A sermon based on Hosea 11. A friend asked in a coffee shop recently: How do you reconcile the idea of a loving God with all that happens in the world? It’s the oldest question in the world. And when we look at the stark horror of what has happened this week in Paris, in Beirut, in southern Japan, in the Bosso district of Niger, and in Baghdad It’s hard to start anyplace but disbelief and sorrow. How can we reconcile the idea of a loving God with all that has happened in the world? This is the question, I believe, that the book ofRead More →

A sermon based on 1 Kings 18. I wonder if you all know the composer, Arvo Pärt. He was born in Estonia in 1935. He is a rather prolific composer, which includes choral pieces and orchestral pieces. My favorite is a piece called Spiegel im Spiegel, or Mirror in Mirror, which was written for a piano and violin. In a recent Guardian article Gunter Atteln said, “In order to understand Pärt, one needs to know that he is a religious person. You don’t need to be religious to feel his music, just as you don’t need to be religious to feel the music of Bach.”Read More →

Teachers My friend Steve Huff wrote a beautiful piece on his high school drama teacher on Facebook. It made me remember teachers who influenced me. One in particular. She was a biology teacher–a partner in a teaching team who taught all the biology classes at my high school in Nashville. Her name was Mrs. McGee, and her teaching partner was Mrs. Welch. I remember laughing heartily at calling them McFlea and Belch. (I did mention this was high school, right?) On one winter day in the 10th grade, in biology class, I was not ready for our daily quiz. In fact, I had been sickRead More →

Books There is such pleasure in books. It’s hard to know exactly what the pleasure is—is it the type face, the actual words, or even the smell of the book? Is it the fan of the pages? Is it in the knowledge that is deep inside? I love books. I love all books. But I especially love books I don’t own! I’ve had  a love affair with books my whole life. From the 10¢ Harlequin romances of my youth to my theological tomes from Divinity school. I have had bookcases, and bookcases, and bookcases. And I’ve traveled with them, too, carrying them in boxes (bankers’Read More →

Brownies Last night at our Wednesday night supper, a church member brought me gluten free brownies. I might have mentioned that gluten free anything can be rather lackluster. It’s not the taste, it’s the texture. (Hint: gluten is all about texture). Oh, but these brownies. I think they’re sort of “trash” brownies. She poured in some caramel sauce. Threw in some leftover gluten free Halloween candy. There’s even nuts in there. And they are delicious. But seriously. It’s not the brownies. It’s how much love went into making them. And I am grateful.Read More →