Category: General Posts

The moral mission of the church: Christmas Reflections (2018)

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly….” (Luke 1:46, 32) One of my favorite sayings comes from an improbable source, the Freudian philosophical critic…

Jeremy Denk, Charles Ives, and Jesus

Pianist Jeremy Denk came to Boston recently to play Charles Ives. My wife and I have been following Jeremy for years. Never mind his international stature, his MacArthur Genius Award and the Avery Fisher Prize and many other professional achievements, he happens to be…

Trump and Christmas: Seasonal Reflections (2017)

“A shoot shall come forth from the stump of Jesse…” (Is. 11:1) In front of our old farmhouse in southwestern Maine, I witnessed a sign from heaven this past summer. Several years ago, we called in a tree-man to cut down – sadly –…

A Letter About Hillary

I’m writing to friends and family and other contacts to share one side of the story about one of our presidential candidates, which may not be familiar to many, at least in the terms that I know them.  A hundred years ago, I worked…

Cutting Through the Ice to Contemplate the Depths

Late in the fall, my wife and I typically shut down our old Maine farmhouse in the eastern foothills of the White Mountains.  We’re not skiers, but even if we were it would be folly for us to keep water in the pipes of…

Replenishing: A Riff on John Lisman’s Mural, “Creation”

Unveiled at Crossroads on the Charles,Ninth Floor, Watertown, MA, January 9, 2016 In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was without form and void. And God said, Let there be light. And God saw the light, that it was good….

St. Francis: Notes for Three Sermons, Fall 2015

Prepared for Lutherans Restoring Creation Commentary (lutheransrestoringcreation.org) Lectionary Series B 2014-2015 September 27, October 4, October 11 A series honoring St. Francis of Assisi Note: Sunday, October 4, 2015 is the Festival of St. Francis. This series affords the preacher an opportunity to address…

Spiritual Reflections Down Under

They asked me what I thought.  An academic and church consortium brought me to lovely Adelaide in southern Australia in March of 2015 to present a paper on ecotheology and spirituality.  That I did (the paper will be published in due course).  Along the…

Lush is More? – Reflections on a Chinese Garden

During my brief visit to Australia in 2015, I had occasion to walk through the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Sydney, a gift in 1988 to that city from the citizens of Guangzhou in southern China. I know very little about Chinese or Japanese…

Floods, Ferguson, and Fellowship

The text that follows comes from a sermon preached at Resurrection Lutheran Church, Roxbury, MA, January 11, 2015, The Baptism of Our Lord This is my Bible text today, from the Gospel, Mark 1:9-11: “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and…

From Lake Wobegon to the Streets of Manhattan

It must have been Garrison Keillor who observed that at the gates of heaven the Jews will carry a shofar, the Catholics a crucifix, and the Lutherans a bowl of Jello. I saw signs of that Lutheran sensibility on the streets of Manhattan on…

J.S. Bach: Ich Habe Genug (I Have Enough)

Why is this the most frequently recorded of all Bach’s cantatas? Its beauty, no doubt. My wife, Laurel, and I surely were overwhelmed by this gentle but powerful song of faith – this is one of the few Bach cantatas that does not have…