What's Tony Thinking

Jesus the Rule-Breaker

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August 21, 2022 — Here’s my sermon from yesterday at the Congregational Church in Enterprise, Oregon. Jesus, Rule Breaker Luke 13: 10 – 17 Enterprise Community, Congregational Church August 21, 2022 I mentioned last week that I have mostly been a lectionary preacher during my ministry. Which is to say I work with the Scripture lessons that are designated... Read More

Week’s End: Stars, Primaries, Sexual Freedom, and Fred Buechner

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August 20, 2022 — Dog Days. This stretch of summer is sometimes labeled the “dog days” of summer. The derivation of the term is unclear. It may have something to do with the the prominence of Sirius, a.k.a. the Dog Star in July and August. As a kid I thought the term owed to the August heat and humidity of... Read More

Remembering Teruo Kawata

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August 19, 2022 — Our dear friend and mentor, Teri Kawata, died on July 1 in Honolulu. A memorial service will be held today at The Community Church there in Hawaii. Teri had been my wife, Linda’s, minister at Waiokeola Church in Honolulu. Linda did not grow up in a church-going family. But a middle-school friendship put her in... Read More

Catch the World Doing the Right Thing

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August 16, 2022 — It’s a phrase my educator wife has often used, “Catch a kid doing the right thing,” and lift that up. Amplifying the positive, catching kids in the act of doing good or great things, is a not-so-easy but terribly important alternative to “giving all the attention to the screw-ups” and dwelling on the negative. And... Read More

Jesus, Disturber of the Peace

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August 15, 2022 — Here’s a written version of my sermon of yesterday. Jesus, Disturber of the Peace Jeremiah 23: 23 – 29, Luke 12: 49 – 56 Enterprise Community Church August 14, 2022 It’s good to back with you at Enterprise Community Congregational Church. Last summer I was invited to preach here two Sundays; this year it’s three,... Read More

At Week’s End: Reading and Readers, Summer Storms and Sermons

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August 13, 2022 — The Underground Network for Goodness. Friends gave me George Saunders’s newest book, A Swim In a Pond In The Rain. It is the book version of a course Saunders’s teaches on the short stories of four Russian writers: Chekov, Turgenev, Tolstory and Gogol. But here’s the note/ excerpt I want to share at this point, Saunders tribute to... Read More

Great Times We’re Living

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August 9, 2022 — Sometimes when you read about great ideas it seems that is all they are . . . ideas, abstractions, vague concepts, high-minded ideals. We’re fortunate to be living in a time when great ideas matter and fundamental values are on the line. Great ideas and the core values of liberal democracy are the subject of Francis... Read More

Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism

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August 8, 2022 — In this evening’s session of “Help My UnBelief,” panelist Josh M. reminded us about MTD, “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.” It is a term that scholars Christian Smith and Melina Lundquist Denton came up with in their 2005 study to describe the pre-dominant faith of American teenagers, including those who are part of a church. Here are... Read More

An Especially Happy Birthday

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August 6, 2022 — As some of you know, Friday August 5 was my 74th birthday. Thanks for the greetings and good wishes from many of you. As it turned out, it was an especially memorable and truly happy birthday. (That said, I confess to finding birthdays arbitrary and my age a real surprise; “I’m 74 — Egads! Can... Read More

Help My UnBelief

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August 2, 2022 — First off, I want to apologize for the fact that the broadcast of this webinar on Zoom has been bumpy in recent weeks. We’ve been hit by summer travel, tech problems and COVID among the triumvirate of Jason, Josh and Tony. We got back in the groove this Monday (August 1) and should be continuing... Read More