What's Tony Thinking

Podcasts I Like

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May 7, 2021 — During the pandemic I’ve discovered podcasts. I thought I’d share with you several of my favorites. I’ll start Crackers and Grape Juice, where I am the featured guest in the current episode. The tag-line for  CGJ is “Talking faith without using stained glass language.” Will Willimon turned me on to CGJ where he’s been a guest a... Read More

Fast Takes: Nation Relapses, A “Say No” Club, Mother’s Day and Church

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May 6, 2021 — After three months of sobriety, it’s happened. Relapse. We’ve fallen off the wagon. We’ve relapsed. Suddenly, this week, it is once again all Trump all the time. First, it was big-deal columnists like Tom Friedman and Tom Edsall sounding the alarm on the pages of the New York Times. Trump is no more dead than... Read More

America Without God

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May 5, 2021 — In his big (in several senses of the word) book A Secular Age, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor breaks down secularity into three types or meanings. I found this helpful. Maybe you will too? Secular 1 is when religion is separated from the state. This has been the case in the U.S., legally speaking, from our inception,... Read More

A Few Good “Rules” for Life

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May 4, 2021 — As readers of this blog know, I am a fan of the philosopher Alain de Botton. De Botton (pronounced dee-bow-tain) has focused his work on making philosophical insight accessible and useful for ordinary people. What a concept. He has created an on-line “School of Life,” which is a repository of short videos on all sorts... Read More

Nuance

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May 2, 2021 — I was interviewed recently for the podcast Crackers and Grape Juice, where the tagline is “Talking Faith Without Stained Glass Language.” Like many of you I have discovered podcasts during the pandemic and this is one I particularly enjoy. Check it out. (The interview with me is not posted yet, I’ll let you know when... Read More

Northwest Novelists At Work

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April 30, 2021 — Encouraged by my book group’s current series, I’ve been reading novels by writers who live here in the Northwest. Here are quick notes about four. I recommend each one enthusiastically. Each tells a story that affected me, that touched my heart and made it larger and more open. The Cold Millions by Jess Walter is set... Read More

Job and the Pandemic

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April 28, 2021 — In the pandemic one of the Biblical texts to which we must turn is surely the Book of Job. As most readers know, Job is an exploration of human suffering and loss. How do we endure it? How do we make sense of it? And crucially, now, how do we begin again when the storm... Read More

Give the Devil His Due, But No More

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April 27, 2021 — I have been accused, justly no doubt, of being overly “serious.” But compared to this year’s nominees for “Best Picture of the Year” I’m a really fun guy. The satirist Bill Maher, quoted in a recent column in The Wall Street Journal, said that he was hoping that in the year of COVID, Hollywood might... Read More

Don’t Look Now . . . But There’s Some Good News

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April 26, 2021 — We’re nearing the tail-end of three days of having our 9 year-old grandson, Colin, and his 4 year-old sister, Cora — which explains why I haven’t been haunting your in-box for several days! Over the weekend the Seattle Times had a wonderful story about abundant life in the Puget Sound. Times environmental reporter, Linda Mapes, who... Read More

Shoulder Season

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April 22, 2021 — Given my sense that we are way too “politicized,” let me write about something other than politics, politics and culture, or politics and the culture wars  . . . Like the shoulder season hike I took today with my friend, Mike. The term “shoulder season” refers, in travel agent argot, to the period between peak... Read More