Showing posts from March, 2019


One day, the eighteenth-century Polish rabbi Baal Shem-Tov and his students were standing on a hill when foreign troops invaded their town. From their vantage point on the hill, they were able to see all the horror and violence of the attack. The rabbi looked up to Heaven and cried out, "Oh, if only I were God." A student asked, "But, Master, if you were God, what would you do differently?" The rabbi answered him, "If I were God, I would do nothing differently. If I were God, I would understand." [1] In today’s gospel reading, [2] many in the crowd that had gathered to hear Jesus were galvanized by news of a recent tragedy: Pilate's soldiers had killed some Galilean Jews while they were offering sacrifices in the Temple. Why would God allow this? Similarly, why had the tower of Siloam collapsed and killed eighteen people? Why did God allow that to happen? Our questions echo the crowd’s questions. Why did God allow two Boeing 737 Max 8 pl

Medicare for all

David Brooks in his column, “‘ Medicare for All’: The Impossible Dream ,” ( New York Times , March 4, 2019) argues that regardless of the appeal of adopting Medicare for all, the U.S. transitioning to Medicare for all is impossible. Brooks is partially correct. Transitioning from the current mélange of health care insurance programs to Medicare for all will be exceedingly difficult. However, the difficulty in transitioning is an insufficient reason for not moving forward. First, health care is a basic human right, a basic corollary of the right to life. The right to life is corroded by selfishness and greed every time somebody’s life is cut short or somebody’s quality of life is substantially diminished by a preventable or treatable condition for which the person could not obtain the required health care. Studies consistently show that people in the U.S. have shorter life expectancies and live lives impaired by more preventable or treatable conditions than do residents of oth

Restoring God’s Earth

The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it; the world and all who dwell therein.  (Psalm 24:1) The people of ZeroWasteChurch.Org write: When we think about the planet, the solar system, the world as we know it, and as we learn more, and learn how much we don’t know, it is easy to feel incredibly small. When we hear of our world changing, climate changing, biosystems changing, animal species being destroyed, it hard to imagine how one person’s action, one person’s act of faith could possibly make a difference. Mother Theresa said once, “There are no great things; only small things with great love.” She also said of herself, “I’m but a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” What if there was something individuals could do? What if there were a series of small acts of faith, small practices, new habits persons could start that did make a difference in care and concern for God’s creation? Would you do it?

Some thoughts on Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the Christian season of preparation for the annual celebration of Jesus’ passion and resurrection. In some Christian traditions (including mine, the Anglican), churches hold special services at which attendees have ashes imposed on the forehead as a mark of sorrow and repentance for their sins and as a visible sign of the start of a Lenten journey. Lenten journeys are frequently characterized by an individual adopting a special spiritual discipline, giving up something (caffeine, TV, etc.) or taking on something (praying one of the daily offices, volunteering more time in helping others, etc.). In either case, the spiritual discipline is generally intended to help the individual focus more attention on God and on walking more closely in Jesus’ footsteps. These Lenten spiritual disciplines, though tailored to and chosen by the individual, function analogously to the practices of observant Jews. Recently, some congregations and cle