The Beloved Community

I still regret not going to Hattiesburg, Mississippi with Gary Hickok.  Gary and I were the only Presbyterians in our class at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He and Maryjo and Sue and I became friends and when Gary and I graduated and were ordained as Presbyterian Ministers of Word and Sacrament we stayed […]

The Last, Best Hope

In recent weeks thoughtful, distinguished journalists and scholars have been suggesting that the era of American global leadership is coming to an end. For the last three and a half years I have watched in dismay as a president and his administration systematically dismantled, one by one, the elements of American global influence and leadership. […]

Eastertide

In the wisdom of ancient Christian tradition Easter is not a one-day event but a season, the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost. The idea is that the message of Resurrection is so huge, so transcendent that it cannot be contained in a one-day observance. As I write we are halfway through the Season of […]

Humble & Riding on a Donkey

I’m feeling like a displaced person, ripped from the familiar home where I have lived for years and set down in a strange, alien place. Since I was ordained a Presbyterian Minister of Word and Sacrament in June, 1963, and before that even as a student minister from 1960-63, time has been marked for me […]

Christian Love & 8th Grade Girls Catholic League Basketball

I love whimsical contrasts. The Diocese of Chicago Parochial School System is huge, I am told something like the 5th largest school system in the country, public or private: 78,000 students in 217 schools, 183 elementary schools, 34 high schools. Sports rivalries within the system can be intense. When we arrived in Chicago 35 years […]

Across the Divide

Our minister, Shannon Kershner, read Matthew 5: 13-16 to us Sunday morning, told us we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world and challenged us to start acting like it. Shannon said that a clergy friend of hers was invited to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last week so […]

A Ray of Light

Long ago, in childhood and youth, I loved the weeks of heightened excitement and anticipation before Christmas: the first festive decorations appearing in store windows, never before Thanksgiving back then, Christmas trees for sale on corner lots, and at home searching through the pages of the mammoth Sears catalog for toys to add to my […]

Hold to the Good

Recently I was invited to address a monthly meeting of a group of adults at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago where I served as pastor for 26 years. The invitation included the suggestion that the topic might be “Hold to the Good”, a phrase from the Charge to the Congregation that I used every […]

Created Equal

One of our favorite summer time activities is people-watching in a small park one block from where we live. Jane Byrne Park, named for a late former mayor, is flanked by the iconic Water Tower, a high gothic tower, part of the old pumping station across the street, still providing water from Lake Michigan to […]

Church With Rachel

I sat beside Rachel in worship Sunday. Rachel is my 24-year-old granddaughter. She is a young woman with Down Syndrome. She is part of a remarkable program at National Louis University, lives in university housing, works part time with infants and toddlers in a day care center. She rides the El and the Chicago Transport […]