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Speaking My Piece

For a long time now, I've found myself torn between the desire to write what I'm writing now, or to stay silent. It's usually easy enough to stay silent. It's just a matter of doing nothing. But sometimes the words insist on being spoken, or written. Sometimes you have to take that chance, and speak. 

I'm writing now to say something about where I am, and where I'd like to be. Most of my friends and family know that early in 2018 I left pastoral ministry, and later that year surrendered my credentials as a Methodist clergyperson, effectively severing my ties with the church. I wrote a letter to my loved ones at that time in which I explained that, though I felt enormous gratitude for my time in the church and especially for the people I encountered there, I no longer had any interest in "organized religion" of any sort. 
In the time since, I've been able to accept the fact that I am no longer a person of faith, in any sense. No longer a believer. Fr…

My Parents, Led Zeppelin, Isaac Newton, and James T. Kirk

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To my parents, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary:

To mom, when I thought about you and about this day, I thought of Led Zeppelin, and of one Led Zeppelin song in particular, the song, “No Quarter.”

The phrase, “no quarter” is taken from ancient battlefields, where it means, essentially, “no mercy.” If a general declared that there would be, “no quarter: none asked, none given” in a battle to come, that meant no prisoners would be taken that day.

In the song, “No Quarter,” we hear the story of a band of warriors who are marching through a blizzard in the dark of night, on a desperate mission to save their families:

Walking side-by-side with death,
The devil mocks their every step. 
The snow drives back the foot that’s slow,
The dogs of doom are howling low.
They carry news that must get through,
To build a dream for me and you.
They choose the path where no one goes,
They hold no quarter,
They ask no quarter. 

For those of you who know her story, maybe you’re not too surprised that …

So Long, and Thanks...

For friends, family, and other interested parties:

This week I emailed Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor and informed her that I wish to withdraw my status as an elder in the UMC. This means I am no longer to be a Methodist clergyperson.

I know some of my friends will want to know why I’ve made this decision. The short answer is that it’s what I want. For most of my adult life I’ve been more of a seeker than a believer. And I’m grateful to the UMC for welcoming the seekers of the world, me included. But I find that my need to go on seeking, and thinking freely, has only grown over time, to an extent that I would be playing false if I continued in the role of elder.

Hand-in-hand with this concern has been my growing discomfort with the institution of the church. I intend no disrespect to something which has given me and my family so much. But for many reasons, I’ve found I simply can’t service the institution in the ways it requires, and perhaps deserves. And to be honest, I have no interest …