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 […]

Dismantling Christmas

I do not like the task of dismantling our Christmas tree. Before I retired I always found a way to be unavailable when the day came to put Christmas away for another year, occupied with urgent responsibilities elsewhere. Now I have no excuse. It is Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas and the job must […]

On Christmas Eve

Ebeneezer Scrooge is one of the great characters in all fiction and his story In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is told and dramatized every December. It is one of the great morality tales in all of literature. It is also an eloquent articulation of the transformative power of love, which is the heart of […]

Don’t Make Me Come Down There: Part 3

Greetings on this Monday morning before Christmas! We hope you will enjoy the third and final installment of Dr. Buchanan’s sermon, “Don’t Make Me Come Down There,” delivered originally in December 2008. If you haven’t yet caught up with the first two installments they were published here on Hold to the Good last week. We hope you […]

TIME Magazine Person of the Year

The thinking of many Protestants about the Papacy is complex and conflicted. The very idea of a single head of the One Universal Church of Christ contradicts what many of us believe about leadership in the Church and what we hold as the God-given right of individuals to participate in decision-making and the choice of […]

Don’t Make Me Come Down There

This sermon, from December 7, 2008, will be posted in three installments.  Dr. Buchanan was eager to share it on Hold to the Good as we make our way through this busy and sometimes chaotic season. May it help you to find a few moments of peace and serve as a timely reminder of that […]

NOVEMBER 22, 1963

I had been an ordained Presbyterian minister exactly five months and was serving my first congregation, the Presbyterian Church in Dyer, Indiana, a small town in the Calumet region of Northwestern Indiana, 30 miles from downtown Chicago. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing that morning. I was at my desk […]