be a dentist, started asking questions about what my mother had given me for the headache. Collectively, Emily and our friends made the decision that we needed to leave the restaurant and call it a night. We didn’t even make it to the salads!

Our friend, the dentist, said that we really needed to find out what my mother gave me so we could determine whether or not I could just go home and sleep it off or if I needed to go to the hospital.

Upon finding out what I was given (which was not “just like Tylenol”, more like extra strength Tylenol!), our friend indicated that I should be fine. He also shared that a person should never take it without food (in addition to not taking medicine that has not been prescribed by a professional…and, no, “Dr. Mom” does not count!).

On the drive home, I looked out the window and noticed that Muncie had a new Little Caesar’s! In my excitement, I exclaimed, “Well, &%$#, &@#$, Muncie has a Little Caesar’s.” Emily responded, “Guys, he must not feel well, because he didn’t say ‘**#$, #%^&, *^&*. If he left out the, #~%^, he must be out of it!”

After parting ways with our friends, we left the kids with my parents and Emily drove us back to Lafayette. I do not remember a single moment of the drive to Lafayette. However, I felt much better the next morning!

We’ve since had some successful, incident free visits to Vera Mae’s. I’m looking forward to being able to dine there again once things begin to open up again.

There are a few lessons here, folks…

  1. Never take medicine that was not prescribed to you.
  2. Mother’s should not be trusted!
  3. Well, I’m just kidding about number 2. But, number one is vitally important.

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The Divisiveness of Inclusion

People who know me well understand that I am committed to creating a more inclusive Church. My commitment to inclusion is grounded in the Great Commandment (the call of Jesus followers to love God and love neighbor). My commitment to inclusion is also built on the foundation of the ministry of Jesus, who reached out in hope-filled love and mercy to the most marginalized, overlooked and outcast of His day.

In my experience, inclusion has been one of the most divisive topics within the Church. Whenever I have made a strong statement (or even a veiled statement) regarding inclusion, I have faced the most pushback…even had my faith questioned by some.

I believe part of the divisiveness of inclusion centers on our reduction of inclusion to matters surrounding human sexuality (marriage, ordination, etc.). To me, inclusion definitely involves human sexuality. However, it also includes matters of race, gender, socioeconomics, education, abilities and more.

I am firmly committed to an inclusive Church that makes room for those who happen to disagree with me. I am often labeled as a progressive, both theologically and politically. Labels often don’t encompass the whole story. As a progressive, there are stereotypes that I am going to be closed off to traditionalist. Being closed off to anyone really misses the heart of inclusion. And, here’s the deal, I like to consider myself humble enough to recognize that “I could be wrong.”. I’m also egotistical enough to admit that I don’t really think I’m wrong!

I desire to see a Church that creates a safe and welcoming space for all. Being welcomed is more than tolerating someone’s presence. It involves expressing that all are wanted and included. One of my guiding questions in ministry is this, “is there room at my table (or church) for my enemy?” If the answer to that question is “no”, there is still work to be done on inclusion.

Some of my best friends and closest colleagues do not share my theological or political perspective. However, because we have mutual respect and trust for one another, we continue on this journey of faith together. We believe the best about one another and know that we are each doing our best to be faithful in living out our call to follow in the way of Jesus. Therefore, there are times we “agree to disagree.” I believe it’s one of the most beautiful expressions of our faith when people of opposing theological and political perspectives can join together in a common, uniting mission.

Let me be clear, for most of my friends that do not share my views on inclusion, it’s not that they are opposed to all people having a place in the church. Generally, the opposite is true! They do desire that all be welcome in the church! It’s not as if my friends who have different theological and political viewpoints on matters of inclusion, marriage or ordination love people less. It’s not like I have it all figured out and they are wrong. We have just arrived at different conclusions…and I like to think that it’s okay!

My commitment to inclusion stems from growing up in the church and my personal journey.

I grew up in a time when the old mantra of “don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t go with girls who do,” was a core teaching for young people. In addition to that, there was a very clear teaching of, “don’t be gay.” In fact, it seemed to be that, as long as you were not gay, you could probably get away with drinking, smoking, and chewing.

In many ways, whether intentional or not, there was a clear teaching that homosexuality was the worst sin ever. Now, no one could ever give a defense beyond the standard line of, “well, the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” (As a began to take my faith more seriously, I started to notice many of the flaws in these lines of defense…for example, there are many Biblical definitions of marriage).

In various Christians circles, it appeared that the accepted definition of biblical marriage was used to make sure that, 1). We weren’t gay; 2). We wouldn’t have sex outside of marriage.

One day in a Bible study, I decided to challenge the accepted teaching. “So, I was reading the Old Testament the other day. What about that? That’s the Bible too, right? Dudes had multiple wives and multiple concubines. And, wives who were having trouble getting pregnant had their husbands have sex with their slaves. And, what about David? That guy had an affair and arranged to have his mistresses husband killed. What about divorce? The Bible seems to be against it, but we all seem to accept it. Doesn’t that seem like a bigger threat to the sanctity of marriage than being gay?”

