Category: Blog Posts

The Problem of Valuing Freedom More than Love

Love, not freedom, is the highest Christian virtue. We are set free in order to love. We are not supposed to be chiefly in love with freedom. Love is expressed in the twin commandments to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. (Over time, I’ve joined with those theologians who claim that these commandments […]

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Post 9-11 Lessons from my Humbling Garden

We bought our current house seven years ago. We were attracted by the idea of working nearly 2/3 of an acre of yard into gardens of edible delights—for us humans. We started with a Bermuda grass front lawn, a mixed grass backyard, dozens of once-tended plantings that fell on hard times when the previous owner […]

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Elimination Diet for the Bible in Public Life

Can the Bible be used to interpret American public life at all without abusing scripture? Sure, I know that is a loaded question, with the two words “without abusing” the most loaded. Over the past four years, I’ve written numerous blog posts critical of how supporters of the former administration misused the Bible to advance […]

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Irresponsible Claims

My erstwhile mother-in-law was a heavy smoker and adamantly cared more for her freedom to smoke than for accepting responsibility for the ill-effects of her second-hand smoke. A powerful memory for me is watching my uncoached toddler walk up to her while she drew on one stick of her 2-3 packs per day. He waved […]

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That Twinkie Wrapper from 1972

You know that allegedly science-based parable about the frog in slowly heated water that will boil to death, not knowing what is gradually happening to it, rather than leap out when the water gets too hot? Well, the parable is false. A frog will jump out when the water gets too hot. But, if you […]

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The Immorality of Politics as War

One might think the world should have learned from the so-called Crusades, from the religious wars that devastated swaths of 16th and 17th century Europe, from genocidal acts of the 20th century, or from the “where empires go to die” conflicts in Afghanistan that a state of perpetual war creates hell on earth. And hell […]

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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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