The more I ponder our language and culture, the more surprises I find. We behave in all kinds of ways that we don’t even think about.
Bodily noises, for instance. Why does our culture permit—no, demand!—that we comment when someone sneezes? There are many bodily noises emitted by others that we are supposed to endure in silence. But if someone explodes in a sneeze, we are social lepers if we don’t offer a remark.
There are only two appropriate comments,... Read More
Warren Buffett, the Omaha wizard, the prairie sage, is a legend in the investment world. Shares of his company, Berkshire Hathaway, even during this financial slump, will cost you in the neighborhood of $100,000 a share. Buffett has never allowed the stock to split and just let the share price climb over the years. It was his goal to discourage speculators and encourage long-term investors.
Buffett describes himself as a contrarian. In a recent periodical he counsels American investors to... Read More
In the news recently is the story of a 14-year-old girl in New Jersey who may be prosecuted for disseminating child pornography because she was using her cell phone to transmit nude pictures of a minor. Herself.
Apparently this is a trend, although because of its sensationalism and novelty it might still be a relatively small problem hyped into a national crisis. Teenagers are not yet adults, and they often suffer from an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the... Read More
When you’re a really good golfer, you pretty much know where each shot is going to land. When you’re a twice-a-month duffer like me, every shot is an adventure. Know what golf in hell is going to be like? Absolutely the same. No difference at all.
When you don’t play consistently, you can start improving on one aspect of your game and think you’re making progress, but then the next time you’re out some other aspect starts falling apart. Just... Read More
One of the steady pains in my soul is hanging out with my friends with disabilities. “Lesser” ones, like sight and hearing impairment. Big ones, like Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, or spina bifida. I can’t shake some degree of “survivor’s guilt”—why can I see but he can’t? Why can I walk but she can’t? Why does his entire life on earth have to be such a daily struggle just to survive?
I think I got a partial answer in the... Read More
President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, caused a modest sensation back in February when, in speaking of race relations in America, he accused Americans of being a nation of cowards. From the wider context of his speech, his reference appears to be directed primarily at white Americans.
Cowardice, eh? Hmmm… Possibly. Or perhaps just prudence. Some white folks do well to clam up about other races because their words would hurt, not help. When I was a boy I learned... Read More
Forgive me, but I seem to have lost my taste for the word "preacher." I would appreciate it if you wouldn't use it on me. Many of my fellow pastors love the title and they are welcome to it. I have asked our Time of Grace staff not to use that word in describing me or what I do on our program.
Preaching. 'Tis a noble word, of long lineage. But in the world in which I live, from Monday... Read More
It’s déjà vu all over again.
I thought it was a gag at first. Nope. Various Roman Catholic dioceses in America are bringing back indulgences, and I guess that means that Purgatory is back, too. The NY Times reports that many Catholics are confused about what they are. Ironically a lot more Lutherans know about them because they are such an integral part of the story of the birth of the Protestant Reformation.
In traditionalist Catholic teaching, Purgatory is a... Read More
You shouldn’t throw stones at people who live in glass houses. I take no joy in observing the tribulations of Rev. Robert Schuller and his famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.
It isn’t really a cathedral, a term which is properly used for the official church residence of a bishop in a hierarchical church body like the Episcopal Church or Catholic Church. What it is is a daring architectural tour de force, taking advantage of Orange County’s legendary persistent... Read More
If you have read any of the previous, oh, hundred of these weekly blogs, you may have noticed a trend. There isn’t a lot of poetry. This is no accident. I have the soul of an accountant.
I am proud to present to you today four stanzas from a happy Time of Grace viewer. This week’s blog comes to you courtesy of a dear woman named Linda. She wrote it to encourage me. I pass it on to you with... Read More