What's Tony Thinking

Can You Be Liberal and Pro-Family?

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May 13, 2019 — For at least a generation conservatives have managed to corner the market on the pro-family label. Indeed, to argue for policies that encourage the one-income family where a mother (or father) who wishes to do so may stay at home to focus on child raising is to risk being called reactionary or worse. My own... Read More

To Impeach or Not to Impeach?

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May 11, 2019 — In 1932 a famous argument took place between the brothers Niebuhr, Reinhold and H. Richard, in the pages of The Christian Century.  The issue at hand was whether the U.S. should intervene militarily in China in response to the Japanese invasion of China, and reports of Japanese atrocities against civilians. Though this seems a long way... Read More

The Second Book of Scripture

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May 9, 2019 — Medieval mystics referred to the natural world, God’s creation, as the “Second Book of Scripture.” I suspect that for many the natural world is, in reality, the “First Book of Scripture.” Apprehended long before Genesis to Revelation. Well, wherever you place it, the natural world is extraordinary. And as the Psalms put it, “The heavens... Read More

Where Have You Gone Mr. Robinson?

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May 6, 2019 — Perhaps you have noticed that there’s been a hiatus in my blogging? No big mystery. My MacBook required repair. The “logic board” was whacked, or so I was told. I found that a little amusing. “The ‘logic board’ is busted,” seems an accurate diagnosis of our nation’s situation these days. Ah well. A highlight of... Read More

Return to Malheur

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April 25, 2019 — I first visited the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge when I was a field zoology student at Willamette University in, well, long ago. Then I was enchanted by the vast spaces, the quiet, the desert, the wetlands and the wildlife. In particular the birds. Malheur is a prime migratory bird habitat on the north/ south flyway.... Read More

Nick Kristof’s Easter Conversations

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April 23, 2019 — New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof, has been doing conversations with different well or somewhat well-known Christians at or around Easter for several years now. His first, that I recall, was with Tim Keller, the founder of the multi-site Church of the Redeemer in New York City. Keller had built a church that appealed to... Read More

Complex Thinking Needed

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April 20, 2019 — In many areas of life, including some of the most contentious, our society and we who make it up seem increasingly less capable of complex thinking. But since life is complex, the capacity for complex thinking is required — if real progress is to be made on some of our more vexing issues. This is... Read More

Something Terrific For Good Friday

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April 18, 2019 — I have mentioned, several times, the terrific book by the Brit, Francis Spufford, Unapologetic: Why Despite Everything, Christianity can still make Surprising Emotional Sense.  Here’s a bit from Spufford that distills a whole lot about the paradox that is “Good” Friday. He hones in on a couple of key points. One, that the form of Jesus’... Read More

Preaching on Good Friday and Easter is Challenging

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April 17, 2019 — I have fellow preachers in mind with this post. Although others may want to “listen in.” Those of you in the non-preacher, listening-in category might imagine that preaching on Easter and during Holy Week is something we preachers live for. The pageantry, the symbolism, the crowds (more on Easter than Good Friday), the music, the... Read More

Notre Dame Is Burning

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April 15, 2019 — The destruction of Notre Dame invites a frenzy of interpretation. Symbol? Allegory? Metaphor? Act of God? What does it mean? But before any of that — how very sad! For Paris and Parisians, for France and the French, for Europe and for us all. A  treasure lost. France, Paris — we grieve with you. We... Read More