What's Tony Thinking

Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense

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January 7, 2022 — Dear Friends, I’m excited to share this news: working with my friends at the “Crackers and Grape Juice” podcast, I will be hosting a webinar based on Francis Spufford’s wonderful book, Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense. Spufford is a prize-winning British novelist, the author of Golden Hill and most recently, Light Perpetual. He is... Read More

Unexpected Epiphany

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January 6, 2022 — Today, January 6, is for Christians the Feast of Epiphany. It’s also been a year since the riot/ attack on the U.S. Capitol and Congress as the latter was trying to certify the results of the last Presidential election. Do those two go together at all? Well, yes. Here’s how. For a long time we... Read More

Entitlement De-Tox

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January 5, 2022 — As the old joke goes . . . “Want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Maybe 2022 isn’t the year for it? Plans, resolutions, big goals, that is. Many of you liked the “New Year Blessing” from Nadia Bolz-Weber which took a set-the-expectations-bar low approach. Less expectation, more gratitude. At the Atlantic, Faith... Read More

Queer Eye for Churches?

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January 4, 2022 — We joined Laura and her fiancé, Noah, last night to watch an episode of the Netflix re-boot of the reality TV show, Queer Eye. It’s kind of like the home renovation shows on HGTV where beautiful people transform a drab house into something gorgeous. Subtext: drab lives transformed into something gorgeous. Queer Eye is fun,... Read More

Franzen’s Crossroads

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January 2, 2022 — Like Updike, novelist Jonathan Franzen’s territory is the American family. But as a lens onto the larger society and the currents swirling in and through it. In this case, it is the family Hildebrandt made up of Russ and Marion and their four children: Clem, Becky, Perry and Judson. The date is 1971. The locale,... Read More

A Blessing for the New Year

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December 31, 2021 — The New Year’s blessing below is from Nadia Bolz-Weber, at her website Corners. I liked it. Maybe you will too. The theme is helpfully, un-Pelagian, or keep your expectations low. Reminds me of the non-biblical beatitude, “Blessed are those who expect nothing; for they shall be satisfied.” I’m not sure if that’s always a good... Read More

Faithful Skepticism

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December 29, 2021 — Several years ago I was one of a group of writers who contributed to a project in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, that thing that Martin Luther kicked off in 1517. The idea was to dust off some of big ideas of that explosive movement to see if they still mattered.... Read More

Ruminations

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December 29, 2021 — Something Funny. One of my Christmas gifts is a drink coaster, currently holding my coffee cup, with the following words: Mr. Rogers did not adequately prepare me for the people in my neighborhood.  Something Reconsidered. Bari Weiss has been running a year end series of short pieces by various people on something about which they changed their... Read More

Mediating Institutions and Tribalism

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December 27, 2021 — Constant Contact, which handles the distribution of my blog, frequently suggests that a blog’s title is key to readership, and that mine could be better. I suspect this one, “Mediating Institutions and Tribalism,” will merit a chiding. Here, however, is a story of this blog’s provenance. It came to me in a dream. Now, you... Read More

On the Second Day of Christmas

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December 26, 2021 — On the second day of Christmas . . . a snow storm in Seattle. The snow is swirling in the west wind blowing off Puget Sound, making me think of Dylan Thomas who wrote of the snows at Christmas in his seaside Welsh town, “All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea . .... Read More