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 […]


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 […]


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 […]



Yesterday my wife and I were at our eleven year old son Bobby’s middle school soccer game. He was starting for the first time and was playing well, and we were enjoying his success, and then all of sudden there is this play where he gets kicked in his side (he’s the goalie), and he’s […]


Surprising Images, Surprising Dreams

Susan wrote yesterday of a brother in kindergarten who got successive “F”s for drawing pictures that did not conform to the requirements, when in fact the teacher simply suffered from a diminished imagination that could not keep up with the young lad’s creativity. Al wrote yesterday about the special time he experiences upon first waking, […]


Creativity and Chaos

Each morning I confront a blank page. I am finding this confrontation to be both frightening and invigorating. Each day, a kind of birth. After doing this now for a couple of weeks, what more could I possibly have to say? This is one of the voices in my head. Another, however reminds me that I […]


Heaven and Hell

Alice died last week at the age of 99. She lived in the nursing home, and over the years I had watched her get frailer and frailer. She was really tired; ready to go. There wasn’t much left to her at the end. The one thing that was still there was her love. There was […]


Evaluating Church

Some follow up thoughts from yesterday’s sermon. In evaluating the spiritual health and vitality of a church, here is something to consider: Is it a place where honesty in personal truth-telling is encouraged or discouraged?  Are people wearing masks, afraid to let their real selves be known?  Is some version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” being […]


Sunday morning prayer

Sunday morning. It is raining outside; still dark. I am still waking up, coffee in hand to assist. I know what I want to talk about this morning; just not quite sure how to say it. Need to focus. Remember to pray. God who created me, God who awoke me this morning and would have […]


Wondering who’s out there

I missed blogging yesterday because I was away on a quick trip with my family to surprise my father in North Carolina on his 85th birthday. It was a visit of great tenderness. Coming back to my blogging, I am aware of myself wondering just who might be out there reading the words I have […]