Help Us Restock the Little Free Pantry

This coming Sunday (April 7, 2019) is the first Sunday of the month, the Sunday we collect items for the little free pantry. Here are a few essential items if you want to help out:

  • canned fruit
  • canned vegetables
  • canned soup
  • canned meat
  • cereal
  • breakfast and granola bars
  • macaroni and cheese
  • ramen
  • spaghetti (and spaghetti sauce)
  • peanut butter and jelly
  • crackers (especially saltine crackers—they’re good for putting peanut butter and jelly on)
  • add water only pancake mix and syrup
  • fruit snacks
  • canned milk

A few final encouragements: 1. peanut butter, jelly, and crackers go really fast; 2. Ask yourself if you would eat what you are bringing; and 3. remember that the Little Free Pantry is, well, little.

Dave Ramsey vs. Jesus Christ

Jenny and I have taken Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” It helped us a great deal, and it made a lasting change in our lives. But there were parts I was uncomfortable with because he encouraged people to move beyond good stewardship and to aim for great wealth. This came to mind recently because Dave tweeted:

“If you do rich people stuff, eventually you will be rich. If you do poor people stuff, you will eventually be poor.” [1]

I don’t think it’s that simple. Certainly, if you do “rich people stuff” like being born into wealth and privilege or inheriting a fortune, you will be rich. But the world is filled with too much inequity for everyone to be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps—especially since some people don’t have boots. Furthermore, the above statement seems to imply that the financial state we find ourselves in is the financial state we’ve earned, even if that were true it would still be problematic. Long before twitter, Jesus Christ said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20, NRSV)

and a few verses later,

“But Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6:24, NRSV)

Wealth is not one of the goals of the Christian life. We are called to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us, but storing up treasure for ourselves in this life is not the way of Jesus Christ. We are instead called to be good stewards that we might be good Samaritans.

[1] [1] James Martin. Twitter post, March 7, 2019, 8:02 a.m.,

Biblical Pronunciation Guide

One of the lectionary Bible commentaries I consult, The Lector’s Guide and Commentary has a pronunciation guide for every lectionary reading. Here are the words for Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18:

Abram (AY-bruhm)
Chaldeans (kal-DEE-uhnz)
Damascus (duh-MAS-kuhs)
Eliezer (el’-ih-EE-zer)
Euphrates (yoo-FRAY-teez)
heifer (HEH-fer)
Ur (ER) [1]

I imagine it’s very helpful to some, but I just found it hilarious that the second to last one was listed and thought I would share.

[1] J. Ted Blakley, A Lector’s Guide and Commentary to the Revised Common Lectionary (Wichita, Kansas: St. Mark’s Press, 2010), 105.

This Really Ticks Me Off

The horror movie “Us” is out. I Haven’t seen it, and I don’t intend to see it. But apparently, it contains a reference to Jeremiah 11:11, which reads: “Therefore, thus says the Lord, assuredly I am going to bring disaster upon them that they cannot escape; though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them” (NRSV). The use of this verse in a horror movie is is bad Biblical exegesis. The verse needs to be read in the context of the passage it’s found in, the passage needs to be read in the context of the book of Jeremiah as a whole, and the book of Jeremiah needs to be read in the context of the Old Testament. But you don’t have to do all that (though I would encourage you to do so). All you need to know is that Jeremiah 29:11 reads “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (29:11 also needs to be interpreted in context, but shares a context with 11:11.)

P.S. I didn’t find this out because I was trying to learn more about the movie, I found this out by reading an article on Slate titled “So What’s Jeremiah 11:11, Anyway?” That’s very effective click bait for a pastor.

Resolution Update

Dear Friends,

We have been overwhelmed by the response to John’s resolution. We expected 300 supporters total not more than 300 supporters in less than 24 hours. We are unable to keep up. I thank those who have already responded, but we would please ask you to respond again through this Google Form which will automatically tabulate the results. If you cannot, we’ll migrate your information for you. I apologize for the inconvenience. Please feel free to share the link below.

Blessings, John Collins


Annual Conference Resolution

In response to the 2019 General Conference, I’ve written a Resolution for the Great Plains Annual Conference. You can find it here: Clergy and any members of any local church in the Great Plains Annual Conference (that’s us) can sign it. Just drop me a line at I’m doing this manually instead of on a site to try and make sure that everyone who signs up is in the Great Plains Annual Conference. But with over 300 responses already we’re a little bogged down. You can help by clearly listing which of the following applies to you: 1. Clergy Member of the Conference; 2. Lay Member of the Conference; 3. Member of a Local United Methodist Church (if so please include the name of the church, and the town/city and state). Thank you for your support.