Category: Blog Posts

Pandemic of loneliness

About a century ago, there was an Edenic community in Roseto, Pennsylvania. No crime. Little heart disease despite the fact that residents ate fried meats, smoked stogies, and drank wine like it was the last day on earth. People lived long and good lives. In the latter part of the 20th century, researchers took note […]

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Change the Culture

Some years ago, there was a social media phenomenon that was centered on people holding up signs that were responses to the question, short-handed as “WDYDWYD?” Why do you do what you do? People responded by putting a few words on a signboard and holding the board. Signs such as, “Because I beat cancer and […]

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Split Realities

We live in weird times. Really weird, akin to alternative or split reality shows. When dyed-in-the-wool United Methodist Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2016, her religion—was clearly (I thought) evident in her public positions. Yet her religion seemed irrelevant to voters, many of which dismissed her as not religious. She ran against one of […]

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Change Is Possible

The 4th of July fell on a Sunday this year. The congregation I attend, the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, has a tradition of making July a “revival” month. Most years, that means more singing and less liturgy. But for the 4th, the normal three-service schedule was replaced by a “unity” service. The […]

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With Apologies to Mr. Lincoln

Twelve score and five years ago our forebears brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, Bondage, and Theft, but dedicated to the proposition that all human beings are created equal. Now in the 21st century we are engaged in a powerful cultural battle, testing whether that nation, or any nation so […]

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God Blesses… and Condemns

This is the third of four sermon starters for the 4th of July weekend. I’m taking common Christian religious claims about the U.S. and re-examining them.  Readers are free to use these ideas. In each sermon starter, I endeavor to interpret the nation’s life in light of the nation’s value claims, history, and Christian scriptures […]

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Canceling “Chosenness”

This is the second of four sermon starters for the 4th of July weekend. I’m taking common Christian religious claims about the U.S. and re-examining them. Last week was “In God We Trust.” Next week will be “God bless America.” Readers are free to use these ideas. In each sermon starter, I endeavor to interpret […]

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In God We (Don’t) Trust

This is the first of 4 sermon starters for July 4th weekend. Preachers are free to use them. In each sermon, I endeavor to interpret this moment in the nation’s life in light of both the nation’s value claims and Christian scriptures. I ran for the cross country team my first year in college, until […]

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As Sick as Our Secrets

There is a true truism among family therapists and recovery groups: a family is as sick as its secrets. In this week during which the eyes of national reporters, and beyond, have turned to Tulsa, the insight about families is being employed to reflect on Tulsa’s history of keeping secrets, of nearly complete silence, for […]

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Creating Hell One Punishment at a Time

We live in a punishing society. We are a society that supports and tolerates a great deal of inflicting pain for moral reasons. Lots of us feel justified in pronouncing “I need to teach you a lesson,” and we’re not talking about math or grammar. If a system is organized to get the results it […]

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