What's Tony Thinking

From the Wallowas, 10

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July 7, 2021 — Doug Hellinger came by Saturday afternoon. Doug, a trim, friendly man, maybe  45 – 50, retired from the Air Force several years ago. Though a Texan, he moved with his family to nearby Joseph, Oregon. Now Doug is employed by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). We had invited Doug to do a “FireWise” inspection... Read More

Don’t We Need More Pelagians?

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July 6, 2021 — One of my discerning readers responded to my July 3 blog by asking, “If Pelagians are into good works, couldn’t we use more of them?” I had mentioned Pelagianism in that blog because we reference it in the podcast Crackers and Grape Juice did with Will Willimon and me. Pelagianism, named after a fourth century British theologian,... Read More

The Four Americas

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July 4, 2021 — George Packer, is out with a new book, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal. It has been distilled into a long essay in The Atlantic titled, “How America Fractured into Four Parts.”I’m a fan of Packer’s work. This essay makes a good, if troubling, read for the 4th of July. Cutting to the quick,... Read More

Grumpy Old Men

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July 3, 2021 — A couple weeks ago I mentioned that the Podcast “Crackers and Grape Juice” had recorded an episode with Will Willimon and me. It came out yesterday. Here’s the link if you’re interested.  For those who don’t know anything of Will . . . he was for a longtime Dean of the Chapel at Duke University,... Read More

Everybody’s Talking About . . . Critical Race Theory

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July 1, 2021 — While this pot has been simmering for a while, of late it seems to have reached a boil. In recent days articles and essays about Critical Race Theory are everywhere — PBS Newshour, Wall St. Journal, New York Times, The Christian Century and more. I’m imagine Fox News is all over it. Part of this... Read More

Dreading a Return to “Normal”?

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June 30, 2021 — Today’s New York Times has a video essay, “Dreading a Return to ‘Normal? You’re Not Alone,” that I thought was interesting and quite well done. It focuses on three people who, while not wishing the pandemic and its consequences on anyone, have also found it, each in their own way, to be a respite and... Read More

Maybe the Republicans Have It Right

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June 28, 2021 — “Maybe the Republicans Have It Right.” Have I lost my mind? That’s always possible. But here’s what I am thinking. A fair number of Republicans seem to think the best way to handle Donald Trump at this point is to ignore him. A malignant tumor has no blood supply of its own. It grows by... Read More

From the Wallowas, Late June

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June 27, 2021 — The farmers are getting their first crop of hay in, earlier than usual, this year. Most years June is one of our wettest months. Not this one. It’s been dry and warm so far. Farmers are irrigating already, which will draw the Lake  (Wallowa Lake) down early. The mountains are key to agriculture here. Their... Read More

Re-Entry As a Spiritual Practice

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June 25, 2021 — I’ve been talking with a lot of clergy/ church leaders of late for my work with Vancouver School of Theology. I really have a sense, from those conversations, that we are smack dab in what William Bridges, in his classic book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, calls “the neutral zone.” By that term, Bridges means the... Read More

Today Is the Day

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June 23, 2021 — There are many encouragements and reminders these days to “live in the present moment.” My smart-ass side wants to ask, “Is there a choice?” Yes, apparently there is. We can, and I guess do, spend much of our time in the past or the future. Whether glorifying or regretting the past; worrying about or looking... Read More