Two Tools for Moving Forward

Dear Siblings in Christ: Just past Idaho mile marker 20 going east on I-90 is a statue off to the right. It’s a statue of a photographer with an old-fashioned camera high up above Lake Coeur d’Alene. When I first moved out this way, this became one of my guides on the trip from Seattle to Camp N-Sid-Sen. You can’t see the camp from there, but when I saw this sculpture and this view off to the side of the road, I knew it was time to start paying attention so I wouldn’t miss the exit. This sculpture, for me, … Continue reading Two Tools for Moving Forward

This Lenten Year

“Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden, Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still Even among these rocks, Our peace in His will And even among these rocks Sister, mother And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea, Suffer me not to be separated And let my cry come unto Thee.” “Ash Wednesday” by T.S. Elliot Ash Wednesday hears all our posturing, all our ambition, all our self-diminishment, all our face-saving, all our shame, all our self-righteousness, all our justifications, … Continue reading This Lenten Year

Update: Important notice from our denominational offices

Dear Siblings in Christ: Last night, I shared a note with all of you regarding a notice sent from our denominational office and promised an update today. This message was shared earlier this morning in reference to the original announcement from last night (see below my signature): “We posted this statement after credible threats against government buildings and liberal institutions were received by a couple of Conference Ministers and one of our ecumenical partners. Mainline churches are among the entities that have been identified by law enforcement as potential targets.   Erring on the side of caution and noting the previous … Continue reading Update: Important notice from our denominational offices

Important Notice from Our Denominational Offices

Dear Siblings in Christ: Just a few hours ago, this notice was published on our denomination’s website and social media: “A MESSAGE TO OUR CHURCHES While we are hesitant to raise the alarm and/or overreact, recent events compel us to inform you about what we are hearing regarding possible threats that have come to our attention. There are reports that “liberal” churches will become targets of possible attacks in the coming week, with the dates of Jan. 17 and Jan. 20 featured more prominently. We strongly encourage you to be attendant to all safety concerns for ministers and congregants, even … Continue reading Important Notice from Our Denominational Offices

Roar, then… A reflection on January 6th

I’ve been trying to find the word to describe what I’m feeling. What do you call the combination of anger, sadness, fear, and hopelessness? It feels primal, close to that edge of fight and flight. It is the emotional sense of a coiled self ready with a full-body, full-throated eruption of a yell or a scream. It is the feeling of an impending growly roar that tries to stop the momentum of the force coming at me. At us. It is the loudest possible, “No!” I can muster. That’s what I feel like at this moment. It doesn’t stand alone. … Continue reading Roar, then… A reflection on January 6th

An awful and beautiful year

Dear Siblings in Christ: On December 31st of 2019, the World Health Organization reported that the Chinese government had confirmed that dozens of people in Wuhan were being treated for pneumonia from an unknown source. Our flights had been delayed while we were on the way home from visiting family in Ohio when I read the news. I didn’t think that much about it. The only reason I paid any attention at all was that a few months earlier, there had been an outbreak of the bubonic plague in China. A lot of folks were worried that it would get … Continue reading An awful and beautiful year

Today, I choose to love.

The numbers are undeniably grim. As I write this, the pandemic modeling suggests that we are moving into a period when the number of daily deaths is likely to exceed 3000 deaths every day for the next few months. Essentially, a 9-11 every day. The number of people who are going to get sick or die is staggering. Last May, a Pew study said that 20% of Americans knew someone who had been hospitalized or died due to COVID. That number is now up to 54% and is going to grow. At current rates, by the end of this pandemic, … Continue reading Today, I choose to love.

Reflection on Matthew 25:31-46

The lectionary text emphasized by the UCC (Matthew 25:31-46) is a celebration of justice work and a condemnation of privilege. Jesus names some of the most common consequences of oppression in his time (lack of nutrition and water, lack of recognition and inclusion, lack of dignity and honor, lack of health care, lack of freedom). He celebrates those who help counter the consequences of oppression and condemns those who don’t. The basic means by which people are oppressed haven’t changed that much. More ways have been added to the mix, and more ways of rationalizing have been, too. But the … Continue reading Reflection on Matthew 25:31-46

11/13/2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

This will likely be a note that will only interest a few of you. I’ve had several people ask what sources of information I use to try and figure out what suggestions to pass on to all of you. If you’re one of those folks that wondered this, too, this email is for you. In the early weeks of the pandemic, I, like many folks, was doomscrolling through news feeds and social media trying to get some sort of handle on what was happening and how we all might protect ourselves. Although that was helpful in the short term, it … Continue reading 11/13/2020 COVID-19 PNC Update