These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
Posts by Denny


March 7, 2018 By dwayman

Pastor and theologian Delonte Gholston has written an insightful theological and social commentary in Relevant titled: GET OUT CONTAINS A THEOLOGICAL LESSON THAT IS EASY TO MISS.  After noting that the first Black writer to win an Oscar for Best Screenplay and that he created a whole new genre of film being called the “social suspense thriller”, Gholston applies the insights to the church.  

In part he says:


What does a Jordan Peele suspense thriller have to do with the Church or Christian theology? Well, the reality is that black folk in America are eerily familiar with what I call “sunken-place theology.” As Dr. Curtis Steven Wilder makes painfully clear in his book Ebony And Ivy, the American Church, along with elite colleges and universities, was chief among those who trafficked not only in the kidnapping and commodification of black bodies but also in the development of a theology of black bondage.

We saw new reports recently that our founding father George Washington, who had his very own pew at Christ Church in historic Alexandria, Virginia, (once the largest center of human trafficking in America) quite literally had the teeth of black enslaved people in his mouth. While there is no lack of documentation of how so-called Christians in America quite literally kidnapped and sold black bodies, the Church must still reckon with its theology of black exploitation and the ways in which it continues to manifest itself today.



February 10, 2018 By dwayman

In an article exploring implicit gender bias, the Harvard Business Review explored the reality of this in the business world:  The article explains:

“Last year, Harvard Business Review investigated a company where women comprise only 20% of senior roles. Their goal was to find out whether differences in gender behavior explained promotion disparities. The researchers perused communication exchanges and data coming from sociometric badges that recorded interactions between employees. They hypothesized that explicit preferences such as women having fewer mentors or less facetime with managers would account for discrepancies. But as they analyzed their data, they found men and women’s work patterns and performances were indistinguishable. And yet women weren’t advancing whereas men were. What gives?

It comes down to implicit biases, the researchers concluded, which are our unconscious tendencies to favor one thing over another. Often, these mental shortcuts are morally neutral, like linking “doctor” and “nurse” and “hospital.” But connect “doctor” to “he” and “nurse” to “she,” and these associations become loaded, and can, as others have observed, have oppressive consequences.

This reality helps explain why most organizations struggle to close gender gaps: It’s not enough for women to compete and show they’re capable. Implicit attitudes must change, too. But how? Here’s where to begin:

Know what gender bias looks like

A preeminent legal scholar identifies two prominent forms of workplace bias against women:




February 2, 2018 By dwayman

When prejudice moves into the second generation, it becomes more subtle and in many ways more powerful.  Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell is a Nazarene pastor who writes a thoughtful and important article revealing this to us.

“In generations past, it was easy to identify explicit structures and policies that hindered women from obtaining and succeeding in pastoral roles, but in many cases, those overt barriers have been eliminated. Even so, the number of female pastors hasn’t shifted much. According to Hartford Institute for Religion Research, only 12 percent of congregations in the United States have female lead pastors, and, in evangelical churches, that number drops to 9 percent. If so many barriers have been eliminated, why haven’t the number of women and men in lead pastorates and denominational leadership positions equalized?

Researchers Herminia Ibarra, Robin J. Ely, and Deborah M. Kolb asked the same questions about women in the secular work place, and determined there was undoubtedly something in the water—something that went deeper than the overt barriers of years gone by. They named this experience Second-Generation Gender Bias, concluding that “second-generation bias erects powerful but subtle and often invisible barriers for women that arise from cultural assumptions and organizational structures, practices, and patterns of interaction that inadvertently benefit men while putting women at a disadvantage.”

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

Let’s be clear. We’re not calling out men for evil intent and taking names.



January 24, 2018 By dwayman
This post is from a retired Free Methodist Military Chaplain: Chaplain (CDR) David Thompson, CHC, USNR (Ret.)

Retired Elder/North Central Conference/FMC (USA)

On Sunday our pastor made the statement that our nation has been at war for 93% of our nation’s history since 1776, computing as of 2015  (222 years out of 239 years… so that in our history we had only 21 years of peace). I was astounded with that above-mentioned statement and so I looked it up after church with my friend “Google” (see: ). And there it was: The numbers were correct… and most of these wars were wars of choice or conquest rather than wars of deep moral conviction, like the Civil War or WW II…and for the most part, we as people faith went along with all this national warlike activity down through our history…just keeping “praising the Lord and passing the ammunition.” I then came across in The Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine (the Journal of the Navy & Marine Corps) an article written by Navy Captain John Byron, USN (Ret.) in the August 2017 issue entitled “We Have Been at War a Long Time” that speaks to this issue (see: ). The author leaves hanging the question of “what do you make of all of that? We really are a warlike people just looking at the hard numbers,


January 16, 2018 By dwayman

Ravi Zacharias provides a three-fold understanding of homosexuality and Christianity, or more appropriately sexuality and Christianity.  His call to be clear sociologically, theologically and relationally is a very helpful addition to the discussion.  It is a ten minute video.