There was a long, uncomfortable silence. Then, I received the “go to” defense. “Well, that’s the Old Testament. We’re New Testament believers.” (Again, as I began to take my faith more seriously, I started to notice many of the flaws in this line of defense…for example, just take a look at what Jesus has to say about divorce and adultery in the Gospel of Matthew).

As I was learning about a God of love, I was also learning about systems of behavior that either included or excluded people. The messages were mixed. On one hand, we were taught the old Billy Graham mantra (which is beautiful, and I still cling to this idea) that “it’s the Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and our job to love”). On the other hand, we were taught to judge others based on their behaviors.

My senior year of high school through the end of my sophomore year of college, I took a brief hiatus from church and religion. I loosely held on to a belief in Jesus. I would pray when I needed assistance to get out of a jam.

I was wrestling with questions, doubts and challenges to my faith and the community of the church. Those questions, doubts and challenges made most of my religious friends uncomfortable. I’ve come to discover that God is big enough to handle our questions, doubts and challenges.

One of my biggest struggles was that there didn’t seem to be room for many of my friends in the life of the church. They would only be welcome if they curbed their behaviors first. They needed to behave and believe before they would be welcome to belong.

The reality is, I had been around gay people as long as I can remember. My mom was an educator and often had student teachers. One of my favorite student teachers (other than my ultimate favorite, my wife Emily) was a homosexual man. This was the 80’s in Muncie, IN. While not uncommon, it definitely wasn’t the norm. But he helped breakdown some of the stereotypes and generalizations that folks in small Midwestern cities held in regard to the homosexual population…well, at least in my mind.

The thing is, I never saw my homosexual brothers and sisters as outcasts doomed for hell. I mean, that’s the message I was hearing in certain Christian circles, but it was a hard message for me to accept.

I saw these folks as friends, family and teachers. I couldn’t imagine a God of love sending these amazing people to hell because of who they love. Yet, that is what I was being taught. So, that is what, for a time, I believed too. As a result of that belief, I know there were times when my words and actions towards the LGBTQ community caused harm. However, this belief really never felt right.

As I gained more independence, my circle expanded. The skateboard, music and art scene of my mid-sized Midwestern college hometown was full of interesting characters…straight, gay, bi, trans, black, white, Hispanic, Indian, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, rich, poor, you name it, it was part of our circle. Here’s the beautiful thing…everyone was welcome. Everyone was included. Everyone was valued. Everyone was loved. Everyone looked out for one another. The common response when differences were expressed was, “That’s cool, dude.” In the some of the Christian circles I associated with, when differences were expressed, the common response was, “I will pray for you to change your evil ways.”

I believe my non-religious circle had more impact on shaping my views on what the Church can be than my Christian circles!

The LGBTQ members of our circle were (and still are) among the most creative, kind, caring, generous and loving people I’ve ever known. When we begin to make someone who is supposed to be our “enemy” our “friend”, walls begin to break down. Once an issue has a face and a name, it’s hard to continue drawing divisive lines.

Yet, my faith family taught me that these friends were out. These friends were excluded. These friends needed to change their ways before they could be accepted. These friends needed to suppress who they are in order to be “in”.

I was walking a dangerous line befriending such worldly people. But my heart and mind could not agree with the conclusions my faith community had drawn.

Rather than fight, reconcile or justify my “alternative beliefs” within the community of faith, I fled. Now, I didn’t flee for long, but for a season, I was out. Instead of finding community within the Church, I found community and connection in this oddball collective of freaks and outcasts.

After a few years of rejecting my childhood faith, I discovered a longing to return. There was an emptiness and a desire for more. Don’t get me wrong, I was seemingly happy. I had a great circle of friends. But, something was missing. I attempted to fill the void with all the typical resources available to an 18-21-year-old guy. Yet, nothing addressed that strange sense of emptiness. I was having fun, yet longed for something deeper and meaningful.

My heart kept pointing me to Jesus. I tried to connect in the obvious spaces…campus ministries, the church all the cool kids were attending, but it all failed to connect. I was hearing the familiar refrains of what we stand against (gays, abortion, drinking, dancing, fun) and very little about what/who Jesus was for (love, outcasts, everyone).

I came to a conclusion that if I were to fully connect in a Christian community, I would either have to change my thoughts or suppress my beliefs on inclusion.

I then began to learn more about the church of my childhood, The United Methodist Church. I learned that we believe that “all people are of sacred worth” and that “all people” have a place in our church…that “all people” are to be welcomed and included in the life and ministry of the Church. Now, I realize we still have work to do. But, within our tradition, we have a commitment to being in ministry “with and for all”. Regardless of our theological interpretations and political perspectives, we are called to make room at our table for everyone!

I know that the church I love is committed to making a place at the table for everyone. Gay or straight; traditional or progressive; Republican or Democrat; rich or poor; longing for a more inclusive church or hoping to have stronger definitions in regard to matters of human sexuality; whatever issues and labels that are typically used to divide should be checked at the door. We have a call, as followers of Jesus, to be with and for all…yes, even those with whom we disagree! So, if you are offended by my perspective, that’s okay! There’s a place for you!

My longing for a more inclusive Church means that people from all walks of life will be welcome, wanted, included, safe, known and loved within the community of believers, so that all might experience the life-transforming love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

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