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 […]

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 […]

Living God’s Gift

I am certainly not unique in calling John Glenn my hero. His courage, patriotism, integrity and modesty inspired me. He was a decorated Marine pilot in WWII and the Korean War, test pilot, astronaut, and United States Senator. I well remember his first successful American earth orbit in 1962 in the tiny Mercury space capsule […]

A Scottish Love Affair

I began a private, very personal love affair with Scotland decades ago when I first learned that Buchanan is a Scottish clan name with its own colorful tartan and coat of arms and that our Presbyterian church came from Scotland. The more I learned about Scotland, Scottish history, Highland culture, the Scottish Reformation, the more […]

Community in a Time of Radical Individualism

It is intriguing that the Republican Presidential candidate who is leading in most polls at the moment, and the Democratic candidate very close to tying the front-runner are both outliers. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a bestseller by that title and defines outlier as “something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or […]

The Preacher’s Weekly Offering

Teri McDowell Ott, in her insightful reflection in a June issue of Christian Century, “Firm Ground for Ministry: Between the ego’s demands and the urge to hide”, set me to pondering, once again, the mysterious anomaly of preaching. From the earliest days of the church, preaching, proclamation of Gospel has been at the heart of […]

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 […]

The Power of Forgiveness

Even in Chicago, where there are multiple shootings every day and where little children are shot with such regularity that nobody pays much attention any longer – even in Chicago what happened at Charleston’s Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church feels uniquely and unspeakably evil. Nine people, African Americans, attending a Wednesday evening Prayer Meeting, were […]

Peace Among Religions

Jonathon Swift, (1667-1745), Irish poet, essayist and satirist, observed that “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another”. I have thought about Swift’s maxim on and off over the years in the midst of church conflicts over controversial issues that became hateful. I thought about […]