Richard’s Short Guide to Heresies

1. Transconsubstantiantarianism – the desire to use Communion bread that’s easier to chew.

2. Sedevacantism (Empty Seatism) – sitting in the back pew and attempting to glean the same level or spiritual insights one might gleam from the front pew.

3. Harmoniousism – a belief that doing religious work (even interfaith activities) together results in strength and unity. While this is not a heresy, many people believe such “harmoniousists” to be heretics. They are wrong.

4. Aegyptia reditusism (Egyptian Returnism)-a heresy which teaches that life was better under Pharaoh, before Moses (sometimes also extrapolated to include Jesus of Nazareth). This heresy is easily identified by a desire to return to a time prior to God’s salvific intervention in our lives. Those who express this heresy have often forgotten the oppression, hardship, and pain marked by the era prior to God’s intervention with Moses and/or Jesus.

5. Usism – A uniquely North American phenomenon; the heresy that Jesus was (and still is) a white, English speaking Protestant.

6. John Wesleyanism – a heresy, common among Methodists, which attributes every ancient ecclesial practice, saying, or tradition to John Wesley.


Thoughtful Critiques of the Death Star

1. Shouldn’t it be larger?

2. Why is everything so fifty shades of grey?

3. Does “Death” really mean death?

4. Why are there no clocks on the walls?  Doesn’t evil require better timing?

5. Why is the Methodist Chaplain’s office next to Darth Vader’s pod?

The Rhetorical World of Ruby

1. I went on a ride in the back of the machine today. Wait, were you driving?

2. Monday is just Wednesday with a fresh coat of paint.


4. The box in question contained shoes for something called PROM. I cannot go to this PROM?


6. Why am I the only one who cares about intruders?

7. I watched the television program with the talking train again. I find Thomas strangely disconcerting. Find something else for me to watch.

8. I lost count of the number of others I saw on the ride. Six, four, a thousand? How long were we gone? 10 minutes? A week? Did I age?

9. All the good science fair projects were taken. Hurley and I are doing some thing with eggs. I wanted to show the expansion of galaxies post Big Bang.

10. You’re not going to the kitchen, are you?

Don’t Stick the Cotton Swab All the Way In Your Ear

There is one basic lesson in ear hygiene.  Do not stick the Q-tip completely in your ear!  The Q-tip isn’t a wax backhoe.  It’s designed for the less sensitive, easy to reach, exterior parts of the ear.  Despite this easy to remember maxim, we humans persist, do we not, jabbing our cotton swabs of death into battle against the brown foes of wax and gunk.

Q-tip rules are ones we learn at a very young age.  This is not the kind of thing society has deemed relevant for the syllabuses of 9th grade health classes. “Today we’ll be talking about how a man has a ‘you know what’ and a woman’s got a ‘thing a mabob’ and the proper method of cleaning your ears with a Q-tip.”  Ear cleaning with cotton swabs should be learned before we know anything about human reproduction, beer, flip-flops, constipation, colors, or osmosis.

On whatever day they taught Q-tip usage I was absent.  I blame my parents.  I was completely home schooled in cleanliness.  I was trying to get advance placement credit in toenail clipping and it wasn’t going well.  If memory serves, I might have skipped to prep for the “Big Toe Final”.  Honestly, I can’t be sure.   I did so much Tinactin in middle school.  How could someone who played no sports at all have athlete’s foot?

Why does it matter that I was absent from ear cleaning day at hygiene home school?  On Monday, I broke a cotton swab right off, plumb clean in my right ear.  I know what you’re thinking.  How did this happen?  Surely, someone with my good looks, bald head, and sock collection knows the one basic lesson of ear hygiene:  don’t stick the q-tip completely down your ear.  I got greedy and cheap.  I bought bootleg Chinese Q-tips on the black market.  Sure, I wanted to save a few bucks. But the narrow diameter of the swabs appealed to me.  They looked like they could bend further and go deeper than the usual, safety tested American models.  These babies could reach places where no cotton swab had ever swabbed before.

My right ear beckoned.  Before I knew it, I heard a snap.  I pulled the Q-tip out and the cotton was gone.  The plastic tubing was broken.  I was deaf as post.  Panic soon set in.

I called for my wife, using both a tone and term of endearment reserved for the direst emergencies.

“Baby, baby, get my Swiss Army knife army and pull out the tweezers!”

“Why?” she asked in a manner more casual than I thought the emergency deserved.

“I think I broke the Q-tip off in my ear and it’s headed to my brain, you got to get it out!”

“Don’t you know,” she said, “you’re not supposed to put it all the way down your ear?”

No, I was out that day.  Same thing happened when they gave out brains.  I thought they said trains and I feared locomotives.

You Are About To Die


I saw one of those “click bait” posts the other day “10 Ways to Know You’re About to Die”. I didn’t take the bait. It did pique my curiosity. What are the surefire signs you’re going to croak? Here’s my list. If you’re experiencing these things, one day, you might be about to die:

1. You are breathing.

2. You can see things.

3. You are talking.

4. You can smell stuff.

5. When the lights are off, you sense darkness.

6. You have eaten a meal recently.

7. You experience the need to sleep for eight or so hours a day.

8. People and their idiosyncrasies, sometimes annoy you.

9. You are thirsty.

10. You sneeze.

If you’ve experienced any of these ten conditions/symptoms you might, one day, be about to die. Call someone fast, tell them you’re still alive.

I Need To Be Found (Luke 15:1-10)


Gracious God,
We do not know we are lost.
Nor are we aware of a need to be found.
Our existence,
Defined by our soul’s incapacity to see,
Being marked only by our presence.
This cannot last.
I cannot remain unfound as
One wandering among nothing.
Yet, I am,
Lost and do not know.
A self-misplaced,
Joy ripped from Grace,
Waiting to be found,
Reunited with the forgotten,
By someone who cares enough,
To look.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-5 Ideas for the Church and Christians to Consider


1. When the church is on the side of the status quo, it will fail to be prophetic.  When the church becomes the status quo, it will collapse.

2. If you want the ends to justify the means (in church or other issue), do you find yourself siding with Pontius Pilate during Holy Week readings?  If so, doesn’t that seem strange?

3. If you’re not shocked by the Beatitudes read them again.  If these words don’t blow your mind, read them until they do.  Jesus is turning the world upside down.  Given the entrenched nature of our world (and if you take Jesus’ words seriously), the challenge of living up to what Jesus asks of us should be unsettling at best and frightening at worst.

4. It’s a mystery that we keep referring to God as mysterious. To say God works in mysterious ways borders on a cop out.  This is a way of saying, “We’d rather not talk about God”.  People work in ways aligned in their self-interests; this too is not mysterious.  We simply choose not to understand Jesus.  By this time, we should be starting to get Jesus.  I can spot Jesus’ actions from well over a mile away.  Jesus is so predictable he’s not allowed to play blackjack in Las Vegas.

5. God has a strong distaste for organized religion and ritualized religious practices.  To God, religion is a pretty miserable thing.  How do I know? Re-read Amos 5 and 1 Kings 18. In 1 Kings, God swallows whole, with fire, the sum total of accepted religious practice.  God will not be defined, even by our well-meaning, hand stitched, Cokesbury purchased idolatry.   Churches continue to create practices and traditions despite God’s open disgust and condemnation of our efforts.  We are doing things in God’s name God never said to do.  We are ignoring God’s desire to emphasize relationships and mercy over ritual and religious practice.    Why?  Relationships are hard.  Religion is easy.  Make relationships more important than religion.