Disabled
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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
Cowards
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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
Preacher
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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
Indulgences
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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
Glass Houses
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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
A Poem
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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
Phoenix
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All of us at Time of Grace are very proud to launch our newest major market—Phoenix, Arizona. We begin on the CBS station, KPHO Channel 5, on February 8.   I was privileged to be in Phoenix last week to help promote our presence there. Like all half-frozen Northerners, I just stood out in the sun at first and felt its healing rays start to thaw my stiff carcass. There’s Vitamin D in sunlight, right? I know I felt physically better... Read More
Change
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Another blue mailbox disappeared from my neighborhood this week.   No, I don’t think it was stolen by vandals. My guess it was stolen, er, removed by the United States Postal Service. In their own quiet way they were sending a message to those of us who live around here that we weren’t mailing enough first-class letters to make the stop worthwhile for the carriers. I wouldn’t mind it so much but it’s the fourth to go away; there’s only one... Read More
Inauguration
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What a great word, inauguration. It’s based on the word augur. No, not a big hand-powered drill bit for boring holes in wood or ice for ice fishing. Those are augers. The augurs were religious officials in ancient Rome who would choose lucky days for installation ceremonies into political office. They supposedly gained their mystical insights by observing the flight patterns of birds, or by studying the entrails of sacrificed animals. Washington these days is crawling with modern-day augurs who... Read More
Inaugural Prayer
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It seems that Rev. Rick Warren of the famed Saddleback Church is taking some criticism over being appointed to offer public prayer at the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. The LGBT wing of America is furious because he supported California’s Proposition 8 (which passed), amending the state’s constitution to define marriage as one male/one female. They think that because they worked so hard to get Obama elected, only pro-gay clergy should have been invited.   Others fear that Rev. Warren may... Read More