What's Tony Thinking

Against “Theological Reflection”

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September 15, 2021 — In my work on the field education aspect of seminary curricula I keep running into the phrase, “theological reflection.” Field educators try to teach “theological reflection,” that is to think theologically about what’s going on in “the field.” Often this is done by utilizing a case-studies approach. Look at an incident, event, encounter in ministry... Read More

Further Thoughts on Vaccine Resistance

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September 13, 2021 — We had a lovely group of friends here with us at our Wallowa Lake cabin last week. One of the topics that came up both in the group and in one-to-one conversations was how to think about and respond to those who adamantly resist vaccination. It turned out that at least several of us had... Read More

Put ‘Em in the Stocks

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September 11, 2021 — In the last year I’ve bit on two of the 2,000 emails scams to make their way into my in-box. One of those was alleged to be sent by Comcast/ Infinity telling me that my account was to be closed imminently if I did not update it as prescribed. This one did not come in... Read More

Twenty Years Later

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September 9, 2021 — I was surprised, the other day, to find on-line my Seattle Post-Intelligencer column written in the days immediately after 9/11. I guess everything is out there somewhere in cyberspace. Looking at that column again after all these years was one way — at least for me — to look back, to remember that time and... Read More

Flourishing Congregations: A Conversation

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September 8, 2021 — A couple weeks ago Richard Topping, the President of Vancouver School of Theology, taped an interview with me that is now available on the school’s You Tube channel. Here’s the link.  Richard begins by asking me what a “flourishing congregation” looks like. We move on to other topics including leadership, what’s important for new pastors... Read More

Labor Day 2021

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September 6, 2021 — Labor Day is a annual marker and milestone. Summer is winding down. Autumn is coming on. Friends and families gather for a final summer picnic or barbecue. Schools open. Footballs fly. Churches plan “homecoming Sunday,” and the start the “program year.” At least that’s the way it used to be. On this Labor Day, 2021,... Read More

Out of the Mountains

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September 5, 2021 — It was a great trip, twenty-five miles beginning at the Wallowa Lake Trailhead, coming out an Indian Crossing on the upper Imnaha River. As anticipated, it was cold — at least the first night, when we camped at Aneroid Lake. The water in my half-full water bottle froze solid, so I’m guessing it got down... Read More

Who Speaks for the Land?

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September 2, 2021 — Yesterday evening we attended, via Zoom, a “comment meeting” held by the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners. The subject was the proposed management plan for the “East Moraine.” In this photo the East Moraine (just about half of it visible) is the largely un-forested area on the left side of the Lake. For years it... Read More

This, That and Another Thing

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August 31, 2021 — Saints . . . I liked this from a commentary I am reading on the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews.  . . . ‘Saints,’ (one theologian described as) “figures out of the Christian past whose lives have been insufficiently researched.” A lot of “saints” getting researched these days. Among them, Marcus Whitman, the 19th... Read More

It’s Not About Religious Liberty

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August 30, 2021 — As infections from the Delta variant surge and medical facilities are again over-taxed, there’s an increasing drumbeat on the Religious Right to the effect that resistance to vaccination and to employer and government vaccination mandates is an issue of religious liberty. This is complete crap. You don’t get a “religious exemption” to endanger the lives... Read More