Category: Blog Posts

Mind the Virtue Gap

These attributes distinguish a democracy from a mob—at least according to the American defenders of democracy around the time of the nation’s founding: Respect demonstrated by the majority for the rights of political minorities A well-informed, virtuous public. Now, as is evident in today’s “we live in separate universes of facts and meaning” polarization, the […]

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When We Take Off the Masks

On Easter Sunday morning, shortly before sunrise, I attended an in-person worship service for the first time since the March 2020 shutdown. The service was outside. Everyone masked. It was lovely to be around people I’d not seen in a year, except on Zoom. During the service, an imaginary scene briefly passed through my mind. […]

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Which Myth Comes After a City on a Hill

In religious studies, “myth” does not mean “not true.” A myth is not history, as today’s historians try to write history. Names, dates, an observable sequence of events. Rather, to say it paradoxically: myth is about the meaning of life that plays out again and again, that makes sense of the data of our lives. […]

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Consider Who Lives Downstream

Recently, two weeks after my second vaccination dose, I spent time with relatives in the Chicago area I’d not seen since before my dad died a year ago. Driving around my old haunts often stirs up the silt from the bottom of my soul. This time, perhaps even more so. When I was starting the […]

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The Morality of a State Budget

A lesson I learned in a church administration class 40 years ago is: a church budget is a moral document. Decisions regarding why and how to ask for money, and which ministries are funded—or not, are all moral decisions. A state budget is also a moral document. A state budget represents conflicting decisions and interests, […]

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Candy Boxing and Social Media Gone Wild

Nearly everyone over a fairly young age has seen, in reruns or on YouTube, the TV comedy classic scene of Lucy and Ethel working on the candy boxing assembly line. Ethel and Lucy hide that they can’t keep up with the speed of the line. The supervisor then speeds up the line more. Lucy and […]

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Not Even Almost Chosen

“[H]is almost chosen people.” Ever since learning this provocative phrase spoken by Lincoln about the US in 1861, I’ve used it. “Almost chosen” sounds like “nearly chosen” or, in the immortal words of Maxwell Smart: “Missed it by THAT much,” as he held up thumb and forefinger in close proximity. But THAT was always a […]

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Christian Nationalism May Be Different, and Closer, than You Imagine

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 (NRSV) Taking Back America for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, by Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry, is promoted as the best book on the topic available. […]

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Individualism is a Deadly Delusion

“God created everything” is an ancient truth-claim. According to this claim, everything and everyone is related, for all comes from the same Creator. Human beings do not exist in the singular, only in the plural. We are not monads any more than ants in a colony or bees in a hive. We are here with […]

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How Not to Take Responsibility for One’s Actions

There is churn in the news these days about “responsibility” and “accountability,” about how words from one person influence the actions of others—or not. The Bible contains numerous comments and stories related to matters of responsibility. One such comment is: “…fathers, do not provoke your children to anger” (Ephesians 6:4). The verse only makes sense […]

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