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Fight for your Right to Daaaaadddyyy! The Art of Fatherhood, MCA, and Wild Things

This Father’s Day, we celebrate my Dad’s retirement from 47 years of ministry in the United Methodist Church.  He has been the spiritual abba for three generations of children, from Sparrowbush, New York to Rhome, Texas.  A few days ago, a room full of Methodist clergy in the Southwest Texas voted to allow him to retire. (Methodists vote on everything.)

At the same meeting, we held a group of brand new clergy to a set of rules that are just plain odd.  (The questions Methodist pastors have to answer about “being made perfect” are strange enough for a post all their own.)  For this post, I want to note that the Methodist rules contain at least two promises not to “trifle,” and several promises to perform “diligence.”  My bishop’s favorite rule is “Will you diligently instruct the children in every place?”  He asks this of the candidates each year with notable verve.  John Wesley was all about diligence, and he had no patience for anything that whiffed of trifle.  I think he was off the mark, because good fathers, and good pastors, have to learn to waste serious time if they are going to instruct children.

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On the John Edwards trial (and the public fascination with it)

The end of John Edwards’ trial has been a cause of much discussion in the media, but as Dr. Hall suggests in this interview with WRAL-TV’s David Crabtree, no one’s life should be reduced to an object lesson on infidelity, forgiveness, or campaign finance reform.  As our favorite dead Danish philosopher was fond of pointing out, to compare oneself to the badness of others is a very bad way to become better…

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