What's Tony Thinking

What Are Those Russians Up To?

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February 22, 2020 — It’s a little odd that neither Iowa nor New Hampshire could settle on one of the Democratic candidates, but the Russians have. And without the fuss and bother of caucuses or primaries, never mind actual elections. Well, maybe Nevada will sort things out? I’m trying to imagine a bumper sticker slogan here. How about, “I... Read More

Polarized: How We Got Here

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February 19, 2020 — It is truism that America today is deeply polarized, left and right, blue and red, Trump lovers and Trump haters. There no longer seem to be “Americans.” There are Liberals or Conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, Progressives and Evangelicals . . . Neither side brooks much in the way of questioning or variance from the party... Read More

Does the Bible Matter?

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February 17, 2020 — I will be moderating a panel discussion on the topic “Does the Bible Matter? Reading the Bible in a Post-Biblical Age” at Folio, the Seattle Atheneum, on April 1. (No fooling!) I thought of that pending discussion while reading a President’s Day piece by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik titled “What the Bible Taught Lincoln About America.”... Read More

The Clergy Family

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February 14, 2020 — I’ve been watching, on Netflix, the Dutch series “Ride Upon the Storm” or, in Dutch, “Herrens Veje” (The Ways of the Lord). It is very well-done and powerful. It raises lots of issues — so much so that some Dutch congregations have used it as a starter for congregational discussions and adult education forums. Its... Read More

I Am Part of the Problem

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February 12, 2020 — At least some of you may respond to the headline on this post with a, “Wow, he just figured that out!” Let me tell you what I mean. I, like many others, traveled to a swing state in 2016 to volunteer for the Clinton campaign. But I did this not because I was fired up... Read More

Democrats: Focus

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February 9, 2020 — It is a truism among professional athletes and coaches that job #1 is to focus on your own game, your own play. That is to say, to focus overly much on the opponent easily becomes a disabling distraction. Sure, you scout the other team. You know what their tendencies are. But your real job is... Read More

Imagine the Prodigal Son Story Turned on Its Head

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February 8, 2020 — It is perhaps the most famous of Jesus’ parables, the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11 – 32). The ne’er-do-well younger brother returns after blowing his inheritance. When his dutiful older brother trudges in from another hard day in the fields, he is furious to discover that Dad has welcomed the prodigal home with open arms... Read More

Impeachment: Was It Worth It?

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February 6, 2020 — I listened to the Senate roll-call votes on the two articles of impeachment. Despite the inevitability of the outcome, there was a solemnity to those moments when each senator went on the record stating “guilty” or “not guilty.” Has it all been worth it? I expressed skepticism soon after the inquiry was announced last September.... Read More

Boot Your Members/ Grow Your Church

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February 4, 2020 — A story about a Methodist Church in Minnesota¬†was startling. It was about an attempt to revitalize a congregation that had been slowly dying for decades and had now reached a point that it was no longer sustainable. Here’s the kicker. Current members were encouraged to go elsewhere, to leave. To leave “their” church. The plan... Read More

Will You Tell Me More?

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February 1, 2020 — A couple weeks ago I posted a piece titled, “Read More Fiction.”¬†One of the nice things that happened in response was that a number of you sent titles of your recent favorites (see the list after the conclusion of this piece). One of those, suggested by Richard Kaufmann, former “Books Editor” at the Christian Century,... Read More