Category: Blog Posts

A Moment at Lucy’s Therapy Booth

Peanuts, the comic strip written by Charles Schulz from the 1950 until 2000, remains my favorite. I am grateful to my wife who found me a vintage Snoopy-as-professor, my go-to neckwear when recording lectures. In the vast Peanuts collection is classic scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” A melancholy Charlie Brown plops down at therapist […]

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Good Thing We Don’t Essentialize Identity

A woman’s family story claimed the family was 100 percent Irish. The family celebrated all things Irish. But then, through DNA ancestry testing, the woman discovered that her dad, who was adopted, was not Irish at all but Eastern European Jewish. That, and other revelations, led the woman to wonder who she actually was, as […]

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Grace for Clergy

Clergy health and well-being have been career-long interests for me. About 25 years ago, I explored the question as to why so many early Methodist circuit riders died or dropped out of ministry prior to their thirtieth year. I read more than 20 journals of 19th century Methodist itinerant preachers who lived long enough to […]

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Christianity Without Jesus in America

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times highlighted a statement President Biden made after 13 American soldiers, and three-score Afghans, were killed in Kabul. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Esau McCaully questioned the morality and theology of that statement, especially the […]

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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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