But it is a curse, and thus ordained by God. Or is it part of a troubling family pattern, one you can change? Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother all lost a child in childbirth.  I lost my first daughter when my grandmother took her from me and put her up for adoption.  I later learned that this daughter lost three children, with one of them dying. I am wondering if you think there is such… Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

 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

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

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

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