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 […]

Dad’s Kind of Republican

I think about my father a lot these days. He would have loved the dignity and stateliness of former First Lady Barbara Bush’s Episcopal funeral last week. The Bush’s were, and are, Dad’s kind of Republican: civil, courteous, generous, motivated by a sense of responsibility for the common good, not in spite of their wealth […]

No Story So Divine

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow… Lamentations 1:12 For as long as I can remember I have been acutely aware of the conflict Christians experience during Holy Week. Long gone are the days when the culture acknowledged the sanctity of […]

A Congregation Gathering for Worship

Pastors are busy on Sunday morning, stretched thin, attending to a thousand and one details: have all the ushers shown up, are there enough bulletins, is the sanctuary warm, sidewalks clear of snow? Are the musicians in place, is the family on time and every child present and accounted for, and looming over all, is […]

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 […]

The Light Shines in the Darkness

I’m finding it difficult to be hopeful this Christmas. The slow, steady, daily attacks on what I hold dear and what I cherish about my country are eroding my spirit, even the week before Christmas. My government is…. – loosening regulations designed to protect my grandchildren from the effects of environmental degradation, – lifting restrictions […]

An Absence of Humility

153 Evangelical leaders convened recently in Nashville under the auspices of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood and issued a statement on sexuality. Signers include some of the most prominent and influential leaders in the Evangelical family: James Dobson, Richard Land, James Robinson, Tony Perkins. The statement targets gay, lesbian and transgender persons […]

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 […]