A Time to Feast and a Time to Fast: Ash Wednesday Approaches

If every day were Christmas, we’d be miserable.  We’d be stuffed, bored, broke and fractious.  Irritations would win the day and gloom and unfulfilled expectations would slather everyone with despondency. Adults would desperately turn to TV, youth and teens to video games, as a way to disconnect from person-to-person contact.  Children, surrounded by piles of [Read More…]

An unsweetened Lent, the third week

I am not complaining. Hear this: I am not complaining. I’m in Los Angeles staying at the medical center hotel on the UCLA campus. The only people who can stay here are those who are doing some sort of testing or procedure at UCLA. They provide daily breakfast.  I’m here for the final testing to [Read More…]

The new Apple iPhone

I have just spent the last hour and a half in the Apple Store purchasing a new iPhone. As if I needed it. Nonetheless, the attraction of the best, the brightest, the shiniest technology finally won me over. In other words, I’m just like millions of others. The same thing happens with theology. Who wants [Read More…]

Smaller Portions in 2014, Please

Over Christmas, I saw, Philomena, a well-done movie of evil masquerading as good, the need for closure, the temptation for revenge, and the freedom of forgiveness. Major human life themes combined with great acting: compelling and captivating. The story revolves around an Irish woman trying to find her son, adopted nearly 50 years before.  When [Read More…]

We Do Love Our Tools

Humans are tool-making and tool-using creatures.  Our opposable thumb and finger grasp strength provide the springboard to create and use machines as extensions of our bodies and brains. We are also tool-purchasing creatures.  Tools to cook, tools to communicate, tools to study, tools to build, tools to create, tools to clean, tools to repair, tools [Read More…]

Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

Dear Friendly, Was Jesus really born on December 25th?  All these songs about snow and cold and shepherds sleeping outside in the fields in icy winter don’t make sense to me. Signed, Not So Sure About This. Dear Not So Sure, I was just a child when I heard some radio preacher say that Jesus [Read More…]

On Earth As It Is In Heaven, Initial Reflections on “Everything Must Change” Clergy Retreat

I read this New York Times Magazine article with fascination, drawn into the beauty of the life of people on a Greek island.  The writer has been seeking to find the key to their extraordinarily long lives. Their food is simple, homegrown, primarily vegetarian, and herbal teas and homemade wines are consumed daily.  Exercise is [Read More…]

Anything But That!

The time leading to Easter has long been seen in many Christian traditions as the yearly opportunity to take a good, hard look at the state of our souls and ask the question, “Do I need a Savior?” A great way to engage in that interior journey is to undergo a fast.  A fast, the [Read More…]

Week Three of Lent

We’re about a third of the way through the season of Lent.  The roots of the fast should be beginning to form, possibly even a few green shoots coming up now as we use this time for good self-examination, the development of holy habits, and the continuation of our observance of our chosen fast. I [Read More…]