Blogs/Columns


Latest from the Bishop

Preparing our hearts and minds for General Conference

2/14/2019

I humbly offer you several considerations for your spiritual preparations for General Conference. Let us set all our hope on the grace of Jesus Christ!


Welcoming the C & E Christians

11/28/2011

I admit it: I like those schmaltzy Christmas movies that the Hallmark channel runs around the clock this time of year. Yes, they can be cheesy. But they always tell a story of some kind of transformation. My favorites tell about someone whose heart is hardened and who is somehow an outsider, either by their own choice or circumstance. Eventually they get loved into new life and often ...


Glimpses of the past that shaped our witness

10/27/2011

These days people may be able to choose from more than one United Methodist church within driving distance. But a hundred or so years ago, when people of European, African, and Asian descent were just starting to move into the Minnesota area, forming congregations entailed special challenges. What sacrifices did those early Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren make so we can enjoy ...


Choose generosity

10/26/2011

I am one of those who commute to work every day. I don’t mind the drive. It is the traffic I hate. You can never predict it. Some days I sail into work; other days I barely crawl. On those crawling days, which are all too frequent, I find myself becoming increasingly impatient and frustrated, especially when we are stopped on the freeway for no apparent reason. I can understand how road ...


Experimentation is the road to the future

10/25/2011

Do you remember when twitter was a bird’s song? text was ink on a page? applications were something you filled out for college admission? outlook was an attitude toward life? facebook was your family photo album? GPS was a Good Passenger in the adjacent Seat? and Skype was simply a typographical error? The world is changing at an accelerated pace. When we don’t try some new things, we ...


A conspiracy of kindness

10/6/2011

One October the congregation to which I was appointed began a conspiracy. I am not sure how it got started. I just knew I was at the center of it. Every day something mysteriously showed up at my desk. Flowers, chocolate, a small gift, a personal note of thanks. Every day. For no apparent reason. I couldn’t imagine what I had done to deserve this. I was used to occasional notes of thanks...


Focusing on the essentials

8/23/2011

We are a church with high aspirations. You should see the list of all the annual conference teams. They are trying to accomplish every good idea someone has had at some time, with the really good intentions of being responsive to people and expanding the circle of those with whom we are in ministry. The problem: we have become so wide in our scope of ministry that we are facing ...


Is our tent big enough?

8/23/2011

Following her husband’s death, a member of a congregation I once led was rummaging through some old files in preparation for moving to a new apartment. She ran across a clipping from the World War II era that she passed on to me. I dropped it in a file of my own and recently ran across it as I perused and purged papers as I settled into my new office at the Minnesota Church Center. It ...


Is our tent big enough?

8/23/2011

By Dan Johnson Following her husband’s death, a member of a congregation I once led was rummaging through some old files in preparation for moving to a new apartment. She ran across a clipping from the World War II era that she passed on to me. I dropped it in a file of my own and recently ran across it as I perused and purged papers as I settled into my new office at the Minnesota ...


How will the church ‘reset’ to future changes?

8/22/2011

Almost every measurement of the United Methodist Church’s work at making disciples, where we count people, shows decreases. Almost every measurement related to giving and financial assets, where we count dollars, shows increases. Bishops, Cabinets, benefits officers, treasurers, and chairs of conference councils on finance and administration, pension boards, and boards of ordained ...


Minnesota campus life in the roaring ‘20s

8/17/2011

“Efficiency Our Aim, Scholarship Our Watchword, Character Our Goal” was the motto of Parker College, Minnesota United Methodism’s little-known second college. Parker College was founded in 1886 by Baptists in Winnebago and run by Methodists from 1912 to 1924. Parker College was dedicated to educating rural youth of southern Minnesota. Continuous emphasis was put on creating a good ...


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