What's Tony Thinking

How To Take on Trump

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June 13, 2024 — How to take on Trump? A question for which few have had a good, or at least productive, answer. But I liked what Josh Shapiro, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, had to say in a recent interview. “We’re producing more energy than ever before in this nation. We have the strongest economy in the world,... Read More

Being Mortal

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June 12, 2024 — Our book group had a wrap-up session on our “Aging and Mortality” series last night. We invited everyone to share their own take-aways from our six books. What did you learn? What was comforting? Challenging? How might this effect your planning and decision-making? Before I share my own take-aways from the series, I would note... Read More

A Happy Time of the Year . . . But Not for Everyone

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June 9, 2024 — Yesterday there were two year-end granddaughter dance recitals for us to attend and enjoy. En route to the recitals, we ran into a pile of traffic which made no sense until we realized it was graduation day at the University of Washington. It is that time of the year: graduations, year-end concerts and recitals, class... Read More

Desacralizing Politics and the State

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June 6, 2024 — Shortly after the 2016 election I was in Dallas where I was working with a congregation in the midst of a pastoral transition. Over lunch several members of that church asked what I made of the recent election. I said, “Our politics have become too religious; and our religion too political.” By which I meant... Read More

The Age of Grievance

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June 3, 2024 — I have long appreciated Frank Bruni’s columns in the NYT. So I looked forward to reading his newest book, The Age of Grievance.  Bruni is a great writer who has come across to me as both wise and fair. And this book exhibits those qualities. It is also, I regret to say, disappointing. Why disappointing?... Read More

Finally . . . But Not Final

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May 30, 2024 — Finally, Donald Trump has been held to account. For so long, it has seemed that no matter what he did or said, it didn’t matter. There were no consequences. No downsides. “Character Counts!” Well, forget that. Now, it’s all on “The Deep State” and a “weaponized justice system.” Trump’s lead attorney, Todd Blanche, tried to... Read More

Too Much Mystery?

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May 27, 2024 — In my last post I wrote about the existence of God. The point was to say that if we think of God as a kind of thing, another object in the world or a being among beings, it is not God of which we speak. I argued that God is, to use Paul Tillich’s phrase,... Read More

Does God Exist?

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May 23, 2024 — Funny the things you remember. In the waning weeks of my ministry at Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, an older couple in the congregation, Kimiko and Bunichi (more than half the congregation were Japanese American), took us out to dinner. Kimmie had a question that she wanted to ask, but doing so was a... Read More

Bird Behavior

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May 21, 2024 — We’re in the Wallowa Mountains in Northeast Oregon, the ancestral homeland. It is our first, post-winter, visit of the year. We call it “opening up.” Water and power get turned on. We check for winter damage and rodent incursions. We clean gutters, mow the lawn and chop wood. Generally thaw the place out after a... Read More

A Commencement Address You Won’t Hear

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May 19, 2024 — ‘Tis the season for commencement addresses. Here’s one from a prof at University of Virginia who took on what is the pervasive ideology on elite college campuses these days. Professor Robert Parham first expresses a concern for the spiritual/ mental health of his students, who are deeply pessimistic about the world and the future and... Read More