samedi, janvier 18, 2014

Lies, damned lies, and....

The older I get, the more I realize that I need to question my assumptions.

I'm not talking about the fundamentals of  faith (though I have learned to live with, and to accept doubt as my shadowy companion).

Rather, I often question the nature of knowing itself.

Fear not, I'm not going all epistemological on you.

Instead, I am learning to question what is proffered, 24/7, as knowledge, via scientific certainties,  statistics, studies, and surveys.

A few weeks ago, the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life came out with the results of a poll it had done last spring, revealing an apparent growing discrepancy between what Republicans and Democrats think about the scientific theory of evolution (Darwin and all that).

The media,  including me, leapt all over it. I solicited comments on my FB page to explain the results. Some saw them as predictable. Others questioned the results.  Still others queried the way the poll was done.

Fortunately for me, I got sidetracked, and didn't end up writing about the Pew poll until this past week.  By then, experts on statistics had time to take apart the results, and to argue that much of the media frenzy was a tempest in a teapot.

What do you think? Feel free to comment, either here or at

mercredi, janvier 15, 2014

Defrocked pastor Frank Schaefer: a lighting rod and a storyteller

Because I didn't attend the denominational trial and hear his testimony, I haven't spent a lot of time sorting out my impressions of Frank Schaefer, defrocked by United Methodist Church leaders for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding (and then refusing to promise he would abide by denominational proscriptions) .

But after speaking with him, I had one clear impression -- this is a man without guile.

That's a pretty remarkable trait in any professional environment.  Yes, even in the church.  Perhaps especially in the church.

He's preaching at three services this Sunday in Lancaster's First United Methodist Church.
Go listen, and judge for yourself. Whatever you think of Schaefer's choices, his story is still compelling. And whether the context is a lecture, a book or a sermon, the story is often what we remember, isn't it?