Click here.

The comments on YOUTUBE provides opportunity to understand the responses of the “autonomous culture” to this area of our lives.

THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2018 By dwayman

One of the most powerful statements on the church’s responsibility to work for “justice for all” was written by a Baptist pastor named the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It happened in 1963.

In part he says:

“In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation…

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.

WELCOMING THE STRANGER:  Faith Communities and Immigration

WELCOMING THE STRANGER: Faith Communities and Immigration

January 7, 2018 By dwayman

In a recent article, Alexia Salvatierra, who is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and an immigration activist, wrote a thorough history of the Biblical and American experience with immigration, the sanctuary movement, and current realities.  It is a great resource, but also a call to participate in the care of those who are being harmed.  Comparing the modern sanctuary movement with the “Cities of Refuge” and the “Underground Railroad” the call focuses on the center of Free Methodist biblical commitment and our own history of abolitionist action.

In part she writes:

“In the thirty-fifth chapter of the Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible, the writer lays out a remedy for a social and legal problem. In ancient Israel, the penalty for murder was death, “a life for a life.” Family members of the slain person normally carry out the sentence.  However, the writers of Numbers recognized that it would not be fair for accidental killers to receive the same punishment as those who kill intentionally. Raging family members could not be expected to stop midstream and investigate; the community is instructed to create cities of refuge where the accused can be kept safe until they can receive a fair hearing. The cities of refuge are the solution for people who committed a crime and received an unfair penalty.

This ancient remedy is the root of the sanctuary church tradition. Since the fourth century in England, churches have offered protection and shelter to those accused of a crime but who would be likely to be punished unfairly if left unprotected.



January 3, 2018 By dwayman

The systemic racism of our culture is reinforced by the media.  In a Washington Post article this was reported:

“…a research team at the University of Illinois that studies media patterns to examine what an average news consumer might have “learned” about black families (and white families) during the last election cycle. The results were disturbing.

 The study found that, at best, media outlets promoted racially biased portrayals and myths that pathologize black families and idealize white families with respect to poverty and crime. At worst, media outlets amplified those inaccurate depictions for political and financial gain. Such reporting reinforces debunked narratives, helping to justify actions from police brutality to economic policies that will hurt not just black families but all families for generations.

The research team examined more than 800 relevant stories published or aired from January 2015 through December 2016, encompassing coverage from national broadcast and cable news outlets such as ABC, CBS and MSNBC; national mainstream newspapers like The Washington Post, the New York Times and USA Today; and online news sites. In both written and television reporting, the researchers found that the news media systemically misrepresented black families.

When the media outlets examined in the study reported stories about poor families, they chose to feature black families in their coverage 59 percent of the time, even though only 27 percent of families living below the poverty line are black. Similarly, in coverage of welfare,

WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.

WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.

December 23, 2017 By dwayman

All of us in dominate positions within any given culture, whether it is by race, gender, economics, education or some other distinction, are often unaware of how that privilege harms both us and those who are the “least of these.” And yet as Jesus clearly teaches, how we treat these who do not have what we have, will be the dividing standard. (Matt. 25)


Thus it becomes a spiritual necessity that we understand how to care for these whom Jesus places at the center of our responsibility.  To assist in this two Azusa Pacific University professors, Christopher S. Collins and Alexander Jun have written a quick but necessary book they title:  WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.


These insights will encourage your purchase and study:


  1. We define Whiteness as a system…a larger system that has constructed such a dominant reality that it narrows our sense of choices and beliefs as it relates to race. The system in which we live and operate can be compared to architecture, or a design that creates limited choices one can make when it comes to moving into certain spaces, opening doors, staying or departing….much of reality (or architecture) is designed to be the best fit for one group. Because it is a dominant reality, any group for whom the architecture does not work, it is the fault of the persons in that group – a individual problem that could be adjusted by assimilating….Any segment of an organized body that is 51% White is predominately white.


November 5, 2017 By dwayman

The economic inequality between white and black families is not only a grave injustice but it is not perceived by the whites.  Here is an article in the NY Times that says in part:

Psychologists at Yale recently asked hundreds of Americans these two questions:

For every $100 earned by an average white family, how much do you think is earned by an average black family?

$0-$25 – $26-$50 – $51-$75 – $76-$100 – $100+

For every $100 in wealth accumulated by an average white family, how much wealth has the average black family accumulated?

$0-$25 – $26-$50 – $51-$75 – $76-$100 – $100+

The Yale researchers suspected that many people would not get the answers right.

“I’m a person who studies inequality, who should really know how inequality looks,” said one of the psychologists, Michael Kraus, who researches the behaviors and beliefs that help perpetuate inequality. “And I look at the black-white gap, and I’m shocked at the magnitude.”

Black families in America earn just $57.30 for every $100 in income earned by white families, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. For every $100 in white family wealth, black families hold just $5.04.

If Mr. Kraus, of all people, is taken aback by these numbers, what are the odds that most Americans have a good understanding of them? The answer, he and his colleagues fear,