thrive UMC Blog

A LIFE WORTH LIVING, step 1: Plugged In

A LIFE WORTH LIVING, step 1: Plugged In I once had this nightmare where I died, and my entire life was played back in fast-forward for me and a small audience (of also recently-deceased people) on this huge old-school movie screen.  What the screen showed was only a hopelessly long string of movies and T.V.

04 Mar 2014


Underneath all of the rules and rituals, the politics and social agendas, Christianity –and all the world religions for that matter- runs the yearning for a place where people can share their lives in a rich, meaningful way.  It’s the dream of a life lived well, together.  The religious object is the connected and coordinated

20 Feb 2014


Over a quarter of all Americans are actively struggling with one form of diagnosable mental illness or another right now.  Almost half of the entire population (46.4%) will wrestle with mental illness at some point over the course of their lifetimes.  More than 1 in 20 will be debilitated by it.[1]  We are very clear

05 Feb 2014

On Being Awesome

As a kid, I had powerful aspirations for greatness.  I was going to inspire people.  On quiet nights, I could picture the amazing feats I would soon accomplish.  There were visions of crowds gathering around me, showering me with adoration and praise, to the staccato of flashbulbs and women gasping as they faint.  I was

28 Jan 2014


There was a woman I met several years back who was one of my greatest sources of encouragement: she showed up to things I planned and led, in spite of that fact that they weren’t planned or publicized very well –a fact made even more remarkable considering I had called her by the wrong name

23 Jan 2014

What Church Could Be, part 3: Honest

As I’ve had the chance to speak with more people, and heard more stories about why so many young people aren’t bothering to participate in ‘church’, a common theme has consistently arisen:  There’s a disturbing disconnect between ‘Christian’ words and deeds. So, in the confessional spirit, I’ve made a quick (and admittedly far-from-exhaustive) outline of

20 Dec 2013

What Church Could Be: Part 2 -Less Christian

A lot of time and energy has been invested in the promotion, maintenance and what I call the ‘gate-keeping,’ of Christianity.   And yet, at the same time, it seems to grow less and less clear what the word ‘Christianity’ actually designates.  Even as the Christian Church in America declines dramatically in almost every statistical metric, the

10 Dec 2013
thrive umc west des moines

What Church Could Be: Part 1

Yesterday I had a friend of mine make a less-than-flattering comparison between churches and pay-phones.  For starters, he suggested, there are a lot less of them than there were even 15 years ago.  Sure, every once in a while you’ll still see them, but it always makes you wonder why they’re there, and about the kind of

17 Nov 2013