The Children

Christmas is over but a singular Biblical incident is haunting me this year. The Christian story, from the beginning, is set in the context of political power, insecurity and cruelty. “In the time of King Herod” is the way Matthew begins. The Magi, mysterious seers from the east- modern Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, following […]

Tikkun Olam

For years, at the conclusion of public worship, I have used words that come from St. Paul, written 2,000 years ago. “Go into the world in peace and courage. Hold to the Good. Honor all God’s children. Love and serve the Lord, Rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.” Last Sunday, as a guest preacher […]

A Celebratory Dance of Gratitude

I cannot remember being this concerned about my nation and its immediate future. An American political party, which began with the election of Abraham Lincoln and stood for staunch anti-communism, a robust international American leadership, a commitment to democratic values–freedom of speech, freedom of the press, open participation in self-government, free trade, and above all, […]

Good History

We all have ways of coping. Some have become compulsively obsessive about the news, network and cable, beginning every day with the 7:00 news to see if any new outrage has been committed overnight, any new allies insulted, any new payments made to hide yet another sexual dalliance, any new bullying insult leveled. These are […]

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 […]

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 […]