What's Tony Thinking

Hats Off to Chris Petersen

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December 3, 2019 — The collegiate football world is in shock at Chris Petersen’s departure from his job as head coach at the University of Washington. It’s a “plum job,” right? Turns out those plums can be bitter. What’s really shocking, if not surprising, is that more people in these types of positions don’t do what Petersen has done.... Read More

John the Baptist: An Advent Palate Cleanser

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December 3, 2019 — If you are preaching on, or listening to, the traditional texts of Advent, this Sunday (Advent II) brings you to John the Baptist. Which, or who, is a sure sign of Advent’s dissonance. John, the angular prophet who takes his stand in the desert, calls, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John... Read More

Bear One Another’s Weaknesses

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November 30, 2019 — Words from a prayer that I often used to begin a marriage service have been running through my mind of late. Those lines included words praying that the couple might, “Accept one another’s differences, bear one another’s weaknesses, and so to live together that their love may allow life’s deepest mysteries to be revealed to... Read More

Inside the Evangelical Mind

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November 25, 2019 — One of the sources of great consternation for a good many mainline and liberal Christians is the support for Donald Trump of Evangelical Christians. What explains it? Another angle on all this might be put this way: Why won’t explicitly Christian Pete Buttigieg cut into Trump’s Evangelical support? Answer — partly that he’s gay, but... Read More

Thanksgiving and Beyond (Advent)

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November 23, 2019 — The Thanksgiving Holiday is quite late this year, on November 28. So “the holidays” will come roaring at us soon after — if they haven’t already. But let’s look beyond Thanksgiving to the new church year and the first season of that year, Advent. In what follows, I have preachers and worship leaders in mind,... Read More

Two Thoughts about Impeachment and One about the Democratic Debate

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November 21, 2019 — Quite a week ┬áin the House Impeachment Inquiry. I have a couple thoughts about what we’ve been witnessing and hearing, and then one about last night’s Democratic Debate. First, the good news. I am finding those who have testified, from Kent and Taylor last week to Hill and Holmes today not just to be revealing... Read More

What Do Hong Kong and Seattle’s Central Area Have in Common?

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November 19, 2019 — I had just finished watching “On the Brink,” an hour long documentary on KCTS about Seattle’s Central Area, when I turned to this article on the protests in Hong Kong. What the Christian Science Monitor article on Hong Kong argues is that the protests there aren’t just about “freedom” as an abstract idea or even... Read More

Two Kinds of Churches

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November 17, 2019 — Someone said that there are two kinds of people in the world: those that think there are “two kinds,” and those that don’t. For the most part, I land in the latter camp. We are all of us a mix of saint and sinner. But every now and then a “two-kinds” framework can be useful... Read More

Impeachment Begins, Civics Lesson Assigned

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November 14, 2019 — The public hearings of the impeachment inquiry began yesterday. The Republicans made quite a bit of the fact that both of the civil servants who testified, Bill Taylor and George Kent, were only reporting “hearsay” regarding the President’s alleged attempt at extortion. This might carry some weight had the President not ordered all those witnesses... Read More

Words Do Matter

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November 10, 2019 — We used to have a card on our refrigerator that read: “Let’s eat Grandma “Let’s eat, Grandma “Punctuation matters.” This morning 33 writers have a great short piece in the New York Times headed, “Words Matter: Stop Using ‘Quid Pro Quo.'” The writers rightly, helpfully and urgently argue that 1) people don’t understand this Latin... Read More