Of Practices, Presence and Peace

This month’s guest writer is the Rev. Dr. Rob Apgar-Taylor.   When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”…

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The Transliterate God

I was in a taxi yesterday stuck in slowly moving traffic and happened to glance at the car in the adjacent lane. The driver was thumb-twitching like crazy on his iPhone while his vehicle continued to move forward. I know we have laws against intoxicated drivers, but we should — if we don’t already —…

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Children in Church: Should We Ban Them or Bless Them?

Last Sunday, I was standing behind the communion altar saying the liturgy, most of which was cobbled together from the United Methodist hymnal and Anglican sources. As I was saying, “Now gathered at this table, O Lord of all Creation and remembering Christ crucified and risen, who was, and is and is to come,” a…

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You can credit (or blame) AOC for this column. I mean, she’s the inspiration for the meandering thoughts which follow. You see the initials of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez everywhere. AOC is the U.S. representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District. Shortening her name to AOC is a media thing. Much easier to use initials than her…

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Put Some Dinner in Your Church

By Henry G. Brinton   When I served a multicultural Presbyterian church in Alexandria, Virginia, older white parishioners didn’t always see eye-to-eye with younger African immigrants in the congregation. Disagreements arose over a variety of issues, including worship and church government. But when we sat down for international potluck dinners from time to time, the…

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The Liver Sermon

My grandparents on my mother’s side were German immigrants. When they hit America just before the war, they had no money, no kids and no English. But Grossmama and Grosspapa had plenty of food, especially spuds, which they heaped high on the kitchen table of their southern Idaho farmhouse. We kids liked to visit our…

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Many mysterious things happen in the life of a preaching pastor — like why the mike fails to work on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday morning; why the best-prepared sermon often falls flatter than roadkill on I-95; and conversely, why those sermons cobbled together at 6 a.m. Sunday are so often blessed with the fire…

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Not long ago, I returned from a two-week trip to Israel and the Palestinian West Bank with our youngest daughter, Deborah. She had never been to this part of the world, and it was my fifth trip, so naturally, she thought I’d be the perfect person to show her around. While there, I was able…

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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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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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