Showing posts from December, 2020

A Christmas message during a pandemic

 Today I want to tell two stories. Both are true. Both speak of the hope and life-giving love that are the essence of Advent and Christmas. The first is a war story, not of the war against the COVID-19 virus but World War II. Captain Edward Beach, U.S. Navy, was a genuine hero. He commanded the first submarine to circumnavigate the globe while submerged and authored the best-selling Run Silent, Run Deep , [1] During World War II, submarines in which he was serving damaged or sank 45 enemy ships. The war’s conclusion found Captain Beach in command of the USS PIPER, underway in the East China Sea. There, just as they were entering Japanese waters, he received this message from his wife: Daughter was born August 10th X Both well X Congratulations. [2] In his words, “The war had come to an end, and life, for some of us, was beginning.” [3] “The war had come to an end, and life, for some of us, was beginning.” That captures Christianity’s essence. In the midst of this pandemic that

A sermon without words?

  A medieval monk announced he would preach the next Sunday evening on "The Love of God." As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the semi-darkness, the monk lit a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. [1] I don’t know if that is a true story. I do know I find the story, set in the context of traditional Christian theology, a powerful description of God's love. Each Advent, we remember John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, John firmly insisting that he is not the long-awaited Messiah. [2]  We hear Isaiah’s proclamation that God has called the Messiah to give justice to the oppressed, heal the brokenhearted, set prisoners free and comfort the bereaved. [3] And on Christmas Day, we joyfully celebrate Jesus’ birth, confid

Musings about establishing a Leadership PAC

Recent news media articles report that President Trump’s leadership political action committee (PAC) has raised more than $170 million. The PAC reportedly raised the money following his defeat in his bid for a second term as President. I’m thinking of establishing my own leadership PAC. Apparently, the only real limitation on how a leadership PAC can spend its money is a $5000 cap on a contribution to each political campaign. Money in a leadership PAC can legally fund an individual’s personal expenditures without limitation – at least if news media reports are correct. You like me, don’t you? You think that I, like Donald Trump, deserve to live a luxurious lifestyle paid for by someone else, don’t you? Wouldn’t you contribute generously to my leadership PAC even if contributions aren’t deductible on your taxes? Generous support for my leadership PAC may also help me, like Trump, enjoy a lavish lifestyle while concurrently managing my personal finances in a way that allows me to leg

Spiritual growth during a pandemic

  Coping with the pandemic can easily feel more stressful with each passing month. The novelty of transacting business via Zoom and of visiting with friends via Skype is long gone. We miss direct human contact with no electronic intermediary. Wearing a mask, washing hands and watching the physical distance between self and others can feel tedious. The temptation to ignore those protocols grows even as the number of reported new cases seems to grow inexorably. We theoretically love (or, depending upon one’s living arrangements, at least like) the other members of our household. Yet, sometimes working and staying at home can start to feel like overexposure. Alternatively, persons who live alone may find their residence too empty with too much loneliness. Allow the pandemic to invite you to turn inward and to plumb your depths. Here are some questions to guide your  journey: Do you like yourself? If so, why? What are your strengths, gifts and assets? If not, remind yourself that