What's Tony Thinking

“You Don’t Have To Choose Between God and Science”

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July 24, 2021 — That “you don’t have to choose between God and science,” may not come as a news flash to many of you, but I’m still grateful that a Missouri Assembly of God mega-church pastor, Jeremy Johnson, is saying it to his flock. Johnson joined more than 200 other pastors in urging evangelicals in Southwestern Missouri, one... Read More

Hunting Magic Eels

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July 22, 2021 — Hunting Magic Eels: Recovering an Enchanted Faith in a Skeptical Age is a new book by the psychologist and college professor Richard Beck. Beck is a also a theologically astute Christian. He relates a conversation with his Dad, in which the elder Beck says, “People don’t have a desire for God anymore.” Beck responds to his... Read More

Galatians Revisited

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July 20, 2021 — On Monday I was a guest leader for an on-line summer bible study series on Paul’s letter, “Galatians,” to the churches in the region of Galatia (a part of present day Turkey). As I prepared for the 90 minute class I remembered a UCC pastor at Eastgate Congregational UCC in Bellevue, Washington, Jim Fairbrook. I... Read More

“Christian” Politics Reconsidered

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July 18, 2021 — I want to reprise parts of a blog I did this past spring asking whether there can be such a thing as “Christian politics”? Last week I wrote a piece titled, “An American Kingdom?” in response to a Washington Post article on a Fort Worth, Texas church, Mercy Center, identified as as the point of... Read More

Summer Daze

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July 17, 2021 — It was a happy invasion yesterday when children, grandchildren and grand dog arrived. We weren’t certain it would happen, on account of the threats of wildfire smoke, but it turned out to be clear and beautiful. Here’s photo of granddaughter, Lila, her auntie Laura, and yours truly as we listened to music and danced on... Read More

Can Biden Discover His Inner Mitch?

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July 14, 2021 — “Politics,” said the early twentieth century father of sociology, Max Weber, “is the slow boring of hard boards.” That is to say, politics is tough, grinding work that requires tenacity and focus. Do the Democrats have what it takes? My friend, David Brewster, passed along a recent article from Politico by the veteran journalist, Jeff... Read More

Click and Clack of Church World

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July 13, 2021 — Remember the wonderful NPR show “Car Talk,” with Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers? Tom and Ray Magliozzi, they were the best. Maybe inspired by “Car Talk,” the team at the Crackers and Grape Juice Podcast have booked Will Willimon and me do a sort of “Church Talk” together. Perhaps you listened to the CGJ... Read More

An American Kingdom?

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July 12, 2021 — Several of you forwarded to me an article that appeared in the last day or two in the Washington Post. It was titled “An American Kingdom: A new and rapidly growing Christian movement is openly political, wants a nation under God’s authority, and is central to Donald Trump’s GOP.” The article profiles a Forth Worth,... Read More

What Women Want

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July 11, 2021 — Like I’d know! But hang on, we’ll hear from someone who does . . . know what women, and men, want. David French has a longish essay today on friendship. And loneliness. And why our politics are so toxic. A lot of good points. I encourage you to give it a read. But since it’s... Read More

Now This Is Surprising

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July 9, 2021 — The Religious New Service reported yesterday that mainline Protestants now outnumber Evangelicals as a percent of the U.S. population. This is a pretty shocking reversal of long-standing trends and conventional wisdom. Ever since Dean Kelly published Why Conservative Churches Are Growing in 1974 the assumption has been church growth was the province of conservative and Evangelical churches... Read More