What's Tony Thinking

An Island in the Storm

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June 16, 2020 — Last evening Linda and I watched the Tom Hanks movie about Mister Rogers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It came out a year after the 2018 documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?  We saw that one in a actual movie theater. Remember those? Both looks at the life and work of the beloved and celebrated Fred Rogers... Read More

Fix Everything, Change Nothing

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June 15, 2020 — It’s a line that I heard from another church consultant, a.k.a. church doctor. “What stuck and ailing congregations really want from us,” she said wryly, “is to fix everything, but change nothing.” Which ain’t possible. Lest we be too hard on congregations, this ask is more of a human problem than a church problem alone.... Read More

Your Life Matters

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June 13, 2020 — Many of you read and responded with appreciation to the last piece here, which came from my wife, Linda. Thank you, Linda, for your passion and the work you have done on these matters now at the center of our national attention. To the book suggestions she included I would add one more, Jill Lepore’s These... Read More

Dear White People by Linda Jambor Robinson

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June 10, 2020 — For the past four plus years my life partner, Linda Jambor Robinson, has been deeply engaged in the study of race and racism in U.S. history as well as the present. In the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri events, she founded a race and social justice study group. She also participated in a Civil Rights... Read More

The Gift and Power of the Black Church

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June 9, 2020 — Today Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) carried live coverage of the George Floyd service from The Fountain of Praise Church in Houston. It was powerful. But that was not a surprise. The Black Church tradition has been a source of power and beauty for a long, long time. I was first introduced to the Black Church... Read More

What’s Next?

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June 8, 2020 — In a recent post, “The Betrayal of the Elites,” I mentioned the work of Martin Gurri and his 2014 book, The Revolt of the Public.  One of the things Gurri observes, and scratches his head about, is the number of recent revolts by some part of the public that have resulted in, well, not much. Or... Read More

Who Will Call Trump Back from the Brink? You, That’s Who

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June 7, 2020 — In my post of last Tuesday, headed “A Dangerous Time,” I quoted the well-known Yeats poem “The Second Coming,” to the effect of “the centre not holding,” “the best lacking all conviction,” and “the worst full of passionate intensity.” That was written the day after President Trump’s hideous photo-op, his calls to “dominate the streets,”... Read More

Protest in Enterprise, Oregon

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June 6, 2020 — I first heard about the planned demonstration here in Wallowa County from the woman who cuts my hair. The haircut, my first in three months, was  an event in itself. At least for me. As I got in her chair she asked if there had been “riots” in Seattle. I said, “Well, there have been... Read More

Bias, Implicit and Otherwise

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June 4, 2020 — The term “implicit bias” means those pre-judgments and stereotypes that we make and have without being aware of them. It might be called “subconscious bias.” Like we see a three young black men coming our way on the street, and even before our mind says a thing, our body is reacting with shorter breaths and... Read More

In A Dangerous Time

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June 2, 2020 — A society already polarized into tribes and camps, the extremes hate-filled. You overlay a pandemic. Its uncertainties magnified by a lack of Presidential leadership and decency. You add a tragic spark, the brutal killing of George Floyd. Peaceful protests born of pain are manipulated by those who crave the outbreak of violence and chaos on... Read More