Cynthia B. Astle

Leaders of many faiths led a gathering in support of Muslims and against extremism and religious prejudice.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Folkerth

Interfaith Gathering Rallies Support for Muslims

Led by a Muslim woman and a United Methodist clergyman, more than 400 believers gathered Jan. 25 to show support for their Muslim neighbors and to stand against extremism and Islamophobia. more »

Jan 26, 2015 1:29 PM UMC Global Nature 1 Comments

The now-unclassified cover of the CIA Torture Report.

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What the Hell Kind of Country Do We Live In? (Part 2)

The revelations of torture -- "enhanced interrogation" -- by CIA operatives underscores this season's need for Christians to witness in word and deed to God's unconditional love, writes Cynthia B. Astle. more »

Dec 12, 2014 10:02 AM Views from a Ridge 4 Comments

My Offensive Library

A Facebook meme and some empty-nester downsizing lead Cynthia B. Astle to choose favorite books from her "offensive library." more »

Nov 20, 2014 3:05 PM Views from a Ridge 2 Comments

Bishops' Call to Prayer Takes Profound Love and Strength

Contrary to many views that condemn the Council of Bishops' call to prayer on the UMC's human sexuality issue, Cynthia B. Astle finds that the bishops are pleading for some of the most profound and difficult Christian behaviors. more »

Nov 9, 2014 9:50 AM Human Sexuality 5 Comments

Image from Julie Wood's YouTube video about the impact of United Methodism's anti-LGBT policies on her son, Ben.

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Hopeful Signs Emerge from Sexuality Panel

The second of three human sexuality discussions sponsored by the Connectional Table -- live streamed via webcast -- showed some signs of hope for the UMC beyond entrenched arguments, writes veteran observer Cynthia B. Astle. more »

Nov 1, 2014 2:14 PM Human Sexuality 2 Comments

Image from Julie Wood's YouTube video about the impact of United Methodism's anti-LGBT policies on her son, Ben.

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Mother's Video About UMC's Anti-LGBT Stance Captures Online Attention

A video by Julie Wood describes how a misguided youth worker used United Methodism's anti-LGBT stance to bully her teen-age son, who ultimately killed himself. more »

Oct 26, 2014 8:27 AM Issues 1 Comments

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Trade Rules of Engagement for Spiritual Discernment

The latest skirmish in United Methodism's all-out war with itself shows how we need to shift the debate from our personal rules of engagement to collective spiritual discernment. more »

Oct 13, 2014 2:34 PM Perspectives 1 Comments

Sonia Vargas-Maldonado is commissioned as a United Methodist church and community worker by Bishop Bruce Ough (left). The April 29 commissioning took place at Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in Tampa, Fla., site of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference.

UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

What's in a Place? Not So Much, and Yet Plenty

In leaving New York City for Atlanta, the General Board of Global Ministries' move may also signal that United Methodist leaders are working to equalize authority across the denomination's global membership. more »

Oct 7, 2014 10:55 AM UMC Global Nature

Eleanor Roosevelt was key to the adoption of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Who Will Lead Us?

The new Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelt family inspires a meditation on the nature and need for leadership in church and society. more »

Sep 17, 2014 5:25 PM Perspectives

The Rev. William K. McElvaney

Photo Courtesy of Eric Folkerth

Remembering a Spiritual Giant

The Rev. Bill McElvaney, who died Aug. 24, was a pastor, educator and prophet for whom social justice was an integral part of Christian discipleship. more »

Aug 26, 2014 10:49 AM Views from a Ridge

Photo Illustration by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Robin Williams' Death Once Could Have Been Mine

Like the late Robin Williams, the constant threat of depression haunts her days, but her faith helps her manage the disease, writes Insight coordinator Cynthia B. Astle. more »

Aug 15, 2014 12:47 PM Views from a Ridge

A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., has been the site of plenary sessions for the New England Annual Conference

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College's LGBT Exemption Request Spurs New England Conference Concerns

The New England Annual Conference is actively seeking a new location for its yearly sessions after the president of its longtime site, Gordon College, requested a religious exemption from President Obama's order barring LGBT workplace discrimination. more »

Jul 21, 2014 4:59 PM Issues 1 Comments

St. John of the Cross, a Spanish mystic shown in this painting by Zurbaran, wrote of the soul's struggle toward union with God in "The Dark Night of the Soul," a similar sense of spiritual desolation that the Rev. Charles Moore seemed to indicate in notes written prior to his death.

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A Soul's Dark Night

The Rev. Charles Moore's tragic death by self-immolation makes us stop and consider a confounding principle of Christian faith: sacrificing one's life for a seemingly higher purpose, writes Cynthia B. Astle. more »

Jul 17, 2014 3:00 PM Views from a Ridge 1 Comments

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Why the Hobby Lobby Ruling Spells Disaster for Christians

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that Hobby Lobby can claim a religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act is in reality a major blow to religious freedom, writes Cynthia B. Astle. more »

Jul 1, 2014 9:31 AM Perspectives 7 Comments

The Rev. Frank Schaefer (right) and one of his advisers, Dr. Dorothee Benz, speak to media June 20 after his appeal hearing was completed. Four days later the appeals panel restored Schaefer's clergy credentials.

Photo by Melissa Lauber, Baltimore-Washington Conference, for UMNS

Appeals Panel Restores Frank Schaefer's Clergy Status

In a unanimous decision, a jurisdictional appeals committee has restored the Rev. Frank Schaefer to full ordained ministry after he was defrocked six months ago for conducting a same-sex marriage for his son. more »

Jun 24, 2014 8:32 PM Issues 3 Comments

Scotsmen were known for taunting their enemies by lifting their kilts and shaking their naked buttocks at them. That's not the way Christians should act toward one another.

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Bridling Tongues and Covering Backsides

In hopes of fostering a conversation that produces more light than heat across The United Methodist Church, UM Insight announces stronger policy enforcement – rejecting uncivil comments that demean others. more »

Jun 10, 2014 10:03 AM Views from a Ridge 4 Comments

In an introductory video, Judi Kenaston (left), chair of the General Commission on the General Conference, and Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce Ough explain the goals of the new UMC website on the church's global nature

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Worldwide UMC Nature Website Set Up

The Connectional Table and the General Commission on the General Conference have set up a new website for discussion about the worldwide nature of The United Methodist Church in advance of the 2016 General Conference. more »

Jun 10, 2014 8:58 AM 2 Comments

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Resistance to Schism Explodes Across U.S. Methodism

United Methodist annual conferences and individual leaders are pushing back against recent schismatic and extremist messages, while in some quarters strong stands are taken for and against acceptance of LGBT rights. more »

Jun 6, 2014 10:39 AM Issues 1 Comments

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IRD Angers Ex-UMR Subscribers with 'Renegade Bishop' Mailing

The Institute on Religion & Democracy's UMAction committee angered dozens of United Methodists by using a subscriber list purchased from a defunct church newspaper to send a letter targeting a "renegade bishop." more »

May 16, 2014 5:40 PM Issues 5 Comments

These four United Methodist-related universities appear on a U.S. Department of Education list of 55 schools nationwide being investigated for possible civil rights violations regarding complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence.

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UMC-related Universities Under Federal Scrutiny

Four United Methodist-related universities are among 55 institutions nationwide being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education for possible civil rights violations regarding sexual harassment or violence. more »

May 2, 2014 1:19 PM Issues