What's Tony Thinking

Calling a Thing What It Is

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October 26, 2020 — Heidi Neumark, the wonderful Lutheran pastor and author, is out with a new book, Sanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump. Neumark was twice our guest for the Festival of Preaching Northwest. Her’s were some of the most memorable sermons at those Festivals. Recently she was interviewed about the new book on the podcast I’ve mentioned... Read More

Sharing a Dream

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October 24, 2020 — Last night I had this dream: I was a younger pastor serving a smallish church. The congregation was meeting in something that looked like a lodge at a camp. Off the main room, where the congregation was gathered, were several smaller rooms. In one room were older kids, in another, closest to the main room,... Read More

Round Two Goes To?

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October 23, 2020 — Post Alley asked its regular contributors to weigh in immediately following last night’s second Presidential debate. You can see my contribution, along with that of a half-dozen others at that site. The first debate had set the bar so low that round two seemed, well, almost normal. As such, it probably won’t change much. The... Read More

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

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October 22, 2020 — These last days before the election seem to be pushing the dial from urgent to frantic to completely bonkers — at least if my email in-box is any indication. I do sometimes wonder if, after the election, I’ll get any emails at all — given that the number from candidates and election-related causes seem many... Read More

The Blessing

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October 19, 2020 — Yesterday’s worship from Bethel UCC in White Salmon, Washington, where our daughter Laura is the pastor, concluded with the video, “The U.K. Blessing.” The recording features singers from a host of churches across the United Kingdom, and reflects the diversity of those predominantly evangelical congregations. The original song comes from Elevation Worship, the worship band... Read More

Prairies and Gratitude

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October 18, 2020 — In her “Sunday Prayers” post Nadia Bolz-Weber comments that these days it’s easy for her (and many of us I suspect) to be fearful and angry (worried too), but gratitude may come harder. Here’s a nice bit from her musings. “And let’s be honest, it’s so much easier for me to long for what I... Read More

On Lowering Our Expectations of Politics

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October 15, 2020 — One of the reasons I am actually enthusiastic about Joe Biden’s candidacy is that no one is likely to confuse him with the Messiah, or a Superhero, or even an exciting charismatic leader. Nope. Joe Biden is a decent human being. He is experienced at politics and governance. This, in contrast to both Trump and... Read More

I Would Plant a Tree

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October 14, 2020 — In the lecture I gave last Saturday, I cited Martin Luther and John Kennedy as examples of an “Advent ethic.” Each when asked what they would do today if they knew that tomorrow was the end said, “I would plant a tree.” Perhaps they were whistling in the dark. Or maybe they were confessing their faith... Read More

Early Morning

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October 13, 2020 — It’s early now, just past 5:00. I love the early morning time. The quiet. The dark becoming light. The shapes emerging out of the shadows. What will this new day be, what will it bring? Years ago, I committed to memory Emerson’s lines for ending a day and beginning a new one. “Finish each day... Read More

Follow Up on Today’s Lecture

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October 10, 2020 — I was pleased with how my lecture for Desert Garden UCC and their new lecture series went this morning. On their end they did a great job of organizing and producing the thing. A nice tribute to the former pastor, Sam Sawitski, who died unexpectedly in July 2019. Here’s the link if you wish to... Read More