What's Tony Thinking

Follow-Ups and Quick-Takes


This past week I wrote, among other things, about what has preoccupied the news, Afghanistan.

The President and his administration have been criticized left and right for their handling of the draw-down and exit. Maybe justifiably, maybe not. It’s hard to know. A lot of “Capt. Hindsights” popping up whose operative assumption seems to be that the U.S. can and should control events. I would think the challenging of that conceit, and hubris, one of the obvious lessons of this war.

I found Tom Friedman’s geopolitical long-view piece in the New York Times provocative and hopeful. I have also thought that Biden’s standing behind his decision and taking the heat has been, largely, admirable.

What is clear now is that it is a tragic, frightening mess. Could it have been avoided? Lessened probably, avoided altogether, probably not. There are so many variables, actors, factions in play that it seems to me impossible to avoid some chaos and great suffering. So much easier to get into wars than to get out of them.

All we can do now is try to ameliorate the chaos and suffering. We’ve been supporting two NGO’s, Church World Service and Oxfam. Each rates highly for effectiveness. If there are others you suggest, please pass those along and I will mention.

Here is information about local (Seattle) resettlement efforts.

“Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services (LIRS) – Sign up with LIRS for duties like rides from the airport, food, and apartment set-ups. If you’re unable to volunteer, consider donating to Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies to help provide basic needs of our Afghan friends.

“Jewish Family Service/HIAS (JFS ) – Buy items from the Amazon Wish List for JFS Refugee & Immigrant Services (RIS). Sign up to be a flexible on-call volunteer if you have a very flexible schedule, a reliable vehicle and ability to lift 50 pounds; be patient, needs are ever changing, and volunteers are called on a first-come basis. Donate by clicking here, and put “refugees” in the comment box at the bottom of the donate page. If you prefer to make a pledge, stock transfer, or send a donation from your foundation or donor-advised fund, please email donate@jfssseattle.org or call 206-861-3150.

“Follow and support local Afghan community organizations, such as Afghan Health Initiative and Afghan American Community of Washington.” Thanks to Kathy Koss for this information.

I also wrote this week about my interest in the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews and several venues in which I will be teaching on this letter to a congregation that is just plain exhausted.

Some of you responded, asking that I say more about Hebrews as the project unfolds. The on-line course with Jason Micheli, through Annandale Methodist, is open to all and without charge. Here’s the information, should you wish to sign up. That course begins Sept. 13 and runs through Oct. 25. Sessions fun 1.5 hours more or less.

If you are a clergy person looking for coaching, I want to recommend and pass on information about a on-line leadership course taught by my friend, Roy Howard. Roy, a wise pastor and coach, includes 18 hours of professional coaching for participants, in his course on “Artful Leadership.” Roy can be reached at his email, royhoward@me.com or through the website linked above. The course will be offered January through April of 2022.

Many of you enjoyed, and commented on, my “Two Boys” piece also published last week. Our two boys, grandsons, Colin and Levi, were returned home by their grandmother, Linda, yesterday. I miss all three but, won’t lie, am enjoying the peace and quiet for a week.



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