What's Tony Thinking

My COVID Update


Well, I and we are finally, gradually, rejoining the land of the living. Thanks to all of you who sent notes and expressed concern during my COVID experience. It has now been two weeks since my first symptoms, thus I am no longer contagious — or so I am told. Still, being cautious. Masking when out. Keeping contact minimal. I did test negative today! Whoo-hoo!

You do feel a bit of a pariah when you have COVID. I can only imagine how sad it was for so many who died alone at some point during the pandemic.

It has been a bummer of a way to conclude our time in San Miguel and to re-enter life here in Seattle. But, on the other hand, maybe it has forced a re-entry slow down which may not be a bad thing. Two such different worlds. On a walk yesterday, I felt as if I were beginning to see the beauty here, which is quite muted especially in winter, in contrast to San Miguel.

Another little upside has been not having to stay up on December 31st to see in the New Year. As those of you who know me well know, I am pretty much in the early to bed, early to rise category. So I was happy to delegate the New Year watch and get into the rack about 9:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Will I keep writing and posting sermons? I did last Sunday for January 1. Will I keep it up? I’m not sure. We shall see.

I felt like the eight sermons I did in San Miguel reflected a new clarity in my thinking and preaching regarding core elements of the Christian faith, particularly grace and Christology. The latter being the theologian’s term for the person and work of Jesus Christ. So I felt like in this late-in-the-game preaching I was working some things out. I may continue on that and see how far it takes me. I do appreciate you joining me in this (at least a lot of you are “opening” the sermons, how many of you actually read them, I don’t know!). Also appreciate very much the notes that some of you have sent about the sermons.

I have always been grace-forward in my preaching, with a big emphasis on the freedom and sovereignty of God. “Let God be God,” being one way to sum that up (the other side of that coin what they say in AA: “There is a God, (insert your name here), and it’s not you.”) But I’ve been less clear about the second person of the Trinity. Partly that is my background, growing up in a tradition that was more first person of the Trinity oriented. Partly it was a reaction to the way that conservatives tied him to reactionary political agendas, which clearly seemed to fall in the “hostile takeover” category.

A couple things have helped me to get beyond these. A big one was Francis Spufford’s lovely book UnApologetic. and in particular his chapter on Jesus, “Yeshua.” As previously noted, of his portrait I could say, “This is the Jesus I know, this is a Jesus I love.”

Other factors have been the influence of a trio of things — participation in the webinars with the Crackers and Grape Juice posse, regular listening to the lectionary podcast, “Same Old Song.” And finding company and stimulation at Mockingbird.com, which reflects the work of Paul Zahl and his son, Dave. PZ’s book Grace in Practice, was also very helpful in sorting the law and grace distinction. One notes that all of this is made possible by technologies that I also at times lament, technologies that I got into more on account of the pandemic. Silver linings.

On one hand, I wish “I had known then what I know now,” but on the other I am so grateful to feel and experience the continuing growth of my faith at this time of life.

A blessed New Year to you all. Tony




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