What's Tony Thinking

The Call of the Wild

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October 7, 2021 — As we settled into our camp on Tuesday evening we heard a piercing shriek, followed by what sounded like a snarl or growl. We were on the shores of Aneroid Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Going to Aneroid was a bit off plan, but dry stream beds and a need for water led us... Read More

Round Two: Tony and Will

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October 5, 2021 — The folks at the “Crackers and Grape Juice” Podcast posted Round Two of their conversations with Will Willimon and me. Click on this link if you want to take a listen as we respond to questions sent in by listeners, including some of you who read this blog. When we spoke Will was freshly into... Read More

A Matter to Ponder

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October 4, 2021 — I heard a story at church yesterday, a true story. I can’t stop thinking about it. Two men came to the Wallowa County Memorial Hospital in Enterprise, Oregon. Both had Covid. Both were seriously ill. Both needed the kind of care that was available only in an Intensive Care Unit. In that unit there was... Read More

Testify, Testify

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October 3, 2021 — As I mentioned in a post earlier this week I am preaching today at the Enterprise Community Congregational Church in Enterprise, Oregon. I decided to build on my study of the Letter to the Hebrews, about which I have also written here. In essence, my sermon is on the claim of Christian orthodoxy that Jesus... Read More

Oh, for Goodness Sake!

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September 30, 2021 — That was as close as my Aunt Margaret came to swearing. “Oh, for goodness sake!” Occasionally, it was “Oh, for heaven’s sake!” I can still see her furrowed brow, the darkened cloud of her countenance, as she contemplated some bit of human foolishness or stupidity. My language for the folks in Congress is less restrained.... Read More

Once More to the Lake

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September 29, 2021 — Some of you may recognize “Once More to the Lake” as the title of a completely lovely essay by the great E. B. White.  I think it is in his collection, “One Man’s Meat.” And, indeed, we have returned once more to the Lake, in our case Wallowa Lake (see right). It is just a... Read More

“My Mind Stayed on Jesus”

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September 26, 2021 — The African-American spiritual “I Woke Up This Morning,” begins this way: “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus.” That is sung three times, then, “Halle-lu, Halle- lu, Halle-lujah!” That may be the heart of the message of “The Letter to the Hebrews.” Keep your minds stayed on Jesus. I wrote in... Read More

A Biden Bias?

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September 24, 2021 — During the Trump presidency I was frequently perplexed, to put it mildly, that his supporters had nary a critical word to say about him despite his capacity for serial outrage. His supporters were clearly biased. Biased to the point that no facts or evidence that challenged their loyalty could be admitted or considered. He wasn’t... Read More

The Whitman Dilemma

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September 23, 2021 — I’m reading Blaine Harden’s 2021 book, Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West. Harden is an excellent researcher and writer. If you have not read his earlier work, A River Lost, on the Columbia River, I highly recommend it. As the subtitle of Murder at the Mission suggests, Harden unmasks... Read More

A Longing for God

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September 21, 2021 — Not long ago I got a long email from a friend who wrote of “a minor crisis of faith,” and asked for my thoughts. Sacred music is a big part of his life and faith. Missing church one Sunday because of illness he had listened to an especially beautiful piece of music. While it moved... Read More