What's Tony Thinking

From the Lake District

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September 21, 2018 — We’ve spent the last week in England’s Lake District, famous for its writers, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey and, somewhat later, Beatrix Potter. But of course the real draw, for the poets too, is the landscape. High crags and steep ridges above sheep-speckled moors. In the valleys multiple lakes. We were based in... Read More

A Timely Reminder of the Obvious

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September 18, 2018 — A departure from reports of our travels . . . Dr. Johnson (quoted in my first post from Skye) once commented, “Never be afraid to remind people of the obvious; it is what they have most forgot.” Frank Bruni did that in an excellent column recently, one with wider implications, including church vitality. Surveying the... Read More

Walking in Scotland

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September 16, 2018 — Now here is an amazing thing: according to the Scottish Lands Act of 2003 walkers have a universal access to all land in Scotland. What this means for someone like me is that there are all sorts of places to go walking, anywhere and everywhere. If you come to a moor where sheep graze, there... Read More

From the Isle of Skye

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September 12, 2018 — At 57 degrees latitude the Isle of Sky, the largest of Scotland’s Hebrides Islands, lies considerably further north than Seattle, which is at 47 degrees latitude. So while the climate bears some resemblance to our own coastal temperate one, Skye itself looks more far more rugged and barren, though in a dramatic and beautiful sort... Read More

Writing in the Wild

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September 8, 2018 — We are leaving tomorrow on a two week trip to Scotland and Northern England. We will spend about a week on the Isle of Skye, one of the Hebrides Islands, on Scotland’s west coast. “The Isle of Skye” — doesn’t that sound magical? Then we head south to England’s Lake District (land of writers and... Read More

Woodward, Trump and Anonymous

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September 5, 2018 — Shakespeare has nothing on us! Decaying Rome, we hear your siren call! No sooner does Bob Woodward, he of Watergate fame, be leaked on his forthcoming book, Fear, Trump In the White House, an (other) look inside the Trump Whitehouse than . . . another Anonymous (Deep Throat 2018?) should appear. Woodward is a magnet for these... Read More

The Encounter We Can’t Control

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September 5, 2018 — “God is that environment, that encounter, that we will never get to the bottom of and that we will never control.” I love this line from an article by Rowan Williams in the current (August 29, 2018) Christian Century. That issue of the Century is devoted to the theme of silence. (Williams acknowledges the irony of speaking/... Read More

Taking Stock

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September 1, 2018 — Labor Day marks an end to summer — though of course we actually have three more weeks until the official beginning of autumn on September 21.  Perhaps it is time for us to take stock, so to speak. How are we doing, individually and collectively? Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat did something like that in... Read More

One New Book for the Church

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August 29, 2018 — I’ve been reading Anna Carter Florence’s new book Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community. It’s wonderful. Of the crop published in 2017 – 2018, this is the one book I most recommend.  Florence, who teaches preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, was a speaker for two of the three times we did the... Read More

The Seasons of Summer

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August 27, 2018 — While summer is one season, it occurs to me that there are seasons to summer. Seasons within this one season. I am back at the family cabin in the Wallowa Mountains of Northeastern Oregon. It is cool this morning, upper 40’s I’d guess. Cool enough that I built a fire in the fireplace for the... Read More