Take Virgin Mary Off The Pedestal

There is nothing worse than being put up on a pedestal. And there has perhaps been no one whose usefulness to humanity has been more misused than the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord.

When we hear this Gospel of St. Luke passage read (1:26-38) on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the strains of countless […]

Thanksgiving and Harvest

Give us this day our daily bread.

Late harvest, November 24, 2017. Photo by John

The word Jesus used, that we now pray as “daily,” is a mystery word. In all of ancient Greek literature it is only used in Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of that model prayer our Lord gave us. So we have nothing to compare […]

Panic Is Not Pretty

Bilbo is the name of our gentle giant livestock guardian dog. His job is to defend the flock from the constant threat of coyotes and wandering dogs who go feral when they happen to get in with sheep.

Bilbo’s bark and the smell of his urine, has, so far, been quite enough to deter the coyotes […]

Turn the Page: Reflections on Lessons for Pentecost 24 A

The very first time I assisted with leading worship at my home congregation the very first thing I was assigned to do was to go to the altar and read aloud the introit from the big book lying there. I approached. I looked down at the open book, expecting to see the proper introit. But […]

Reflections on Lessons Pentecost 23 A

We had a spirited discussion today in our weekly Bible study of area pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It was fed by a feeling of dread about recent signs of sickness in our society. One of our number put it something like this. “Why is it that we are Christians, and […]

What Lives Matter? What Truths Matter?

What is it that feeds resentment in today’s political climate?

National Public Radio’s David Greene in a piece that ran on NPR’s Morning Edition on October 30, 2017, asked a woman named Jessica, who lives in southern Virginia, and is also a member of a group called “League of the South,” about her reasons for joining a […]

Wounded Wise

This week’s “Dear Abby” column in our local paper started out with a letter from a 25-year-old woman lamenting the absence of a healthy role model in her life. Her father had abandoned the family years earlier, and her mother couldn’t seem to think of anyone other than herself.

It’s easy to get the impression that young […]

If Not Now, When?

 

This is certainly an opportune time. A kairos moment as the Bible might put it. The Lord has called us to love one another and now is the time for strategic, bold, and courageous love in action.

We have an unusual man in the Presidency–perhaps without parallel in American history, and so in global history. All […]

The Beauty of Cooperation--The Comedy of Competition

Last weekend the dogs, Betty and Nell, and I, took part in a sheepdog competition. Though the kind of sheepdog trial that we partake in does indeed test almost all of the skills of dogs and handlers that are called upon in practical flock work, I find myself almost always having to check myself when […]

Merlin and Bald Eagles Add Drama

You can’t beat beautiful raptors for excitement.

About a year ago I was running the dogs and a huge bird flew up from the field. Could it have been a bald eagle?

About six months ago, sure enough, one cruising along parallel to my car as I drove down Airport Road.

Then Connie and I found the nest, and saw one […]