What's Tony Thinking

Trump Facing a Test of Leadership

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March 1, 2020 — The Coronavirus is starting to hit home. The first U.S. fatality was right here, in King County, Washington. Our son who travels internationally a good deal experienced the jitters of the traveling public and industry this week. In church this morning, where turnout was low, we were instructed to forego handshakes and hugs during the... Read More

Come Together Right Now, Progressives and Moderates

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February 27, 2020 — After a Wednesday (yesterday) evening session on politics at Seattle’s Town Hall, I felt encouraged. That isn’t something I have experienced a lot recently on this subject. It was welcome feeling. The speaker was E. J. Dionne, long-time Washington Post columnist and author of the new book Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite To... Read More

The Dones, Church in the Third Third of Life

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February 26, 2020 — By now everyone is familiar with the Nones, those who indicate “No Affiliation” with a religious group or tradition on the census. But there’s another category that may be less easily identified but equally significant, “the Dones.” The Dones are people who have been active in church or churches, perhaps for their entire lives, but... Read More

Ash Wednesday

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February 25, 2020 — Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. By the grace of God, another Lent begins. Forty days from ashes to Easter. There’s a way in which Lent is a bit like New Year’s. That is, we tend to make some resolutions or commitments to stop doing/ eating/ saying some things. Or maybe to start doing/ eating/ saying/ praying... Read More

What Are Those Russians Up To?

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February 22, 2020 — It’s a little odd that neither Iowa nor New Hampshire could settle on one of the Democratic candidates, but the Russians have. And without the fuss and bother of caucuses or primaries, never mind actual elections. Well, maybe Nevada will sort things out? I’m trying to imagine a bumper sticker slogan here. How about, “I... Read More

Polarized: How We Got Here

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February 19, 2020 — It is truism that America today is deeply polarized, left and right, blue and red, Trump lovers and Trump haters. There no longer seem to be “Americans.” There are Liberals or Conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, Progressives and Evangelicals . . . Neither side brooks much in the way of questioning or variance from the party... Read More

Does the Bible Matter?

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February 17, 2020 — I will be moderating a panel discussion on the topic “Does the Bible Matter? Reading the Bible in a Post-Biblical Age” at Folio, the Seattle Atheneum, on April 1. (No fooling!) I thought of that pending discussion while reading a President’s Day piece by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik titled “What the Bible Taught Lincoln About America.”... Read More

The Clergy Family

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February 14, 2020 — I’ve been watching, on Netflix, the Dutch series “Ride Upon the Storm” or, in Dutch, “Herrens Veje” (The Ways of the Lord). It is very well-done and powerful. It raises lots of issues — so much so that some Dutch congregations have used it as a starter for congregational discussions and adult education forums. Its... Read More

I Am Part of the Problem

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February 12, 2020 — At least some of you may respond to the headline on this post with a, “Wow, he just figured that out!” Let me tell you what I mean. I, like many others, traveled to a swing state in 2016 to volunteer for the Clinton campaign. But I did this not because I was fired up... Read More

Democrats: Focus

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February 9, 2020 — It is a truism among professional athletes and coaches that job #1 is to focus on your own game, your own play. That is to say, to focus overly much on the opponent easily becomes a disabling distraction. Sure, you scout the other team. You know what their tendencies are. But your real job is... Read More