Tuesday, December 18, 2018
~ for those who have too much integrity to preach someone else's sermon!

The Back Page

When Holy Communion Isn’t So Holy

When Holy Communion Isn’t So Holy

One Sunday recently, a youngish man, thirtysomething, father of two girls, asked me if the communion bread had any nuts. “We have some nuts in the congregation,” I said, “but not in the bread.” He smiled graciously at this lame attempt at humor. I went on to say that I would confirm this and would…

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Tree of Life Synagogue Shootings: So What Now?

The shooting that took place Saturday, October 27, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, was, like all of the mass shootings we live through, an assault by hatred upon hope. I say hope, because most people of goodwill, and certainly people of faith, live with hope and by hope. Every day in Pittsburgh…

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Gratitude in a Culture of Outrage

We’re coming up on the two months of the year which unequivocally call for more gratitude, rejoicing and celebration than any other 61-day period on the calendar: November and December. The clarion call to be grateful is issued on Thanksgiving Day, and thereafter we’re reminded of the arrival of the transcendent, ineffable God in human…

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Change of Scenery

Every season has its own particular glory, and with that, downsides, too. Summer has so much to commend it that there’s no need for me to restate the obvious. But there are negatives that deserve mention. In the summer, wrote the Bard, “sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, / And often is his…

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Give It a Rest

My colleague Bob Kaylor is on sabbatical this summer. You can read about it in this issue on page 7. I think he’s doing something important — for himself, his ministry and his church. He will be a better person for it. Let’s talk about sabbaticals for a moment. I read an article recently the…

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The Apology

I am writing in the frenzied climate of the sexual abuse scandals hitting the political, media and entertainment industries. Big names are involved — Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey and others. Many of those implicated or accused have admitted wrongdoing and offered some sort of apology. But,…

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Doctrinal Statements: Do We Need Them?

Recently, I visited over coffee with a pastor I had never met. I had anticipated the meeting eagerly. He was, after all, a recent arrival in the community, and I believed we might have a good, collegial relationship. I still hope for this. He asked a lot of questions about cultural, political and doctrinal matters.…

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Designing for Joy

Joy is a hot topic right now. I base this conclusion on my extensive research — two books I read recently. They are: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans (Knopf, 2017), and Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and…

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I See Dead People

“I see dead people.” —Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), The Sixth Sense (1999) The church calendar has two three-day seasons, if you can call them that. I don’t know what to call them, actually. Three successive days in which something really holy and mysterious is going on — that’s all I know. The first is Good…

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Here I Waffle. I Can Do No Other. God Help Me!

Waffle2 [wof-uhl] Informal Verb, waffled, waffling. to speak or write equivocally: to waffle on an important issue. Equivocally [ih-kwiv-uh-klee] Adverb in a deliberately ambiguous or questionable way. in a way that is doubtful in nature or of uncertain significance It comes as a surprise to me to realize how much we dislike hesitation, waffling, indecision…

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