August 12, 2020

Once when Antony was living in the desert his soul was troubled by boredom and irritation. He said to God, ‘Lord, I want to be made whole and my thoughts do not let me. What am I to do about this trouble, how shall I be cured?’ After a while he got up and went outside. He saw someone like himself sitting down and working, then standing up to pray; then sitting down again to make a plait of palm… Read more

July 31, 2020

During World War II… “A teenager was riding in a crowded compartment with five strangers.  His mother had given him a sandwich wrapped in a handkerchief for his lunch because rationing made food for travelers hard to come by.  Noon came and he was hungry, but he didn’t want to eat his lunch in front of the other passengers.  He decided to wait until they got out their lunches, but no one moved.  An hour passed and then another.  Finally,… Read more

July 27, 2020

For a long time, sin and guilt were really unpopular subjects in American life. Until recently, if they figured in the American psyche at all, it was the toxic projection of antiquated religious ideas, and its best antidote was good therapy.  Only on a rare occasion did it feature in public conversations.  The experience of Tiger Woods comes to mind.  People weighed in on his personal trials, declared him guilty and recommended that he seek absolution in a public confession-come-conversation… Read more

July 19, 2020

It’s not often that I connect the Sunday lectionary with my observations here.  But The parable of tares, or weeds (Mt 13:24-30, 35-43) offers wisdom for the circumstances we face today.  For reference, here is the text: The Parable of the Weeds 24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[a] among the wheat and went… Read more

July 10, 2020

There has been more than one article of late that rightly describes the progressive politics of our day as a religion.  And there is a good case to be made for that perspective.  In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, progressive political voices have offered up a theology of sin, an approach to repentance, and – in fairly open-ended terms – a vision of a perfected future.  For those who like theological labels, that’s a hamartiology, soteriology and eschatology.  There… Read more

July 4, 2020

Some years ago, serving as Canon Educator at Washington National Cathedral, I was asked to host visitors from the Middle East.  There were five or six of them, all a part of the Meridian Institute, a program sponsored by the United States Information Agency.  Their focus was religion in America and, in particular, the relationship between church and state. The conversation was intrinsically confusing for my guests.  After all, there I was, an Episcopal priest, dressed in clerics, serving a… Read more

June 25, 2020

An increasing number of articles have been written to address the challenges of leading today’s church.  Many focus on the Covid-19 epidemic and not long ago, my own seminary sponsored a panel discussion devoted to the specific challenges that arose out of the protocols put in place by our hospitals.  More recently, writers have turned their attention to the issues arising from the racial tensions that were surfaced by the murder of George Floyd. Many of those articles have been… Read more

June 16, 2020

  In order to understand the relationship between Christian spirituality and engagement with the needs of the world, one must begin by recognizing that for most of 1500 years, the two were part of the whole. The journey inward led to a journey outward, or to put it another way, one’s relationship with God and one’s relationship with others are inextricably linked to one another.  In both the Old Testament and the New Testament this principle is a constant. The… Read more

June 2, 2020

I spent a bit of time today listening to Ms. Sara Houranpay describe the destruction of her family’s restaurant in Portland, Oregon.  Her family immigrated to the United States thirty years ago and in a matter of minutes their restaurant was destroyed.  It is located in a racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood, and the restaurant has a reputation for welcoming people from every walk of life. There were no police there to protect them.  One patrol car passed by but… Read more

May 27, 2020

The four thugs in uniform who committed murder today do not represent me. They do not represent the people of Minnesota or this nation. They do not represent white people. They represent what happens when people become their own gods. People who act out of hatred and cruelty. People who lust after dominance and power. People who hide behind and pervert justice. They are the people who live in every generation, who exploit the defenseless and call cruelty courage. They… Read more

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