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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How Did We Lose Our Democracy?

I don’t think I have ever been as sick of negative political campaign advertising as I was this year. The Illinois gubernatorial election was important. The state is in dreadful shape economically with huge debt and under-funded pension liabilities. The candidates had very different ideas about how to address the economic situation. Bruce Rauner won. […]

Reading Fiction and the Lessons of History

Sometimes it seems that reading a novel is an unnecessary luxury, a frivolous waste of time. The antidote to that questionable conclusion is a good novel you can’t put down, continue reading late into the night, even find yourself structuring your day so that you can get back to reading. It happened to me recently […]

Welcoming the Stranger

I was a stranger and you welcomed me.       Matthew 25: 35 The constitutional right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers is basic to a free society and our individual liberty. I respect that right so much that I am always reluctant to criticize a jury that renders a verdict […]

Sweet Freedom’s Song

Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees, Sweet Freedom’s song. The church I attended last Sunday made no mention of the fact that our nation would celebrate the 237th anniversary of its independence this week, nor that this week includes the 150th anniversary of the pivotal Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. […]