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 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 […]

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 […]

Humble and Riding on a Donkey

If there is anything better than a large group of children of all ages on Palm Sunday, marching down the center aisle of the church waving palm branches while the congregation sings the great Palm Sunday hymn, “All Glory, laud and Honor To Thee Redeemer King, To whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas […]

Dangerous Words

One of the most vexing and sobering historical questions is how, in the 1920’s and 30’s, a nation and culture that produced sublime poetry and music (Goethe and Bach), important philosophers (Hegel and Nietzsche), and elegant theology (Luther and Bultmann), evolved into a murderous, racist, militaristic dictatorship. Much has been written about the anomaly of […]

Building Walls instead of Bridges

I simply do not know what to say about Donald Trump. I grew up in a home where what was going on in the world and in the nation was talked about regularly at the dinner table. Politics was often a spirited discussion between my father, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican and conservative in almost all his […]

Where Is God in this Mess?

One of my most precious memories that returns every Christmas is the catastrophe that resulted from recruiting my then young children to join me at the kitchen table to help assemble a cardboard do-it-yourself crèche. Christians have been recreating the Bethlehem birth tableaux, mother and child, dutiful father, barn animals, shepherds and wise men , […]

Fear Not

Every day, it seems, Donald Trump says something outrageous, offensive, down right mean and frequently contrary to the very highest and noblest values upon which the United States of America is founded. And every day his poll numbers rise. What in the world is going on? Pundits are scratching their heads. Republican Party leaders are […]

Advent with Rachel

I sat in a Presbyterian pew this morning, the first Sunday in Advent, with family members: son, daughter-in-law, grandson, two granddaughters – one of whom was Rachel Diane. It is Rachel’s 21st birthday today. Rachel is a young woman with Down syndrome. It is always a magnificent experience to worship God with her. Rachel is […]

To Love Your Neighbor

I have always thought that the conventional maxim – “religion and politics do not and should not mix” was not only wrong but misleading and downright silly. Of course they mix. We express our deepest values which often are rooted in our religious beliefs in how we live, how we order our priorities and spend […]