What's Tony Thinking

Why Trump Prefers Putin

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July 17, 2018 — Sometimes the simplest explanations are the best. For a couple days now everyone has been wondering what in the world is up with Trump as he sides with Vladimir Putin against his own government. The simple explanation for Trump’s indifference is that what Putin and the Russian hackers did benefited Trump. Did Trump win because... Read More

“But It Won’t Make Any Difference”

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July 15, 2018 — The Fishtrap Summer Writers Conference at Wallowa Lake has concluded for another year. This year’s theme was “Living Upstream,” with a focus on environmental issues and writing. The keynote speaker was author and philosopher, Kathleen Dean Moore. She was impressive for the clarity of her thought and for the strength of her convictions. I’ve mentioned... Read More

The Lure of Water

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July 13, 2018 — You may have noticed that I’ve not posted a new blog for a while (possibly a relief!). That is partly accounted for by having been on a river rafting trip this week. A group of us took to the Grande Ronde River here in Northeastern Oregon. The name “Grande Ronde” is a reminder that this... Read More

Mr. Rogers and Mainline Protestantism

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July 8, 2018 — David Brooks wrote a lovely column the other day about a lovely man, Fred Rogers, longtime host of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” There’s a new movie out about Mr. Rogers, his life and work, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I’ve not seen it, but look forward to doing so. One of Brooks observations about Rogers, his world-view and... Read More

Travel: The Other Journey

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July 6, 2018 — It is summer and so the traditional season for travel. Of course, people travel now in all seasons. And not just the retired. Travel is huge. Like most people, I enjoy taking a trip. We had a splendid visit in Toronto last month. We look forward to a trip to North Wales, the English Lake... Read More

America — Beacon or Fortress?

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July 4, 2018 — Particularly since 9/11 professional sports has been drafting on patriotic sentiment. Wrapping the flag, the military, and sports all up together has been good for business. It used to be that you would have the National Anthem at the start of a ball game, then “Play Ball!” But now it’s also military color guards, “God... Read More

What’s Tony Reading?

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July 2, 2018 — The last time I wrote about books and current reading, I invited you readers to send recommendations of your own. I got two excellent suggestions. Thank you! These were Tara Westover’s Educated and Francisco Cantu’s When the Line Become a River: Dispatches from the Border. I read both and am happy to recommend them now to others. Cantu, whose... Read More

The Liberated Individual

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June 29, 2018 — Forty-five years ago I was a graduate student at the University of Oregon, doing a degree in European Cultural and Intellectual history. My master’s thesis was titled, “Andre Gide, Roger Martin du Gard and the Liberated Individual.” Heady, eh? Gide and Martin du Gard were both French novelists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth... Read More

Back in the Mythic World

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June 27, 2018 — We returned from Canada yesterday, after a week in Toronto. The transition was framed for me by an intriguing David Brooks column. In that June 22 column Brooks contrasts mythic and parable shaped moral visions. I admire Brooks for his willingness to think in large, even abstract, terms. This column, even with its somewhat grandiose title,... Read More

From Canada: Cut Flowers and Community

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June 23, 2018 — As mentioned in my last post, we are in Canada for a week. Toronto. We are staying in the Annex neighborhood near the University of Toronto where we lived in 2008 – 09 when I taught at Emmanuel College, a seminary of the United Church of Canada. The sketch here is a fairly typical home... Read More