What's Tony Thinking

An Alternative to Annihilation

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July 18, 2019 — I’m sitting in the outdoor dining area of the Lyle Hotel (Lyle, Washington). For the last three days I’ve been painting a downstairs apartment into which our daughter, Laura, is moving as she begins her ministry at Bethel Congregational, UCC, in White Salmon, Washington, 10 miles west of here. With me in the dining area... Read More

Trump’s Evil Genius

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July 16, 2019 — Trump’s evil genius has been on full display of late. On one level his attacks on the four members of Congress known as the Squad has been racist. The variety of squirrely racism that delights his base and sends dog whistles to white supremacists, while still allowing him to to say, “What me racist?” But... Read More

From the Wallowas: Bears and Bearing One Another’s Burdens

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July 15, 2019 — We had a bear in the neighborhood yesterday evening. It was the last evening of a visit of ten dear friends. We were sitting around our campfire. when one exclaimed, “That’s a bear!” Sure enough, a handsome cinnamon bear was rounding a cabin about two hundred feet from us. I found it thrilling. It isn’t... Read More

Living from Hope or Fear

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July 8, 2019 — This is the kind of preacher-ly question or sermon title that I don’t like because the “right answer” is so obvious. Nevertheless, I have found it to be an important, even a critical question, at different junctures in my life. “Okay, Tony, are you going to live from your fears or your hopes?” Are you... Read More

A Ranch Rodeo and Trump’s 4th

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July 3, 2019 — Last weekend we went to the Ranch Rodeo in Joseph. Teams of ranch hands from thirteen area ranches competed.  Later this month, the town will host a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Rodeo for the annual “Chief Joseph Days.” What’s the difference between the two? The Ranch Rodeo is working cowboys and cowgirls (10 of... Read More

More on Dems and Leading Change

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July 1, 2019 — Several anti-Trump moderate to conservatives followed up on the Democratic Party Debates last week worrying that the Democrats had let themselves be pushed too far to the left in their first big turn in the national spotlight. One was David Brooks who pleaded with Democrats to give him someone who he could vote for. Meaning,... Read More

The Democrat’s Debates: My Take

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June 28, 2019 — I did quick responses to each debate for Post Alley (postalley.com) I am re-running them here as a blog. Each night four of us watched together from out here in Wallowa County in northeastern Oregon, so I had the benefit of group conversation and shared perceptions. Round 1: Who Won? Who’s Done? An unscientific poll... Read More

The Work of Aging

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June 25, 2019 — I was hiking recently with a friend who had turned eighty this spring. I asked how that felt. “I don’t recommend it,” she said. I chuckled. “What’s the alternative?,” “Only one,” she said, “and I don’t recommend it either.” It was the kind of dark humor shared by those in the third third of life.... Read More

Being Present

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June 21, 2019 — It’s harder than it sounds. Being present.  I think of a biblical story. Luke, chapter 10, v. 38 and following. A story of two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha and Mary are entertaining a guest — Jesus. Martha busies herself with all the work of hospitality and meal preparation. There’s lots to do. Really. And... Read More

The Rhythm of the Seasons

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June 18, 2019 — In one of his prayers Reinhold Niebuhr praised God for “the rhythm of the season, a sign of thy providence.” This Friday is the summer solstice. Many seem to have anointed the Memorial Day weekend as summer’s beginning, but Friday’s the day. In Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood they are traditionalists, holding the Fremont Summer Solstice parade... Read More