Lenten Dilemma

The death of Antonin Scalia last Saturday almost immediately spawned a political argument about his replacement. The clichéd phrase of his not being cold before the vultures arrived is, like many clichés, exactly apt. During their debate the Republican candidates universally agreed that President Obama ought to forego putting a name before ‘their’ Senate for … READ MORE…

The Sunday Sermon: Truth and Lies

Several times a week I receive emails from AARP; they cover a multitude of topics, of special interest to the over-50 crowd. This week I noticed an article about the latest crop of scams. It’s not just about rich Nigerian widows any more. There are countless cons out there, many of them relying on the … READ MORE…

Ash Wednesday Sermon: A Time of Fragile Greatness

On Ash Wednesday two years ago Laurel and I sat with our two-day old baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, of UCSD Medical Center up the street. This was not how we had hoped to spend our second day with Jem, who was connected to several electrodes monitoring his heart, breathing, and … READ MORE…

The Sunday Sermon: “We Want to See Jesus”

Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 22, 2015 It was spring festival time in Jerusalem. The city streets were awash with tourists and pilgrims. The Temple was crammed with people coming to both worship and sightsee, from all over the Empire. Visiting Gentiles had heard about the Galilean rabbi who had created a stir, parading into … READ MORE…

The Sunday Sermon: Facing Down the Fear

The owl Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, my older sister gave me a little stone owl, just big enough for me to close my fist around. At the time I was all about the classics, and the little owl reminded me of Athene, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who is often … READ MORE…

The Sunday Sermon: Into the wilderness

We are doing a little time travel this morning. The Gospel passage we just heard takes us back to the beginning, almost the very beginning of Mark’s Gospel story. We are offered three distinct events in Jesus’s life here, each one related in Mark’s typically terse style, just a couple of sentences each. Jesus is … READ MORE…

Simpler Living: A Different Lenten Discipline

Simpler Living Tip #17  from Phil Petrie Lent is a season when we think about giving up things, not to punish ourselves, but to deepen our relationship to God. The underlying idea here is that it is pretty easy for our appetites to get out of whack—for habits to become addictions—and I think all of … READ MORE…

Hungry for Lent?

Sisters and Brothers, We live in a community where nearly one in six people are unsure whether they’ll have enough to eat each day. How can that be?What would it look like to love our hungry neighbors as ourselves this Lent? There are no easy answers. Diving deeply into Lent’s holy disciplines of prayer, fasting, … READ MORE…

Bare Ruined Choirs

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. (from Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare.) The recent membership campaign on PBS clearly targeted the 70-something demographic as it aired multiple concerts consisting of folk singers, quartets, and bands from the 1950s and 1960s. Moving from actual films of those musical people half a century ago, … READ MORE…

Ashes to Go: God’s blessing

When I received the email from Chris Harris regarding Ashes to Go I was very hesitant to respond one way or the other. I thought it was a clever idea, but wasn’t quite sure if I agreed with such an unconventional method of giving ashes and I certainly was not sure if I could be … READ MORE…

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