What's Tony Thinking

A Good Word for Secrecy

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February 17, 2021 — Let’s linger a bit longer with the gospel lesson for Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6: 1 – 6, 16 – 21), which I mentioned yesterday. It seems to me to have a new resonance in our “connected” world. Moreover, in a world that so prizes — or claims to prize — openness, transparency, being heard and... Read More

On Ash Wednesday: Why Christianity Isn’t a Religion

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February 16, 2021 — I expect my title — the claim that Christianity is not a religion — will strike at least many of you as odd, perhaps non-sensical. What do I mean by saying this? And, is it true, that Christianity is not a religion? Christianity has certainly been turned into a religion — that is a path... Read More

After Impeachment and A Few Other Notes

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February 15, 2021 — Some readers took my “Kangaroo Court” post of last week to mean that I thought no one was watching the impeachment trial. I know that’s not the case. I was working off an NPR report that cited various reporters and politicians in different parts of the country saying that, by and large, people weren’t much... Read More

Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There

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February 13, 2021 — It’s snowing in Seattle, which while not unheard of, is unusual. I don’t think we’ve had snow since one storm in 2019. We had about 6.5 inches overnight. It continues to snow now. I’ve always loved the stilling effect of a snowstorm. Cars stop. Noise stops. It used to be that school stopped, which was... Read More

Why Americans Aren’t Paying Attention . . . Because It’s a Kangaroo Court

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February 11, 2021 — The House — not, as it is often put, “the Democrats” — has finished presenting its case against former President Trump in his second impeachment trial. Tomorrow, his legal team will take their turn. But they’ve indicated they expect to wrap up in about three hours, not the sixteen allotted to them. Why so brief?... Read More

A Contrarian Take On Resilience

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February 10, 2021 — Perhaps you too have noticed that the word “resilience” seems everywhere these days? It was the theme for a recent on-line writer’s workshop I attended. It has been the topic for a couple of clergy retreats. Everywhere self-help writers urge “strategies for resilience” upon us, and task parents (who are already overwhelmed) to make their... Read More

A Good Word for Institutions

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February 8, 2021 — Last night our book group discussed Yuval Levin’s book, A Time To Build.” I’ve mentioned it in several recent blogs. We had, in book club parlance, “a lively evening,” as we wrestled with Levin’s thesis that what ails us today in America is a lack of strong and healthy institutions. “Institution” is a negative word, even a... Read More

The Bible in America

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February 7, 2021 — Just about a year ago I mentioned that I would be moderating a panel on the topic of the Bible in America. It was to be jointly  sponsored by Folio: The Seattle Atheneum and Seattle Pacific University. Well, you know what happened to that. Now we’re back, this time on Zoom. The event will be... Read More

The Troubling Case of Marjorie Taylor Greene

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February 6, 2021 — There are the obvious reasons for being troubled. A new member of Congress who has embraced, and ridden into office on crazy and pernicious conspiracy theories. The satirists and late night show hosts have had a most entertaining field day with MTG. I confess, I have joined in with my own sarcastic barbs and OMG’s.... Read More

Are Seattle’s Tent Encampments Permanent?

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February 4, 2021 — Tim Burgess, former Seattle City Council member and Interim Mayor in 2017, got my attention in his recent article in the Seattle Times with this statement about the tent encampments. “They are,” wrote Burgess, “essentially permanent.” Really, have we come to this? Here’s that sentence in context. “Since 2015, when the mayor declared a homelessness... Read More