What's Tony Thinking

Why I’m Okay with the Mueller Report

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March 25, 2019 — I should qualify my “I’m okay,” by saying that I’ve not read the report. But then few have. I have seen the Barr summary and listened to a fair bit of commentary. Yes, I’m disappointed. A real “smoking gun” would have been thrilling. But I was also dubious from the get-go that one would be... Read More

Death As a Power

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March 24, 2019 — Some of you who read this will have heard my sermon at Bob Almquist’s memorial service. In it I said that in the Bible death is understood in two different ways. On one hand, it is a natural process and part of life. I imagine that when Paul writes in Romans 14, “Whether we live... Read More

119 Year Old Cat Goes Sky Diving

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March 21, 2019 — Yes, that headline is definitely “National Enquirer” territory, or You Tube worthy. Alas no video. Our 17-year-old calico cat, a female named George, tried flying the other day. We actually missed it. Isn’t that how it always goes? You’re out mowing the lawn when he takes his first steps, or in Poland when she first... Read More

The Fundamental Conflict

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March 15, 2019 — As a teen, I found a “safe place” in the church. It wasn’t that there were no risks at all. We did the usual number of stupid, risky, things that kids of that age do. But in contrast to other settings — school, scouts, sports — the church was a place I experienced as emotionally... Read More

How Did I Miss This Book (Until Now)?

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March 12, 2019 — Have you had this experience: you read a book that has been around awhile that is so good and so up your alley that you can’t imagine how you had missed it? Blaine Harden, once a reporter with the Washington Post and now a Seattle-based writer, published A River Lost: The Life and Death of the... Read More

One Thing You and I Can Do About Trump

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March 10, 2019 — Assuming that neither you nor I are going to declare our candidacy for President, and that we have not yet committed hearts, minds and money to one of the many who have, is there anything you and I can do about Trump? Lately, I been reading a novel/ mystery by Philip Kerr, A Man Without Breath. It... Read More

Is “Social Justice” Killing Synagogues and Churches?

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March 8, 2019 — Joel Kotkin, a prolific writer who teaches urban studies at Chapman University, argues that it is. That is, “social justice” is killing synagogues and churches.  Kotkin’s article at Tablet is wide-ranging, touching on some of the issues that have gathered around Minnesota Congressional Representative, Ilhan Omar. Kotkin’s article is especially interesting because it doesn’t focus primarily... Read More

The Way Death Wakens Us

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March 5, 2019 — On Monday morning we were among the many to find a troubling Facebook post referencing the death of Bob Almquist. What? How could this possibly be? Surely this must be some kind of social media hoax. Bob was one part of Bob and Marcia Almquist, a couple dear to countless people across the country and... Read More

You’re Too Hard on Yourself, Part 2

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March 3, 2019 — Not long ago I wrote a piece here titled “You’re Too Hard on Yourself.” This post continues that theme, drawing on a recent meditation of Fr. Richard Rohr. Shout out to colleague, Katy Lloyd, for bringing it to our attention. Before I get into Rohr’s meditation, however, I feel I should acknowledge that my last... Read More

Jeremiah and the News of the Week

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March 1, 2019 — The prophet Jeremiah makes the following observation: “The human heart is devious (deceitful) above all else; it is perverse, who can understand it.” (Jeremiah 17: 9) Jeremiah was never accused of being upbeat. This week, I wrote a piece on how retired clergy too often become inappropriately involved mucking around in the life of the... Read More