What's Tony Thinking

Show the Hell Up Right Now

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September 21, 2020 — The Lutheran pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, posted a prayer on Sunday morning which I thought was pretty great. Maybe it will speak to you too. Here it is, in part: “A lot of us are grieving. Actually, all of us are grieving: lost friends, lost kin, lost homes, lost income, lost connection to others, lost health.... Read More

The Phases of Disaster

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September 18, 2020 — I heard from a friend the other day who wrote, “I am ready for this pandemic to be over!” My no-doubt helpful pastoral response, “Who isn’t?” A week ago Sunday, September 13, marked 6 months since the U.S. officially declared the COVID pandemic a national emergency. Alas, there’s no end in sight. Two folks at... Read More

Our Trump Addiction

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September 17, 2020 — Lately I’ve found myself thinking about Marianne Williamson. Remember her? She was among the 20 odd candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019. But she was different. Not only because she wasn’t a politician. But because she saw our current situation as something more than a political problem. She saw it as a spiritual... Read More

Clergy Well-Being

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September 15, 2020 — Next week I’m doing a two-day, on-line seminar with a dozen pastors of the United Church of Canada. All are located in British Columbia. It’s a self-organized group. Besides their denominational pedigree, they also have in common that all are under 40 years of age. They initiated the idea and invited me to give leadership.... Read More

It’s Not Just Climate Change

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September 13, 2020 — As frightening fires rage in California, Oregon and Washington, it is tempting to fit this issue into the standard polarized, blue/ red, narrative that controls so much of our thinking and acting. One side says, it’s all about climate change. The longer fire season and higher overall temperatures on planet Earth give us these horrendous... Read More

Before God

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September 12, 2020 — The epistle reading for this Sunday, Romans 14: 1 – 12, includes several verses that I especially love. Here they are: “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we... Read More

Addendum to Earlier Blog on “Fires”

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September 10, 2020 — I did the painting on the right, thinking of it as a dawn scene with fog lying in the lowlands. But now, after looking at photos from western Oregon and the fires there, it is looking more and more like a scene from the current wildfires. How harrowing those photos are. Several from Bush Pasture... Read More

Fires, Then and Now

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September 10, 2020 — I recently finished Ivan Doig’s wonderful novel English Creek. Set in Montana in the summer of 1939, it’s a coming of age story. Nearly 15-year-old Jick McCaskill is on the cusp of manhood, close but not quite there. His father is the chief ranger of “The Two” National Forest. A wildfire rages as the novel ends. Jick... Read More

Losers, Suckers and A Morality of Grace

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September 8, 2020 — I won’t belabor whether or not Trump called those who lost their lives in military service “losers” or “suckers,” though I think he probably did. Nor am I going to spend time lamenting yet another Trump outrage. Whoever said, “there’s no bottom with this guy” had it right. What I want to bring up is... Read More

From the Wallowas

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September 6, 2020 — Lots of people around, here in the Wallowas, for this Labor Day Weekend. At the start of this summer anxiety about the local economy and tourist season ran high because of COVID. Local leaders were pressuring Oregon Governor, Kate Brown, to “open up now.” (At that time Brown was the subject of a recall effort... Read More