What's Tony Thinking

A Trump Tipping Point?

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December 14, 2018 — This feels different. There have been crises, scandals, and travesties a-plenty for these three plus years. The years of Trump’s campaign and term in office. We have wondered what the impact of various episodes, lies and outbursts would be. They have proven, almost always, short term in their impact. Washed away in the next tide... Read More

A Guide for the Perplexed (Grandparent) Shopper

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December 12, 2018 — So I am the last person to be giving advice on shopping and present-buying. But I have been thinking about the topic. And more particularly about grandparents, like us, buying gifts for grandchildren. It can be perplexing and overwhelming. The other evening we were out in the shopping district of our neighborhood, on Ballard Avenue.... Read More

Tip-Toe Ethics

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December 12, 2018 — Here’s the text from Luke’s Gospel for this third Sunday of Advent: “John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as... Read More

Free in Prison

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December 10, 2018 — When I was preaching regularly I would often find myself torn between two of the three Lectionary texts for a given Sunday. Back and forth I would go. So this week I am drawn to both the Philippians passage (below) and to the Gospel text, which continues from last week with John the Baptist in... Read More

A Modest Anniversary

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December 7, 2018 — It has now been one year since I, with help from Dennis Kenny and John Tonge at “Illuminage Communications,” converted my website to its current format as a blog. In the course of that year I’ve posted 144 blogs — so I guess I must enjoy doing this. And, yes, I do! It’s a means... Read More

A Funeral for WASP America

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December 5, 2018 — So, yes, apart from Lee Atwater and the Willie Horton mis-adventure, George H.W. Bush was a great guy. Oh yeah, and the Iran-Contra thing. Well never mind. But all this stately veneration? What in the world is going on? For three nights in a row the PBS “Newshour” has devoted fully half the program to... Read More

Advent 2 Meditation: Subversive

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December 5, 2018 — Here’s the gospel text for this coming Sunday, December 9, the second Sunday of Advent. “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene,... Read More

Sorting My Advent Funk

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December 3, 2018 — This is not my Advent meditation on this week’s biblical texts. Expect that on Wednesday. It is, however, some further thoughts on how weird a season Advent is and how hard this time of the year can be. These thoughts are born of my own struggle — my annual Advent funk, I call it. Even... Read More

When Politics Replaces Religion

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November 29, 2018 — Shortly after the 2016 election the pastor of church in Dallas, where I was then consulting, asked me what I made of the election. Because we were in a noisy restaurant I tried to be succinct. “Our politics has become too religious, and our religion too political.” I was not saying politics and religion have... Read More

The Immigration Challenge

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November 28, 2018 — When we were in Scotland in September, staying on the Isle of Skye, we shared breakfast and conversation, that was both lengthy and significant, with two other couples. One from the Netherlands, the other from Germany. The German couple were young (30’s I’d guess) professional and educated. And they were adamant. “Merkel must go.” (She... Read More