Grace Notes

There were two grace notes that lifted my spirit in an otherwise dreary weekend in Chicago. It’s been in the upper 40’s and 50’s and raining. This morning, to make matters even more unpleasant, a thick fog rolled in from the lake. The gloomy weather reflects my state of mind as I read about the […]

Presidents’ Day

I listened to Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” in the car this morning and had to pull over into a parking place because it was so powerful, so poignant, so moving. Henry Fonda was the narrator, reciting important sections of Abraham Lincoln’s public utterances: The Second Inaugural and, of course, the masterful Gettysburg Address. I never […]

Working for Something Better

A technological error resulted in the previous post being published without the final two paragraphs! Apologies to you all! Below is an updated version of “Working for Something Better” with the entirety of John’s reflections. Thanks for your patience.  The President’s racism hits me like a body blow. Of course I know that people talk […]

Working for Something Better

The President’s racism hits me like a body blow. Of course I know that people talk like that, and that both individual and institutional racism remain alive and well. But over the years I have harbored the hope and assumption that progress was being made. The old familiar words for racial minorities are no longer […]

Values Worth Fighting For

Churches across the globe, Protestant but also Roman Catholic, will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation later this month. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk and theology professor, nailed 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The church door served as the community bulletin board and […]

No More Silence

At first I thought that David Brooks was on to something in his New York Times editorial, August 8, 2017: “Getting Trump Out of My Brain.” I nodded in sympathy with Brooks’ observation: “For the past two years Trump has taken up an amazing amount of my brain space. My brain has apparently decided that […]

With Patience and Courage

I had a good idea recently. Stop hyperventilating about Donald Trump and focus instead on American history; really focus. It is helping me and I highly recommend it. There is, of course, so much to hyperventilate and worry about, something new every day: Russian interference in the election and the President’s obvious unconcern, his rejection […]

Like a Mustard Seed

I was in a pew with in the Kensington Community Church, United Church of Christ, with our San Diego family last Sunday. The preacher, the Rev. Darryl Kistler, reminded us that Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom of God and that whenever he was asked about the Kingdom, when it was coming and what […]

The Light Shines in the Darkness

It helps to remember under what circumstances it happened. The nation was occupied by a hated foreign power. Reminders were all around, a part of daily life: soldiers garrisoned in the cities and around the countryside, heavy taxation imposed, even on poor people, to finance the occupation. The holy temple, the presence of which reassured […]

All, Finally, Shall Be Well.

I wrote these words for my adult children, Diane, Susan, John, Andy and Brian, and with their permission share them with you. I stayed up watching until 2:15am to hear Trump’s speech – which was surprisingly mild and included words of gratitude for Hillary Clinton’s years of hard work and service to our country. I […]