Cynthia B. Astle

The death of her beloved mother-in-law, Evelyn Grebe, resurrects the age-old questions about the deepest mysteries of life and death, writes Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

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United Methodism's current debates over who has broken or kept "the covenant" ignore the most compelling covenant of all -- our baptismal vows, writes Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

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The convergence of Pope Francis' U.S. visit with the death of religion expert Phyllis Tickle underscores something significant for fractious United Methodists, namely Jesus' call to love the unlovable, writes Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

Views from a Ridge

Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia showed brotherly love for a Catholic group devoted to LGBT inclusion when the group was refused entry to a Catholic event visited by Pope Francis. Read more

Advocating Justice 2 Comments


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The eruption of violence in Baltimore in the wake of the police custody death of Freddie Gray prompts a response from UM Insight coordinator Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

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Open for Service

Open for

The furor over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration – seen by critics as granting businesses license to discriminate against LGBTQ people – reflects The United Methodist Church's own dilemma over its anti-LGBTQ stances. Read more

Advocating Justice 3 Comments

Emotional First Aid

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A TED talk by psychologist Guy Winch awakens Insight coordinator Cynthia B. Astle to the United Methodist Church's need for "emotional first aid." Read more

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Resistance to the Traditional Plan is taking shape in formal statements, open letters and proposed annual conference resolutions. Read more

General Conference 2019 6 Comments

A friend's departure from the UMC as a result of GC2019 leaves Cynthia B. Astle wondering how many more United Methodists are "done" with the church, and if they'll ever return. Read more

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UPDATED: More congregations, clergy and individuals are publicly rejecting the Traditional Plan and vowing support for LGBTQIA people. Read more


Resistance and rejection are continuing to build against the Traditional Plan adopted by the 2019 General Conference. Read more


While progressive United Methodists wait for a phoenix to rise from the ashes of St. Louis, jubilant traditionalists seem unaware of their own mortal wounds. Read more

Views from a Ridge 36 Comments

Plans that went awry en route to St. Louis reveal a disturbing truth about this General Conference: United Methodists are kept away from decision-makers by accident of venue, or by leadership's design. Read more


The Judicial Council has agreed to the Council of Bishops' request to review the constitutionality of a portion of Maxie Dunnam's petition presenting the Modified Traditional Plan and Lonnie Brooks' petition eliminating "just resolution." Read more


What will happen to legacies of the Rev. Bruce Weaver and layman Philip Susag – and countless others like them – if the church they both loved and served breaks apart in St. Louis? Read more

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Louisiana clergywomen's "Strands of Unity" display of pearls as prayer goes viral across the United Methodist connection. Read more

A Way Forward 2 Comments

Unpacking suitcase

Eric Basir

Cynthia B. Astle has decided not to bring to St. Louis thoughts and emotions that will keep her from seeing God working at the special General Conference. Read more

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The coming 2019 General Conference will start with a day of prayer, but its focus ought to be on dispelling the mistrust that pervades The United Methodist Church, writes Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

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What is the true authority of scripture, its lists of rules or its witness to God's heart for reconciliation? asks Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

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We face a direct existential threat from climate change this Advent, and our seasonal reflections must turn us toward radical action to stop it, writes Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

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After a breakdown in negotiations, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño announced that a lawsuit has been filed by the California-Nevada Annual Conference against Glide Memorial UMC to reclaim its downtown San Francisco property. Read more

Local Church 3 Comments

Sharing with NASA's Martian lander the name of this online journal gives Cynthia B. Astle an opportunity to ponder the importance of their similar missions: to find "new things" of both science and God. Read more

Views from a Ridge

October wasn't all pipe bombs and horrific shootings. There were also moments of grace. Read more

Local Church

In the wake of the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue, Cynthia B. Astle reflects on the many ways her life has entwined with Jewish friends. Read more

Views from a Ridge

Observe the differences between the ways that two prophetic pastors were treated when speaking truth to power, and you'll understand what's happening with race in America, writes Cynthia B. Astle. Read more

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Dr. Dale McConkey applies principles of sociology research and John Wesley's theological method to The United Methodist Church's division over homosexuality in a new book with a fact-based focus. Read more

Local Church 2 Comments

Pisgah United Methodist Church is preparing to serve its Florence, S. C., community in the wake of one of the nation's worst police shootings that took place barely a mile from the church campus. Read more

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