A Million Pages In…

million pagesGot your summer reading plan yet? This is a great time to think about it.

I was somewhat effective during Lent limiting my on-line reading and getting back to a more disciplined hard copy, but I have collapsed since Easter into a previous bad habit I really want to break.

As long as I habitually check Google News, Huffpost, The New York Times, articles forwarded by friends and family, Facebook, Twitter, and such I get a steady diet of controversial and up to the minute re-hashes of all the events happening in our world. I say “all the events” because I can no longer pretend a lot of it is really “news.” I also get plenty of opinion and analysis. And some of it is really good.

But as a result I read fewer books than I used to a few years back. And that loss means I am often letting others determine my subject matter. Continue reading

Religious Freedom on Our National Day of Prayer

Religious-FreedomOur President in today’s Executive Order is trying to make it easier for churches and pastors to publicly support one candidate over another and push their congregants to do so, without fear of losing their tax-exempt status. This is probably a bad idea. It makes coercion and turning religion into merely a subset of political parties too easy, and it’s pretty easy already. Many say Evangelical Christianity has already sold its soul and become a mere subset of the GOP. I find it hard to argue otherwise.

I speak as somebody who talks relatively freely about politics and whose congregants usually know where he stands, for better and sometimes for worse. But we won’t be having any voter pamphlets at Genesis anytime soon. Continue reading

My Pres(by) Trump

compassionAt 100 days I am finally (!) developing some compassion for our beleaguered President. It has taken me a while. Trump has been caught off guard by the complexity of NAFTA, Healthcare, international relations… and now this week he has confessed the job is far more difficult than he thought it would be. I get it. That can happen to Presbyterian pastors too.

Millions of us knew he was not prepared to be President, and he has shown it in dozens of appalling and reckless ways. Our least equipped of Presidents is in way over his head. And it is seeing his flailing and failing in so many areas that has triggered in me, pretty late I suppose, some compassion in addition to my ongoing anger and judgment.

I don’t like Donald Trump at all. But something has begun to warm a little down deep inside. Continue reading

Defensive Christians

cross2These feel like hard days to be Christian, what with culture pushing against us and changing the rules. Church influence is on the decline everywhere, people are making laws about religious rights, and we really need to redefine ourselves.

But then I put my big boy pants on and realize hey! It’s actually pretty nice outside. Continue reading