Remember that you are humus

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Ash, you should know, is a great source of phosphorus and potassium—two members of the essential soil chemical triad of Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (N-P-K).  We should remember this as we go into Ash Wednesday, a solemn day in which we meditate on our mortality and finitude.  In thinking of our death we must also recognize that our mortality is tied to the nutrient cycles of the earth, that our bodies are a source of new life.As Ashes are imposed in the sign of the cross on our forehead th … [Read more...]

Training for Easter

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I went for a long run today and it wasn’t easy.  I can usually go ten miles at a  pretty good pace without too much worry, but on today’s run my legs felt stiff and my heart rate was too high for the pace.  I’m a bit out of running shape, but I don’t worry.  I’ve been doing other things over the winter,  lifting weights, getting stronger, but now with an ultramarathon and triathlon on the calendar for the spring, it’s time to get to work training for specifically for those sports.The seasons … [Read more...]

In Praise of Single Function Devices

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I’ve been wearing a watch recently.  It’s nice—it tells me the time.  I’ve also been carrying a pocket calendar.  It has dates with space to put in appointments and a few blank pages for notes.  I also have a phone I’ve been using.  It has internet access if I absolutely need it, but a painful pared down version—it is not “smart.”  I text now only for critical messages, my phone's non-QWERT keyboard is too cumbersome.Shortly before Christmas my iPhone broke, so I pulled an old phone from my d … [Read more...]

Relevant Idols

The church is meant to be an icon--a picture of what divine love looks like that sparks a vision beyond itself.  The opposite of an icon is an idol.  An idol takes an experience of divine love and tries to codify it, make it concrete and turn it into solid, trustworthy, but lifeless, stone.There's a lot of talk in Christian circles about the decline of church in America.  The number of people in the pews are declining and the outlook for many denominations is not good.  In response many ask, … [Read more...]

How to Turn a Cheek

On Wednesday Robert Seigel gave a sharp interview with Richard Land, director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.  In the interview where he advocates getting rid of gun free zones because "Law-abiding citizens who are armed are the best last ditch defense against the kind of horror that we've just experienced," Seigel has to press what should be Land's central concern--the Christian response be to such a shooting. SIEGEL: What's the New Testament j … [Read more...]

The Old Story Made Real and New

Bethlehem, we often forget, is a real place where people are still born and grow up and go to work and die.  It is a city in Palestine, and like it was in Jesus' day, it is occupied and controlled in large part by a foreign power.  Last year a group from St. Paul's Church in Auckland, New Zealand created a tremendous video that reminds us of the place--real, physical and historical--where Christ was born.  It is by looking at that place, with its current concerns and problems, that we come to se … [Read more...]

Where Our Treasure Is

Not long ago my wife had a conversation with a financial adviser   She'd worked for many years at a large non-profit and they'd been putting money aside for her in a 401(b) (the non-profit version of a 401(k)).  She hadn't paid much attention--statements came, the account kept growing.  Then she left that work to spend more time with our daughter and she started getting letters that said that it was time for her to find someplace else to put her money--an IRA, etc.The trouble is that we're th … [Read more...]

St. Nicholas and a Season for Sledgehammers

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I'm considering a war on Christmas.  Not because I don't enjoy Christmas trees and gifts and the time spent with family, not because I'm against a religious holiday playing large on a national scale.  I'm increasingly against Christmas because I love it--this is a sort of kill it to save it strategy.In a recent survey 45% of Americans said they would rather skip Christmas.  Why?  Because of the financial and personal stress.  Being overwhelmed with shopping and economies of obligation is no w … [Read more...]


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