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There are signs that we are living in a world of emotionally charged, high anxiety. We are a glob of an emotionally entangled mess. We see this in the hyped-up presentation of news editorials. We see it in the “outrage” of people who have no idea of any facts, only the emotional content of a…

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I watched it. I watched the whole thing. I watched the worst example of public discourse (I know it cannot be called that) I have ever witnessed. There have been more colorful name-calling examples, mostly by newspaper editors or party spokespersons. One of the more famous was penned about J…

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Christian history is fascinating in every century but the transition in the fourth century from persecuted to being the official religion of the empire is difficult to top.

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I really hate to break this to all our young voters, but the current election cycle is not the most important one in our history. We are in no greater existential national crisis today than we were in the years immediately after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Or around 1812. Or …

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There is a constant fight for who gets to tell stories of the past. It is a matter of perspective. I was taught the “received story” of the United States as a child. The telling of that story has changed some since then, but it is still basically the same story.

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I do not write to pick sides, although sometimes it may be obvious which side I am on. Some people do write to pick sides. That is not my intention. I write to think on paper, and in doing so anyone that reads is carried along with my personal attempts to make sense of the world I am in. Agr…

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There will always be “glass half full” and “glass half empty” people. Both will always be right. Personally, the thing that keeps me more on the half full side are all the half empty people that spoke and wrote in the past. It is those who accurately described catastrophic events or put thei…

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Because the United States has such deep and important roots in Christianity, it is always going to be difficult to separate the two. One can make an argument that the United States is the most Christian nation on earth. (A possible exception is the Vatican). One can also make an argument tha…

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It would be foolish to compare today with the devastation wrought by the plague of the 14th century. What today we call the “black death.” Most of the destruction happened within a few years, but it recurred for at least another five decades after that. It took England 150 years to regain it…

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Eighty-seven years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln delivered perhaps the most famous speech in American History. In its text is the ironic line, “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” This is, of course the Gettysburg Address, …

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With my schedule disrupted like most of us, I decided to take the plunge and do something I have been putting off for years. You got it. I finally picked up War and Peace. It is my nighttime reading just before I go to bed, so it may yet take me a while to get through it. Yep. Just for fun. …

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A bubbling stream, a few animals around, a partly cloudy sky, about 70 degrees and a wisp of a breeze- hopefully right after a rain. The birds are singing and there are absolutely no bugs anywhere. It is quiet. That poster says Psalm 23. (We forget about “the valley of the shadow of death”, …

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On the one hand, everyone needs to do their part and take care of themselves. On the other hand, everyone needs to look after their neighbor and take care of each other. Both of these statements are perfectly true, but if one is taken on its own without the other life would become unbalanced…

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There is an elephant in every room of our lives. It is a big bull elephant. Rather than being left alone and ignored, he is raging through the house out of control and then going after the neighbors. There is no one left unaffected, regardless of faith, work status, or income. It takes some …

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What a strange Lenten and Passover season we are finishing. I hope never to experience one like it again. We are away from our normal gatherings at this time of year. However, this one is perhaps more like those original events that any we will experience. Each family making its own preparat…

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I want to thank all of you who are reading each week. I am encouraged by the notes and comments that you occasionally send my way, even the ones that correct or challenge from time to time.

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The national efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus have played a dramatic role in changing people’s work, school and public gatherings over the past several weeks. And in response, a majority of Americans have prayed for the end of the pandemic, according to a poll from the Pew…

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This is how this always happens. This is how disaster overtakes us. We can never see it coming. We have learned to avert, be prepared, and predict a lot of things over the past centuries. But we are still surprised every ten or fifteen years or so by a disease, an attack, greed, or some othe…

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One of my favorite stories about Jesus and his disciples begins with a question about who to blame. Jesus walked by a blind man and those following him asked, “Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2, RSV). Jesus immediately turned from assigning blam…

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There are some basic rules to living a moral life that most people recognize. One that shows up in several places is the principle of “first, do no harm.” There is a myriad of variations of this principle. That probably means it is a good one. The only problem with it standing on its own is …

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When people will not listen to what we are saying, we are left with no choice but to act. This is at the root of most massive acts of civil disobedience. Acting is also generally riskier than writing or speaking — although those can get us into trouble as well. We may well remember famous wo…

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I refuse to pick a side and I also refuse to be neutral. Watching the State of the Union address was like watching some sort of combination of Saturday Night Live and Madam Secretary. It was part drama and part comedy. This is not intended to be disrespectful. It is how I felt as I was watching.

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I find that it takes effort to keep even the good practices of my life from skidding off the road on one side or the other. Most self-examining people take time for reflection or meditation on a regular basis. It is a healthy practice, regardless of one’s faith — or lack thereof.

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is bracing for more revelations about alleged financial wrongdoing and mismanagement with the publication next week of two books that underscore the challenges Pope Francis is facing to reform the Holy See.

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VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis canonized two nuns from what was 19th century Palestine on Sunday in hopes of encouraging Christians across the Middle East who are facing a wave of persecution from Islamic extremists.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The number of Americans who don't affiliate with a particular religion has grown to 56 million in recent years, making the faith group researchers call "nones" the second-largest in total numbers behind evangelicals, according to a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday.

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TURIN, Italy (AP) — Turin's archbishop says interest in the Shroud of Turin is so keen that many pilgrims who already saw the burial cloth some believe covered Jesus are traveling back to the northern Italian city to see it again when it goes back on display starting Sunday.

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Nowadays, what used to be accomplished by writing a check or paying in cash takes only the swipe of a card or the click of a mouse button.