Who We Are and Whose We Are

The man simply can’t stop talking about himself. In the lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters building in Langley, Virginia, there is a large marble wall. In the wall are engraved 117 stars. Each star represents a C.I.A. agent who lost his or her life in the service of our country. There are no […]

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 Grateful Man

I knew it was coming some day but never imagined that it might actually happen. As of January 1, 2016, I am fully retired. For the first time since September 1960, I am no longer employed as a minister and no longer responsible for the life of an institution. I worked as a Presbyterian minister […]

One Wild and Precious Life

John Buchanan presented the following lecture at Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina, in January 2015.  People are curious about clergy. Even people who are not particularly church-oriented regard ministers and priests as curiosities. They think we are somehow fundamentally different from everybody else; that we are untouched by the normal matters of life that […]

Every Human Life

It is easy to forget what it was like in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center falling on September 11, 2001. Americans were afraid. The church I was serving at the time sits directly across the street from the 100 story John Hancock Building, […]

A Tiny, Blond Blessing

When there is a person or child with cognitive disabilities in the family, thoughtless euphemisms, even if well-meant, become irritating, often angering. Life with a cognitively challenged person is incredibly demanding. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that parenting a child with disabilities means added complexity and challenge to every normal, day-to-day activity. […]

The Virtue of Hope

We have to offer our apologies for failing to post this lovely reflection on hope, baseball, and the social politics of our beautiful city of Chicago. John penned these words several months ago now, in the midst of the dog days of summer. We hope it will remind you of those warmer times and the fact that […]

Faith, Hope, & Baseball

I just read that the Cubs’ starting rotation is the weakest in the Major Leagues. Everyone knows that you must have good pitching to win baseball games and so it looks like another long and dismal season for Cubs partisans. Last year was an example of futility for Chicago baseball. The Cubs and White Sox […]

Remembering Ralph

Ralph Kiner died yesterday. He was 91 but in my mind he is, and always will be, a strapping, young, home run slugging left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was Kiner who introduced me to the beauty and mystery of baseball, a love I have maintained and enjoyed all my life. I was eight […]

Don’t Make Me Come Down There: Part 3

Greetings on this Monday morning before Christmas! We hope you will enjoy the third and final installment of Dr. Buchanan’s sermon, “Don’t Make Me Come Down There,” delivered originally in December 2008. If you haven’t yet caught up with the first two installments they were published here on Hold to the Good last week. We hope you […]