What's Tony Thinking

An Absent God

Share!
November 1, 2018 — Traveling about, I visit a variety of (mostly mainline Protestant) churches. I hear the clergy — we clergy — say often (as if repetition would make it so), “God loves you.” And again, “God loves you so much!” One more time: “God really, really loves you!“ I get why we say that. We believe that God... Read More

We Are the Elders Who Remain

Share!
October 31, 2018 — In the days following the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a friend passed on to us the following thoughtful piece from Marc Freedman. (The photo is one I took recently of an oak tree in the Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines.) “As the people in Pittsburgh begin to bury their loved... Read More

In a Dangerous Time

Share!
October 29, 2018 — The murders at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday are unspeakable. Nevertheless, we must speak — to express our sadness, our outrage, as well as our compassion for the people and families of the historic Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Predictably the President responded by saying that the temple should have had armed... Read More

Behind the Migrant “Caravan”

Share!
October 26, 2018 — I found the following piece, from an American who has lived in Honduras for a decade, at Rod Dreher’s site. It is a very thoughtful look behind the migrant caravan, over which President Trump is making such a lot of political hay. While the author acknowledges that there are no easy answers, he does have... Read More

Faith and Healing

Share!
October 23, 2018 — I’m preaching this weekend up on Guemes Island, at the little community/ UCC church there. Guemes is the nearest of the San Juan Islands, yet the least developed or inhabited. As if people hop-scotched over it on the way to the more alluring Orcas, Lopez or San Juan. The gospel text for this Sunday is... Read More

The Upcoming Elections: What’s At Stake?

Share!
October 21, 2018 — On Tuesday, November 6, we have our first nation-wide elections since 2016. What’s at stake? Donald Trump has said it’s all about him. “I’m not on the ballot, but in a way I am.” There’s truth in that. The first mid-term after a new president is in office has traditionally been understood as a referendum... Read More

Is Halloween the New Big American Holiday?

Share!
October 18, 2018 — I’ve been wondering — is Halloween becoming our new biggest holiday? Perhaps you too have noticed that the Halloween “season” seems to be getting underway earlier — like mid-September to judge from decorations and displays in stores. And it’s no longer just the one night. It’s Halloween parties, scavenger hunts, haunted houses, costume parades and... Read More

Political Correctness and A Message for the UCC

Share!
October 13, 2018 — Last week the group “More in Common” put out a study of our divided society, “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,”  It is worth paying attention to. Instead of falling into two camps of left and right, 2/3’s of Americans constitute “an exhausted majority,” who “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized... Read More

Overcoming Perfectionism

Share!
October 10, 2018 — As mentioned here not long ago, I teach occasional writing workshops dubbed “Writing in the Wild” at Discovery Park. A half dozen of us cluster on a beach or in the forest. I serve up a prompt like, “Autumn,” and ask people to write away for a short time. Then people have a chance to... Read More

Troubling Words of Jesus

Share!
October 8, 2018 — As I’ve been writing about the Kavanaugh drama and our fervent tribalism, some verses of Scripture have been niggling at me. Verses about only loving those who love us. They come from the Sermon on the Mount, the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, verses 43 – 48, where Jesus says to his disciples,... Read More