November 21, 2022

A billboard carries the message for a local church. It includes the words “too blessed to be stressed.” The word “prosperity” rings in my head every time I see it. Prosperity gospel preachers and believers lack imagination. In their world, one cannot both enjoy blessings and live with stress. If a person feels bad, then they conclude that person is not among “the elect.” This lack of imagination means failing at empathy. People would not practice compassion for others until... Read more

November 18, 2022

The Members Only jackets of my teenaged years illustrate how I view those times. I, of course, wore an imitation. No label described me as a member of the elite circle. It was the same with my Sears knock off of Izod shirts. I was disgusted with the dragons that stood in place of the alligators. I tore them off. The traces of glue could still be seen on the shirts. People asked, “Why I tore off the alligators.” A... Read more

November 15, 2022

“Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 5:5) I walked around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania the last few days. Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, says no words spoken or actions by dignitaries can make the site any more holy than the full measure of devotion demonstrated by the soldiers. He wrote stirring stuff, for sure. But what really makes a place holy? I have wrestled with this question... Read more

November 7, 2022

Have you ever considered there is a difference between winning and victory? One is the action of achieving. The other is the action achieved. I often ponder these slight distinctions. It is easy to make too much out of them. When we look at states of being, we are confronted with the difference.  In sports someone may claim victory before the game is over. But the team is actually only winning. Decisions to turn away from a game by leaving... Read more

November 3, 2022

There is the center. The point that is truly equidistant from the edges. Then there is the middle. It appears good to many people to be of the middle. And there are many good people who inhabit that grayish area. But there is also a ridiculous middle. This is an area of false equivalencies, rights to every opinion, and looking for good when there is none. It is the place of alternative facts and “how do we really know?” The... Read more

October 31, 2022

I am a violent person who believes nonviolence is necessary. I do not claim to be a nonviolent person. It would not be a true statement. But I have worked on becoming nonviolent for some time now. And the more I work toward it, the clearer my understanding becomes. The empires of the world are built on violence. Violence is the enemy of freedom. Therefore, to be truly free requires a commitment to nonviolence. There is no freedom of thought... Read more

October 27, 2022

I get caught up in the melodies of life. The rhythm often escapes me. In other words, I lose track of the timing. Life is lived as one long series of notes that repeat. But the beat is hard to find. Strangely enough I thought being a member of the clergy would help my find an appropriate rhythm to my life. But it does not happen often. It is as though someone claps at the wrong time and is not... Read more

October 24, 2022

Have you ever had the problem with someone not returning emails, texts, or phone calls? When people do that to Kathryn, she says “crickets.” It is a familiar trope in television meaning silence. Now we use other terms. Ghosting comes to mind. However, when we hear crickets at dusk we are not hearing silence. We are merely hearing less noise. Crickets vs. Noise Summer nights are filled with many sounds. Bird’s flapping their wings can be heard. Cicadas, June Bugs,... Read more

October 20, 2022

Did Jesus practice inclusiveness? Not too long ago, I saw a meme claiming Jesus ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners not to be inclusive but to call them to repentance. Curious. I hear the distant voices of ancient Pharisees. What is not inclusive about calling people to repentance? I find no reason to think the two are mutually exclusive. Again, while discussing this with another clergy person, he claimed these people repented at the preaching of John the... Read more

October 17, 2022

I ask myself every week. What would St. Paul think about the value the Church places on conformity? I grew up hearing the mixed message. “Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is — what is good pleasing and mature.” (Romans 12:2) The message was bizarre. Do not do the bad things the people of the world do. God’s will is do... Read more

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