What's Tony Thinking

The Hazards of Too Much

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August 28, 2021 — As a species human beings have for millennia struggled with the challenge of too little. Too few calories to survive and thrive. While many world-wide still face that struggle, lots of us have a different challenge: too much. You’ve heard the line about “first-world” problems? Well, this may be the quintessential first-world problem: too much.... Read More

How To Make the War in Afghanistan Popular Again: End It

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August 26, 2021 — These days, one might think that until Joe Biden made the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and call it quits, the war was guided by sound strategy and we were on cusp of victory. Indeed, Presidents and generals had told us exactly that year after year. Biden called the thing what it is: a failure.... Read More

How Worship Begins

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August 24, 2021 — I used to beg students, “Please do not begin a worship service by saying ‘Good Morning.'” Why not? It sounds so innocuous. What could be wrong with saying a friendly, “Good Morning” as a way to begin the worship of the church? Answer: it gets the focus wrong. It puts the focus on us. On... Read More

From the Wallowas: Seasons Change

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August 24, 2021 — The rhythm of the seasons, I receive gratefully as a sign of God’s providence. When so much else seems out of whack, summer giving way to fall here as it is now, is reassuring. Here’s a lovely springtime photo of the Lake, Wallowa Lake, Linda took back in May. This summer in the Wallowas has... Read More

Follow-Ups and Quick-Takes

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August 22, 2021 — This past week I wrote, among other things, about what has preoccupied the news, Afghanistan. The President and his administration have been criticized left and right for their handling of the draw-down and exit. Maybe justifiably, maybe not. It’s hard to know. A lot of “Capt. Hindsights” popping up whose operative assumption seems to be... Read More

Pick-Ups and Freedom

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August 20, 2021 — One of the features of life here in Wallowa County/ Eastern Oregon is pick-up trucks. They seem to have become the vehicle of choice not only for work purposes but as a personal vehicle or family car. At rental cabins near us a group will routinely arrive with four or five pick-ups. And these aren’t... Read More

Why “Hebrews”? Why Now?

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August 19, 2021 — The “Epistle to the Hebrews” is an often overlooked book of the New Testament. Unexplored territory. I won’t go, here, into the possible reasons for that relative neglect. What I will say is that the Holy Spirit seems to have decided that I, for one, need to explore this territory. In one of the¬†Crackers and... Read More

Two Boys

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August 17, 2021 — Our two grandsons, Colin (10) and Levi (9) are with us at the cabin these days. Watching the two at play I thought of something I wrote forty years ago “Two Boys and a Manoa Hill.” I was then the pastor at Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu. This was published in the Honolulu Star... Read More

Another Perspective on Afghanistan

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August 16, 2021 — During the first Iraq War in the early 90’s, the one prompted by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, I heard an Iranian-American give a lecture on what we had gotten ourselves into. Americans, he said, are a “short-memory” people and culture. We see things in a time frame of days and weeks, maybe years, but not... Read More

The Race and Politics Connection May Be More Complex Than You Thought

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August 15, 2021 — I listened to Ezra Klein’s recent podcast with Lilliana Mason, a political scientist at the University of Maryland. I’ve appreciated Mason’s work in explaining how binding, or totalizing, political identities have become in the contemporary U.S. Mason argues that today’s Republican Party agenda boils down to maintaining the privilege and status of white people, particularly... Read More