Are there any adults in the room?

The child has taken over. Right now, it appears the only adult in the room is the new Chief of Staff. I wonder how long he will last. Unless you have buried your head in the sand and intentionally clogged your eyes and ears, you know that the POTUS has brought on John F. Kelly as his new Chief of Staff. Kelly, a Marine and former Commanding General, has been part of Trump’s Cabinet as the Homeland Security Director. His bio paints… Read more

When Is It Time to Die? The Charlie Gard Situation

Charlie Gard’s parents have decided to give up the fight. I ache for them in every cell in my body. Read more

What the UMC can learn from the GOP health care debacle

The GOP just doesn’t care about health care and the well-being of millions. And the so-called “orthodox” portion of the UMC doesn’t care about anything but getting their way. As for what is Jesus-like about that, I am unable to say. It’s over now. The Senate Republicans, hopelessly divided, can no longer dream of passing their version of a health care (or death care as many term it) bill. They have two options before them. The first is to reach… Read more

Musings on Texas Bathroom Bills: The Universal Need to Urinate and Defecate

May those who think they are doing good and being “biblical” by supporting these unimaginably cruel Texas Bathroom Bills take the time to reconsider and repent in the name of our shared humanity. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The Texas Legislature is considering regulating who uses what restroom. Lawyers and law enforcement say this is a non-issue because any threat to safety—such as assault and voyeurism—is already illegal. Teachers say the only privacy at risk is the transgender child’s whose already marginalized identity… Read more

Putin, Russia, U.S. Sanctions, Adoptions, and Trump

Russia’s main hope for economic survival is the release from US sanctions. “Adoptions” is code for “lift the sanctions.” We recently took a Baltic Sea cruise that included several days in St. Petersburg, Russia. In between the glittering highlights of that fascinating city, we caught the glimpses of what life is like for people who live in Russia. Several were astoundingly open with us about their lives and about how they feel about Putin and about Trump. Here’s a summary:… Read more

Never again, Auschwicz: Do Not Be Fooled–It Could Happen Here

Do not ever think that we, too, couldn’t have our Auschwitz. All it takes is one unaccountable, autocratic, loyalty-demanding leader. Never Again, Auschwitz I stood in the place that had once been a Jewish theater in Amsterdam. Bad enough as all Jews were by then excluded from regular stage activities and work. But when the Nazis showed up, they turned the Jewish haven at the time into a registration spot for deportation. I started weeping. I could not stop the… Read more

Holy relics, skepticism and the power of shared liturgy

 I am a hearty skeptic of such things as Holy Relics. I dismiss them as superstitious, as ways to make money off the ignorant and uninformed, as the acts of charlatans trying to squeeze even more money out of the desperately poor. Maybe I am wrong about their purpose. Our recent cruise of northern Europe and the Baltic Sea ports was not supposed to be a religious pilgrimage. Nonetheless, my husband and I are the moths to the flame when… Read more

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: do you believe anything in the Bible is true?

I believe Bible is true. But that doesn’t mean it is historical in the sense that it records verifiable historical events nor does the truth of the Holy Scriptures make those words reliable scientific textbooks. Ms. Thomas, Is there any part of the Bible that you DO think is literal? So far you’ve stated that the information in Revelations is not to be taken literally and today the stories of Noah’s building the ark and Jonah are not true. I… Read more

Unanswered Prayers, God’s Silence and the Demand for the Instantly Miraculous

We demand in our prayers instant healing, instant riches, instant love, instant solutions to all our problems. We insist God intervene consistently with miraculous answers to all human dilemmas. A few weeks ago, I attempted to answer this question: What good is prayer, in a practical sense?  When I try to pray for the nation these days, I remember the many people who prayed for their lives during WWII. What use is prayer, at the doors of the gas chamber?… Read more

The lives of the rich and privileged: a Christian conundrum

We are currently in St. Petersberg, Russia. This is the city that Peter the Great, rich and privileged, built. I don’t want to dismiss his accomplishments, which are impressive. But Peter himself didn’t build this city on an unwelcoming swamp out of nothingness. “There are pickpockets waiting at the top of steps. Hold your valuables close and do not buy from anyone.” So our guide, Alex, told us as we emerged from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersberg, Russia. We… Read more

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