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Posts Tagged ‘FaithMatters’


March 22nd, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

It’s a recurring theme in this blog, but the American church in all its permutations is facing very strong headwinds. Even as the United Methodist Church anticipates fracture, the trends do not favor institutional religion. As reported in The Christian Post, according the General Social Survey, persons of “no religion” (otherwise known as the “nones”) now… Read More

Homeward Bound

February 22nd, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

I received a telephone call from a stranger in search of a minister. She was the caretaker of an elderly gentleman whose age was something north of 90 years, although I was told the precise number was not known. Just a week prior he had recovered from a very serious illness the doctors were certain… Read More

Optimism vs. Hope

February 15th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Carol had been beaten down by several terrible tragedies. The first shocker: her daughter had drowned in the backyard pool while celebrating her third birthday with friends. Then, during the subsequent counseling, her husband fell in love with the therapist whose professional boundaries were swamped by passion. Divorce ensued. Two years later I sat with Carol in… Read More

Companions along the Way…

February 8th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

At some point in the course of February, check out a challenging and important online exhibition entitled, Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America. Make this an intentional personal assignment for Black History Month. (I recommend you include the short video as you scroll the site.) I first came in contact with these photographs… Read More

The way forward

February 1st, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has called a special session of the General Conference to be held February 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. (General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church and normally meets every 4 years. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held in May of 2020 in… Read More


January 18th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Mary Oliver died yesterday. A poet of consummate grace and depth, I returned often to her work as an aid in my own meditation and spiritual devotion. She had a special capacity for interweaving her questing faith with keen observation of the natural world. She spoke simply, but truly, and in this way aroused deep spiritual… Read More

The year for something different…

January 11th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Was it birth or death, great sorrow or great joy that filled the hospital room? It was surely at least all of those things. That Robert would soon die was a fact. That his father was recently reborn was another. This pastoral encounter happened early in my ministry. Robert had been diagnosed with AIDS long… Read More

Real love… a parable…

January 4th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Several decades ago I was involved in a musical comedy production at my children’s school. I played the male romantic lead, which required me to kiss the ingenue with some passionate intensity. This prompted an interesting conversation with my kids, who were then six and eight years old. More than once they witnessed me practicing… Read More


December 28th, 2018 by Stephen Bauman

Among the popular New Year’s resolutions that are proffered every January by well-meaning persons are those pertaining to work. These run the gamut from desiring a different job, spending more time at home, or being more competent. Although these intentions most often are rarely implemented, they do point to a very important series of considerations.… Read More

Finding God

December 21st, 2018 by Stephen Bauman

Listening to an NPR podcast about a growing movement for “gift-less Christmas” (releasing the consumerist addiction to focus attention on more humane, compassionate and loving opportunities), one mother reported this: she was consumed with providing for her children “a perfect Christmas.” By that she meant the whole megillah—gifts, decorations, parties, whatnot and hoo-ha. A very… Read More