What's Tony Thinking

Shoulder Season

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April 22, 2021 — Given my sense that we are way too “politicized,” let me write about something other than politics, politics and culture, or politics and the culture wars  . . . Like the shoulder season hike I took today with my friend, Mike. The term “shoulder season” refers, in travel agent argot, to the period between peak... Read More

A Case for the Classics

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April 21, 2021 — I was interested to see 1) that Howard University is shutting down its Classics Department and 2) that Cornel West lodged a strong protest against’s Howard’s move in the pages of The Washington Post. Cornel West (right) can hardly be accused of complicity with a westernist or imperial mindset. As a public theologian, he has... Read More

Trials That Define Us

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April 20, 2021 — While legal trials take place all the time, every now and then a particular trial rivets the attention of an entire society. Such trials mark lines in the sand. While something more is at stake in every trial, namely justice, the trials I have in mind crystallize a moment and hold up a mirror to... Read More

Tribal Talk: The Three Languages of Politics

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April 18, 2021 — Why do people, today, seem so often to be talking past one another? How can folks interpret the facts in such radically different ways? And why does it seem that there is less interest in the art and rhetoric or persuasion, while the rhetoric of demonization has become our go-to? The third edition of Arnold... Read More

Notes of a New Yogi

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April 16, 2021 — I asked my dear spouse if I might re-print an article (see below) that appeared in the current newsletter of “Yoga Behind Bars.” The article is about her and her yoga class. She said, “yes,” on one condition — that I share what yoga, and her class, have meant to me. First the article about... Read More

My Review of “A Time To Build”

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April 15, 2021 — Readers of this blog may recall me mentioning, and quoting from, Yuval Levin’s book, “A Time To Build.” I reviewed it for the Christian Century recently. Here’s that review. Do We Still Need Institutions? by Anthony B. Robinson April 15, 2021 A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting... Read More

More Depleted Than We Thought?

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April 15, 2021 — We’re having a week of glorious spring weather here in Seattle. Sunny every day. And of course now the days are so much longer. So I’d like to write something light, something cheerful. But I’m not sure that’s where we’re at. When I was doing pastoral ministry I remember being surprised by the frequency of... Read More

Emerging Slowly (2) “We Will All Be Newcomers”

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April 13, 2021 — Let me build on yesterday’s thoughts about “emerging . . . slowly” with a particular look at the life of religious congregations. I was struck by the comment of one pastor, about which Alban’s Nathan Kirkpatrick wrote in this week’s Alban newsletter. Her comment was, “When we return, we will all be newcomers.” Perhaps an... Read More

Emerging . . . Slowly

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April 12, 2021 — In the years we were at the Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, we were fascinated by the Monarch butterflies emerging from their cocoons on the church grounds at just this time of the year. It was a gradual and sticky affair, at least as I recall. The lovely golden, black and white Monarchs didn’t... Read More

The Enchanted Forest

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April 9, 2021 — There’s a way in which reading a great novel about a particular part of the country can enchant, or re-enchant, that landscape. Layers and voices are added. At least that’s my experience on reading Karl Marlantes’s novel Deep River, and returning now to northwest corner of Oregon, and southwest corner of Washington, where his story is... Read More