Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
One of the most striking features of our degraded public dialogue is our tendency to "double down." When confronted with a failing, or challenged because our assertions seem to have no connection with reality, we don't pause to consider whether we might need to modify our position. That would be a sign of weakness, or so we're told.
Over the last few months, I’ve often traveled north on I-26/US 23 into the broken heart of eastern Kentucky’s coal country. The land looks weary.
Less than three years ago I was very excited to move out to the country. But less than a year ago we moved back into town. Honestly, it's a little embarrassing. Moving back to town was a good decision on many levels—the right decision for many reasons. Yet this time of year I do miss my three acres. I’ve been thinking lately about what I could call our “failed experiment” but instead choose to name our “country living adventure.”
What exactly is a golden calf? You know the story. Moses was up on the mountain for a long time working with God on plans for a place of worship and the rituals to go along with it. Meanwhile, the people down below figured he had abandoned them and asked Aaron to do the same according to their own plans, which he did by constructing a golden calf and declaring a festival to YHWH. He didn’t declare a festival to some other god, he declared it to the LORD, and that was just fine with the people. I don’t think this story is about a statue of a calf made of gold, nor do I think it’s about worshiping idols.
One line I read a few weeks ago about congregational life together has stuck with me in a big way. I’ve brought it up, in one way or another, several times already. In a Christian Century article, “More People, Looser Ties” David Eagle drops the sentence, “Think of it this way: a congregation with 100 married couples today has 1,000 fewer hours of potential volunteer labor to tap than it did in 1970.”
I had a wedding earlier this month. It was my first wedding here, in my new-ish call. The couple at whose wedding I officiated are fairly new members of the congregation. She came and visited not long after I started. A little later, he visited as well. I have some affection for the first few people who showed up the same hot summer that I did.
There’s a bagel shop near my daughters’ school where I sometimes grab a cup of coffee while killing time between appointments. I’m not sure how many times I had passed through the shop’s glass doorway before I finally noticed a sticker that someone had stuck there at eye level.
In Acts 9:36-43, we read again how the power that Jesus had has been imparted to the disciples. In Acts we've already read about the lame and sick and demon-possessed being healed by the disciples. They're doing amazing things. But in this story we read about Peter raising Tabitha from the dead.
Oh, I don't believe that title. It's clickbait. I admit it. Mea culpa. Justice matters, deeply and significantly, for anyone who cares about what Jesus taught or about the explicitly stated intent of Torah. It's just that ... well ... social justice does not provide the teleological framework that integrates me existentially.