What's Tony Thinking

Something Terrific For Good Friday

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April 18, 2019 — I have mentioned, several times, the terrific book by the Brit, Francis Spufford, Unapologetic: Why Despite Everything, Christianity can still make Surprising Emotional Sense.  Here’s a bit from Spufford that distills a whole lot about the paradox that is “Good” Friday. He hones in on a couple of key points. One, that the form of Jesus’... Read More

Preaching on Good Friday and Easter is Challenging

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April 17, 2019 — I have fellow preachers in mind with this post. Although others may want to “listen in.” Those of you in the non-preacher, listening-in category might imagine that preaching on Easter and during Holy Week is something we preachers live for. The pageantry, the symbolism, the crowds (more on Easter than Good Friday), the music, the... Read More

Notre Dame Is Burning

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April 15, 2019 — The destruction of Notre Dame invites a frenzy of interpretation. Symbol? Allegory? Metaphor? Act of God? What does it mean? But before any of that — how very sad! For Paris and Parisians, for France and the French, for Europe and for us all. A  treasure lost. France, Paris — we grieve with you. We... Read More

Buttigieg v. Pence

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April 13, 2019 — I’ve been very intrigued by Pete Buttigieg, aka “Mayor Pete.” While it’s true that it’s a big jump from Mayor of South Bend to the White House, the electorate pretty well set aside prior relevant experience as a criterion with the election of the incumbent. Besides, being a big city mayor may well translate more... Read More

Is Jesus God?

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April 10, 2019 — Holy Week coming up. Do we really buy the outrageous, impossible claims of this faith? One of the strangest, head-scratchers is the claim that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. How can you be fully one thing and fully another? Rationally you can’t. But as my buddy, Rick Floyd, recently reminded readers... Read More

Dealing With Jerks (Without Becoming One)

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April 9, 2019 — Spotted this helpful piece on dealing with jerks, and wanted to pass it along. Pastors and lay leaders all too often find themselves dealing with people behaving badly. For some it is a temporary bit of bad-acting. But not infrequently it has become, for others, their modus operandi. And, too often, churches let them get away with it... Read More

Maybe Shame Ain’t All Bad?

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April 7, 2019 — The popular author and speaker Brene Brown has taught us that there’s a difference between guilt and shame. “Guilt,” says Brown is “feeling bad about making a mistake. Shame is feeling that you are a mistake.” Guilt in this understanding is a useful thing, a sign that you’ve done something wrong and need to deal... Read More

Writing in the Wild and more

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April 4, 2019 — “Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.” So wrote Anton Chekov. “Show the reader everything, tell them nothing.” Hemingway. It’s a cardinal rule for writing poetry and fiction. “Show don’t tell.” That will be our theme and learning focus for my next “Writing in the Wild”... Read More

Immigration, A Few Things Worth Knowing

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April 3, 2019 — Do you ever listen to Thom Hartmann? His show is carried in the Seattle area on weekday mornings on KCBS (91.3) Progressive radio, I think it is called. Hartmann was focusing on immigration today, pointing out the following: we have laws on our books that prohibit employers from hiring non-citizens. Canada has the same. Canada,... Read More

Dying Seattle, Part Two

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April 1, 2019 — One observation made by Jim and Deborah Fallows in their 2017 book, Our Towns, A Ten Thousand Mile Journey into the Heart of America, has haunted me. After visiting scores of American cities and towns the Fallows observed that to the extent local debates mirrored the framework and polarization of national politics, a municipality was likely to... Read More