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 […]

The Bread of Life

Living life as a Christian is, at least in part, a matter of practices, doing Christian things, developing habits of faith: praying, worshipping, singing, sharing, giving. Augustine wrote about cultivating the habit of Christian virtue in terms of four specific forms of love. When scholars take up the topic they are inclined to use the […]

On Change and Transition

When I arrived at Fourth Presbyterian Church in the summer of 1985 many in the congregation could not envision a future without Elam Davies. There was great skepticism about the new minister who would no doubt start to change things, maybe even beloved traditions and practices and who, simply, was not Elam Davies. Transitions, especially […]

Preach About God

When I have occasion to visit a seminary or divinity school and talk with students I am impressed that they seem to know why they are there and what they believe. My recollection is that I enrolled in order to figure out what I believed and whether or not I believed at all. I showed […]