Weekly Grace General Blog
This blog contains lead articles in the Weekly Grace columns.

A Timeless Question

I started writing this morning about 5:30 with a tribute to sixteenth century English theologian, Richard Hooker. As I studied the puritans and the treatment of them by succeeding generations of American historians, I came upon an observation by John Winthrop after sailing on the Arabella to the New World. This was the voyage where he is said to have written his now-famous “City on a Hill” sermon (although he was not an ordained minister, it was a “lay sermon”).


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Hopes and Dreams

I have friends on both sides of the political divide who are scared. Tough, Army veterans who were shot down behind Vietnamese enemy lines who are scared. Seniors, healthcare workers, business owners, and venture capitalists who are realistically concerned about the potential for violence. American Jews fear a repeat of Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass) when, in 1938, the Nazis began the systematic destruction of the German Jewish people.[1] In the original Nazi violence, Protestants and Roman Catholics stood by, watching passively, while their Jewish neighbors and friends were rounded up and their businesses and synagogues destroyed.


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A Chicken Parable

Farmer Brown had a nice flock of chickens she kept in a coop and their enclosed yard.  Being mindful of the wily coyote, Farmer Brown never let her flock roam freely on the beautiful grass around the barn. You might say they were always “cooped up.” The Leghorns were a fairly plain breed, mostly tan in color with little to distinguish them. The flock produced reliable eggs and that is what Farmer Brown treasured every morning.


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Exegetical Underwear

I had a seminary professor who encouraged his homiletical students never “to show too much of your exegetical[1] underwear” meaning that you never want to turn your sermon into a college or graduate class on the topic of the day. I have also learned in 21 years of preaching that when a complicated idea arises, the best strategy is not to take it head on or avoid it (as many do), but to get playful and have fun with it. This Sunday’s sermon focuses on the poorly understood and under-appreciated idea of grace (I refuse to call it a “doctrine”).


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Blessing and Other Words

I love studying languages and how the words change in pronunciation and meaning over time. Sometimes it can be instructive to back to an ancient source to get a better understanding of the modern term once we know where it came from.


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The Self-Made Man (or Woman)

One of the persistent myths in the American psyche is the idea that we are individual, autonomous beings, entirely independent and capable of making independent moral decisions. In some tropes, the myth is further extended to imply that we are self-made, some of us pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. Those who subscribe to this myth believe they achieved everything on their own. They owe no debt or gratitude to other people. They do not stand on the shoulders of giants, they stand on their own two feet.


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Future Grace Part 1

I was once heavily recruited to be an Episcopal Church planter in Columbia, Missouri. The three-day process with the bishop, canon and other people included several sessions of interviews and testing with a psychologist. The diocese was applying some industrial testing methods to determine if their candidates had the right mix of entrepreneurial characteristics. Surprise, I maxed out that part. I was the only candidate to have started and run two companies that were sold to much larger, publicly traded companies.


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It is Time to Talk Turkey

Yes, cooler weather is coming, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but today’s turkey talk is not about Thanksgiving. I want to share some thoughts with you about a conflict that I have carried as a priest for twenty-one years too long. It is a conflict between preaching the radical, disturbing, socially impolite, system-disrupting, polarizing, often misunderstood and too often misinterpreted message of Jesus versus not being perceived as “political.”


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White Christianity in America was Born in Heresy

This statement was made by Yale University theologian Eboni Marshall Turman last year at an academic conference. When the Americas were discovered and explored by white Europeans in the 15th and 16th centuries, various European nations began their grand history of empire-building. European missionary priests brought Christianity to indigenous peoples around the world. The underlying assumptions in all this conquest and exploration was that the Christian religion was best for everyone, and the specific version of Christianity* was white and European.


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The Katy Prairie

It’s a free country. I can do what I want with “my land,” right? Well, maybe. Consider Katy, Texas.

Originally, the vast expanse of land northwest of Houston was filled with native prairie grasses. The Buffalo Bayou runs through the area and on into Houston to become the major fresh water source for Galveston Bay. It is two blocks from my sister’s house which has been flooded twice in three years by statistical “500-year storms.”


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