Put Ash Wednesday in the Ash Can

When I was a child, Ash Wednesday was a big deal. It was always preceded by the church’s annual Shrove (meaning “indulge”) Tuesday Pancake Supper. In New Orleans, it’s called Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras with parades and lots of loose lascivious living. Ash Wednesday (February 14, 2024) starts the Lenten season, a penitential time … Read more

Enough Trite Sayings!

Almost on a daily basis I hear someone spout some churchy saying that makes me ask, “What does that even mean?” For example, some folks end a conversation with “Have a blessed day!” or “Have a bless’d day!” What does that mean? Is it better than “Have a good day”? Are they invoking their god … Read more

My Trip into Space

On December 11, 2023, Annie and I went to the Kennedy Space Center to begin an unforgettable day of exploring space and theology. My deep thinking about my church’s theology and space began in 1958 the day after a very serious accident in which my best friend was killed and I was badly injured. The … Read more

What Happens to Retired Clergy?

A couple months ago, I ran across a study—not scientific but still revealing—about retired clergy from mainline Christian ministries. There were three groupings: Those who affirm traditional theology and stay within the church. I was surprised that only 19 percent of retired clergy do this. Those who don’t affirm a traditional theology but participate in … Read more

Christmas Trivia

Impress your family and friends with this Christmas quiz. How many stories are there about the birth of Jesus? Some folks will say there are two stories of Jesus’s birth—Matthew and Luke—but there are actually three: the third (not in the New Testament) combines the first two and then adds new details (see below) not … Read more

A Case against Reparations

The State of California is seriously considering giving monetary reparations to Black people who are able to prove that their relatives were slaves. Good luck with that! Reparations make sense to me only if they are used to confront the basic issue of racism. From my viewpoint, slavery is alive and well in the United … Read more

So Apparently I’m Antisemitic

I have been called “antisemitic” many times. I found out a long time ago that if you are ever critical of anything that happens in Israel, you are instantly labeled as antisemitic. I don’t think I am. My Christ is a Jew. Daily, I read the Bible, which was written by Jewish people. The foundation … Read more

They’re Hard to Stop

In June 2023, we were going to our youngest granddaughter’s high school graduation here in Orange County, California. As we walked in, a group of women were handing out a flyer that read “Protect Public Education” in an attempt to recall four of their newly elected school district board members. These people who are being … Read more

Do You Know a Snollygoster?

Every day I receive two emails from Words Trivia. This company offers exercises designed to help people increase their vocabulary (and advertise stuff). Half the time I have to guess the meaning of the word, and about half that time I guess right. This morning’s word was ubiquity. I thought I knew it so I … Read more

Go High!

On the first Tuesday in November 2008, Annie and I were driving cross-country from the East Coast to the West to return to our home in Orange County, California. We were staying in a Motel 6 in not the nicest neighborhood in some Midwestern city and listening intensely as the election results were pouring in. … Read more