If the Answer is “Yes.”

I have resisted the temptation to weigh in more than I already have on the Donald Trump phenomenon because we are saturated. Television news and the newspapers can’t keep their eyes off of him and I confess that I watch the 7:00 a.m. news because I don’t want to miss the latest outlandish thing he […]

Labor of Love

Ever since Labor Day I find myself thinking a lot about my father. He was a laborer all his life. Labor Day was not a big deal in my home other than signaling the end of summer, swimming pools closing, back to school looming. Dad displayed the flag on our front porch as he did […]

Beach Reading: 2016 Edition

There is something about being at the beach, in addition to virtually commanding one to slow down, sit, look, listen and ponder the magnificence of creation, that has always invited me to read. It has always been that way, even with five children and assorted friends to feed, supervise and entertain, when whatever reading I […]

A Blow to My Optimism

I am, and always have been, a hopeless optimist. I always expect that my team will win, that everything will turn out alright. My Christian faith tells me that there is always a light in the darkness and that the darkness will not overcome the light. But my optimism has been dealt a severe blow […]

This Land So Fair and Free

Nationalism seems like it ought to be synonymous with patriotism but nationalism is actually very different and much more than patriotism. Webster defines patriotism as “love for or devotion to one’s country.” Nationalism, according to the dictionary, is “exalting one nation above all others, promoting its culture and interests as opposed to other nations or […]

The Little Ones Among Us

In a recent family conversation about the Trump phenomenon which quickly turned into what Biblical scholars call a “communal lament”, we concluded that the best, most effective thing we can do is ignore him: stop listening to his every word, stop fixating on his television appearances, stop searching the newspaper for the most recent ridiculously […]

A Very Hopeful Prospect

People my age have come a long way and have seen American culture evolve dramatically and profoundly. Among the many powerful images of a woman clinching a major American political party’s nomination for president the most powerful was not in the newspaper. Rather it came in the form of a text from my daughter-in-law in […]

A Scottish Love Affair

I began a private, very personal love affair with Scotland decades ago when I first learned that Buchanan is a Scottish clan name with its own colorful tartan and coat of arms and that our Presbyterian church came from Scotland. The more I learned about Scotland, Scottish history, Highland culture, the Scottish Reformation, the more […]

Simply Being Kind

One of the occupational hazards of the preaching vocation is that not everyone likes, or agrees with, what we say – particularly when we push on beyond the words of scripture to the behavioral and social ramifications. On occasion, rare to be sure, listeners tell us, in no uncertain terms that they did not like […]

The Unconscious Revolutionary

It was Confirmation day at our church last Sunday. Twenty-two 8th graders sat in the front pews, stood up and answered some questions about their faith and promised to be faithful members of the congregation and of the church wherever they go in the future, and knelt as the minister and Elders laid hands on […]