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 […]

I Don’t Know Everything & I Wish I Knew More

Star gazing not only invites but almost insists on serious reflection. Years ago, lying on my back at the beach with a young son, looking up into a brilliant star-filled night sky, he broke the long silence I was enjoying by asking, unbidden, the ultimate ontological question: “Daddy, who made God?” The June 10 edition […]

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 […]

Becoming like Little Children

When Jesus told his disciples one day that unless they became like children they would not qualify for entrance to the Kingdom he surely didn’t mean childishness. They had just asked a very adult question, a typically human question about status and privilege: “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom?” His response – “become like […]

A Church of Human Beings

Frederick Buechner has been my companion and mentor over the years without even knowing it. I have learned much from him and have enjoyed thoroughly reading his graceful, uniquely descriptive and imaginative writing. I suspect that I have read almost everything he wrote and published and continue, now and then, to pull one of his […]

Reading by the Ocean

I don’t know how the ocean got in my blood, but it did. Even though we lived hundreds of miles from the ocean my parents talked about it and told me about it: water as far as the eye can see, waves rolling and splashing, soft sand to play in and build castles with, and […]

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 […]

Weep Together

The Middle East Peace Talks appear to be at a dead end. It does not seem that either Israel or the Palestinians have the will to negotiate meaningfully. At the last minute Israel reneged on a promise to release Palestinian prisoners and, for good measure, announced the construction of yet more housing in territory claimed […]