Centering the United Methodist Church on Christ

The Cross

I was in elementary school when I first grasped that the death of Jesus was a big deal. On Good Friday, my mom and dad signed me out of class in time for the noon church service. It was somber and stiff and formal – but I was out of school for the rest of the day. It...

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Christ on the Wrist

By Steve Beard Her spiritual journey began by asking about a tattoo of Jesus on the wrist of a client. Aimee Burke cuts and styles hair in a hipster neighborhood in Toronto. “She partied a lot and was partial to coke,” reported The Globe and Mail, one of the largest...

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A snake in the manger

There is a grand Christmas tradition at our house on the evening of December 25: separating the crumpled wrapping paper from the bows that can be reused next year. For many families, Christmas Day signals the winding down of the holiday. Soon the decorations will be...

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Generous love: The Salvation Army

For more than 150 years, The Salvation Army has been the most consistent, creative, and trustworthy symbol for a warm hearted faith and a generous helping hand for those in need. With a legacy of rushing into where the need is greatest, it has earned a coveted...

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Gratitude and the Rock of Ages

I can still faintly visualize it. Many years ago, I was watching the first game of the NBA Championship series when it was announced that the rock band U2 would be performing for the half-time show. U2’s concert was in Boston while the basketball game was being played...

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Sinners in the Hands of a Singing God

Set in 19th century France, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is an epic tale of the spiritual consequences of sin and the search for redemption. In the 1998 movie version, there is a noteworthy scene with the story’s protagonist Jean Valjean (played by Liam Neeson), a...

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Soul food

In the grand scheme of things, it may seem like an insignificant victory – but Eddie O’Neill sees it from a different vantage point. In July, Sunday services finally were begun for Christian prisoners at a medium-security London mental health unit – and the services...

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Back Row America

Chris Arnade earned a PhD in theoretical physics and spent 20 years on Wall Street making piles of money as a bond trader. In a season of disillusionment with his lucrative career, he began walking around New York City taking photographs of graffiti artists, Schwinn...

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Shepherd to the fringes

“Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town’s garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and Latin and Greek … at the kind of place where cynics talk smut,...

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Shifting axis of Methodism

“I look upon all the world as my parish,” famously said John Wesley (1703-1791). One imagines he had no idea that the United Methodist Church – one very large aspect of his spiritual legacy – would be in ministry in 60 different nations around the globe.  Within...

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