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14
Oct

Getting candy for truth telling

In my children’s sermons, I generally just come up with an idea and run with it with the kids — not a whole lot of pre-planing.  Last Sunday, I was casting about for some way to connect to the Job passage I was going to preach about later in the service with the adults. The […]

13
Oct

My life in sports

When I was a youth, I was consumed with sports. I poured over the sports pages and soaked up statistics. I spent countless hours with my older brother throwing the football or having a catch with a baseball. In ninth grade, I remember having to write in my English class what I wanted to be […]

12
Oct

Autumn Days

These are some of the best days of the year, these autumn days when the colors burst forth so brilliantly in their swan song, before the leaves all fall revealing the trees so barren, before the grand larceny is committed with turned back clocks, robbing us of the exquisite late afternoon light. On crisp Autumn […]

11
Oct

Rorzak Tests and wondering who we are

I often have the impression that my sermons serve as a kind of a spiritual Rorzak Test, the psychological test where insight is revealed into someone’s psyche through the pictures the person conjures up in random ink blots.  What I imagine myself to be saying on a given Sunday morning and what people hear me […]

11
Oct

The Eulogy for Marge Mortensen

The Eulogy for Marge Mortensen Marge was born on June 27, 1935 in Newark. Her brother Henry followed her into this world in less than a year, so they grew up like twins.  Her father was a tool and dye maker. When Marge was a teenager, her parents bought a lot in Lake Parsippany and, over the […]

10
Oct

The Eulogy for Betty Jenninigs

Betty Jennings was born on September 13, 1924 into a loving family that consisted of her mother, her father, and her brother Wes.  Somewhat shy by nature and frail physically, Betty stayed close to her home and her parents, rarely venturing very far away, caring for her parents as their health declined, dealing with the […]

10
Oct

Three weeks in, why am I doing this?

After three weeks of “blogging” nearly every day, perhaps some reflections on why am I doing this? Several possible answers, all with a grain of truth: 1) Personal grandiosity and self-absorption. I want others to be as preoccupied with my thoughts as I am. 2) The blog creates structure and discipline that I need. I […]

09
Oct

Pavlov’s Dogs and Children of God

Thoughts from yesterday’s sermon: Pavlov, the Russian psychologist, got his dogs to salivate whenever they heard a bell, because they were conditioned to associate getting yummy treats with the sound of the bell. The question then became: what about human beings? Are we simply a product of our conditioning, or is there real freedom within […]

08
Oct

Job and the Preacher

It hasn’t been a great week for sermon writing. Here I am sitting at the computer before sunup, Moses the cat my only physical companion. I know I am preaching on Job and his experience of grappling with meaning in the midst of great suffering. Illuminate me, O Lord. Take me in my weariness and give […]

07
Oct

Animal House: Emma, Dado, and Moses

I have been struck lately by the significance people attach to their animals.  A couple of people in our writing groups penned moving essays regarding their dogs.  It leads me to think about my animals. We have two golden retrievers.  The older, Emma, is the beautiful, dignified one, but a bit dim-witted. She likes to […]

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