About Stephen Rankin

Professionally I am an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I currently serve as University Chaplain at Southern Methodist University. Personally I am married to Joni and we have four grown children and four grandchildren. You can find my personal thoughts on this site, as well as on twitter at @stephenwrankin.

Another View of the Pence/Billy Graham Rule

Having read a few opinions about the hoopla over Vice-President Mike Pence’s application of the so-called Billy Graham rule, I’d like to complicate this picture with a story from my own experience. But first: I firmly believe in and actively support women in ordained ministry and in women operating in any walk of life to […]

Reclaiming and Re-re-defining “Evangelical”

The word “evangelical” has become fraught with all kinds of difficulties.  This is a sad state of affairs because it is a very good word.  Nonetheless, a significant number of Christians who by their beliefs fit the term have stopped using it as a self-reference, preferring “classical” or “orthodox” or even “traditional” or maybe the […]

The Health Care Challenge and God’s Action

For some time our Sunday School class has been exploring beliefs about how God’s action intersects with human actions.  Readers of the Bible know that it’s pretty easy to see God’s action there, because on every page God acts.  But moving beyond the Bible to what I might call “mere history” makes this question more […]

Winning Strength Out of Weakness

(I preached the following sermon at the annual Lifewatch Service [lifewatch.org] yesterday in Simpson Chapel in the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC.  It is based on the scripture text, Hebrews 11:32-28.)   The Apostle Paul, in the fourth chapter of Second Corinthians, summarizes the experience he and his traveling companions had as witnesses and […]

What Makes Someone An Intellectual?

I had a stimulating phone conversation with a friend today.  She recounted that an acquaintance of hers, hearing a talk I gave some time back, described it as “not very intellectual.”  As is often the case, the conversation has sent me down the pathway of pondering.  What makes someone an intellectual? Let’s start with the […]

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