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John Wesley’s Advice on Confusing Videos on Social Media

Confession: Like many others, I was caught up in the controversy over the last couple of days with the reporting of a situation at the Lincoln Memorial.

As things developed, I shared several conflicting perspectives from others on who did what when to whom and why on social media. At this point, I’ve removed them all for many reasons.

Beth Fender is a friend in real life and a colleague. She quoted and contextualized two such reasons, both more profound than mine, for that removal. She gave permission to share them, so I yield my space now to Beth’s words —

John Wesley‘s advice on confusing videos on social media:

Believe evil of no one; unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction on everything: you know the judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner’s side.”


Speak evil of no one; else your word, especially, would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast, till you come to the person concerned.”

Thank you, Beth, and thank you, Mr. Wesley.



How Wonderful, How Beautiful

On this MLK Day, it’s important to remember why this is a holiday in the first place: the life and legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

However, “I haven’t seen the churches organizing a race-relations conference,” says Robert J. Brown.

He’s known as “the civil rights power broker” according to Time magazine, which interviewed him for the January 28, 2019 issue.

“Online, it’s ridiculous,” he continues. “How’re you going to get people emotionally involved online? It ain’t going to happen. People need to meet in the flesh and blood.”

Couple that with Psalm 133:1-3

How wonderful, how beautiful,
when brothers and sisters get along!

It’s like costly anointing oil
flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.

It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon
flowing down the slopes of Zion.

Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,
ordains eternal life.

— and to quote Dr.King, “I have a dream.”


Bill and The Star and Them and Us

Several years ago I saw an older guy eating breakfast alone at a week-long national event. I asked if I could join him, told him my name. He smiled, looked around, said his name was Bill. We had a great week of breakfasts together, talking about anything and everything and sharing stories and generally carrying on together.

On the last day of the event I inadvertently learned he was Bishop William Grove…THE Bishop William Grove.

He has very recently given me his expressed permission to share with you here something he wrote within the context of Epiphany [if that word’s not familiar, jump back to my blog from Sunday, January 6th for details]—

Many people in the world live in daily fear of their government. That has not been the experience of Americans who through free elections, choose those who will govern them.

In nearly ninety years of life, I do not remember ever fearing our government. But I confess that I fear it now.

And it deeply saddens me that self styled Evangelical Christians form the strongest base of support for this government that frightens me.

In my understanding of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, we are called to welcome the stranger, the refugee and the immigrant in the name of the One who said “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” [Matthew 25:35]

There is an insidious form of Christian heresy sweeping our land, supporting a dangerous government to protect white America. Never did we so need to watch for the Star.

Two Questions for Both Speakers & Listeners

Here’s another gem from Ken Jeong‘s interview in the January 21, 2019 issue of Time magazine —

The interviewer asked about his upcoming Neflix special, noting that it “has a lot of sincere moments, especially about your wife Tran Ho’s facing breast cancer. Is stand-up a place where there’s room to get serious?”

He answered, “Yes. I wanted to do something very different from my old stand-up, which was joke-based. I wanted this to be real. That coincides with today’s stand-up comedy.

“Comics like Hannah Gadsby or Ali Wong exemplify how you can do deeply personal work in a stand-up format. It wasn’t like that 20 years ago.”

My 2 Questions for preachers and teachers/trainers/presenters and people who listen to us:

Do you agree with him about that change?

If so, how much of one’s own “deeply personal” material belongs in sermons,  lessons, etc.?

As always, get hold of me in any of our usual ways.

See you back here tomorrow.

A Question for Preachers

You might recognize Ken Jeong from Crazy Rich Asians. Before acting, he was an MD who became a stand-up comedian.

“I never have a set order, but I know where to add certain bits or improvise,” he says of his times on stage in the January 21, 2019 issue of Time magazine. “What I love about stand-up is that you can just roll with it like jazz and see where it takes you.”

I have a question for preachers: how’s that compare to the way you practice your craft?

Looking forward to hearing from you in any of our usual ways, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

You and The Nun

Anthony Lane, writing a review of The Nun

“What is happening in your soul?” she is asked.

“Nothing,” she replies.

— That’s in the January 14, 2019 issue of The New Yorker.


The early Methodists, and some still today —

“How is it with your soul?” they asked.

— That’s part of being in Covenant Group/Class Meeting/Prayer Band Meeting/Small Group/Life Group. The name changes, the significance remains.


Good questions.

What’s your answer today?

Why Bother with Bible Study?

“There’s so much else going on,” he said to me, “so many important issues and problems, I mean, really, why even bother with Bible Study?”

It was the beginning of an interesting conversation.

At some point I referenced some great lines by our old friend John Wesley. It’s my pleasure to actually quote them for you here, from the Preface to his book of Standard Sermons.

They speak for themselves —

I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air.

I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity!

I want to know one thing the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore.

God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came from heaven.

He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book!

At any price, give me the book of God!

I have it: here is knowledge enough for me.

— I was wrong; I said that Mr. Wesley’s words “speak for themselves” when in fact they speak for me as well. 

You, too?