What's Tony Thinking

The Protection of Children

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August 16, 2018 — The same day that news of the indictments against multiple dioceses of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania were announced we saw the movie about Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” More than 1,000 children were sexually abused and molested by scores of priests, according to the allegations. Moreover, there was a thorough and systematic... Read More

What Seattle Could Learn from “Our Towns”

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August 14, 2018 — I’ve reviewed Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Into the Heart of America by James and Deborah Fallows for The Christian Century. Here, I’ll adapt a few themes with Seattle in mind. Jim Fallows, a longtime editor at The Atlantic and for two years the chief speech writer for President Jimmy Carter, along with his wife, Deborah, a linguist and writer for Slate,... Read More

O, How the Mighty Have Fallen (again)

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August 12, 2018 — In 1990 an office of the United Church of Christ convened a gathering for younger senior ministers of larger churches. Part of the experience was a field trip to Willow Creek Church in a suburb of Chicago. Willow Creek had started in 1977, founded by Bill Hybels, a handsome, preppy-looking guy whose background was in... Read More

Freedom

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August 8, 2018 — This past spring I reviewed a book by the Notre Dame political scientist, Patrick Deneen, The Failure of Liberalism.  While I thought the book was somewhat over-stated, Deneen offered a perspective on freedom that I’ve continued to ponder. Deneen’s contention is that for moderns, shaped by the Enlightenment, freedom means freedom from external constraint or restraint.... Read More

Three Score and Ten

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August 5, 2018 — Today is my 70th birthday. “Three score and ten,” in biblical parlance. That used to seem so old. Now, well, not quite so much. Thanks to all of you who have shared good wishes on the occasion! All of our family are here, fifteen of us, at our Wallowa Lake cabin. Sitting at dinner last... Read More

Of Rivers and Fires

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July 29, 2018 — Last week we had a wonderful experience, rafting the Lower Salmon River in Idaho. The Salmon is the longest river without a dam in the U.S. It begins its 425 mile course in the Sawtooth Range of Idaho and flows to its confluence with the Snake River in Hells Canyon. Our four-day, three night trip... Read More

The Care and Feeding of Introverts

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July 27, 2018 — A three-year-old of my acquaintance had a birthday recently.  She was terribly excited about her upcoming party. She helped Mom make up the guest list. She assisted in the preparation of birthday cupcakes and party decorations.  She especially looked forward to all her guests coming with brightly wrapped packages — “birthday presents!” — she said,... Read More

The Happy Basket

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July 21, 2018 — Growing up my mother often said, “We just want you to be happy.” I am sure she meant it. But there was an unspoken as well. “Why can’t you just be happy?” Which wasn’t too far from, “Why can’t you just be normal?” She had on her hands a kid who was probably a little... Read More

Why Trump Prefers Putin

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July 17, 2018 — Sometimes the simplest explanations are the best. For a couple days now everyone has been wondering what in the world is up with Trump as he sides with Vladimir Putin against his own government. The simple explanation for Trump’s indifference is that what Putin and the Russian hackers did benefited Trump. Did Trump win because... Read More

“But It Won’t Make Any Difference”

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July 15, 2018 — The Fishtrap Summer Writers Conference at Wallowa Lake has concluded for another year. This year’s theme was “Living Upstream,” with a focus on environmental issues and writing. The keynote speaker was author and philosopher, Kathleen Dean Moore. She was impressive for the clarity of her thought and for the strength of her convictions. I’ve mentioned... Read More