What's Tony Thinking

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

What Is the Gospel?

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February 27, 2019 — (I’m working on a new book, Letters for Young Ministers. Here is an abridged version of one selection.) At least sometimes, so called “dumb questions” turn out to be the very best questions of all. “What is the gospel?” might be one of those. Okay, so “gospel” means “good news,” but what is “the good news”? I... Read More

The Church and Sex

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February 25, 2019 — The last week has been a big one for the church and sex. In Rome, Pope Francis convened a summit on clergy sexual abuse. Concurrently, a tell-all book, In the Closet of the Vatican, about the gay culture of the upper echelons of the Roman Catholic Church, was published. The Southern Baptist denomination was having a come-to-Jesus... Read More

Speaking Honestly of Depression

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February 22, 2019 — Michael Gerson is a columnist for the Washington Post and a frequent commentator on the PBS Newshour. He is also a person of faith, a Christian. Recently Gerson spoke publicly of his own experience of serious clinical depression. He did so in a sermon delivered at the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C. You can... Read More