Friday, January 31, 2020

Before you assume you know where all your parishioners stand on public issues

... some of the latest numbers from Gallup. Just a snapshot of the nation at present, but it's good to stay on top of such things before you jump to conclusions.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Toothless Impeachment

This is perfect for what is sure to go down in history as "the toothless impeachment."

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog, where prayer is not something you claim to be doing for the sake of political posturing.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Salix Babylonicus: A Youth / Adult Sunday School Discussion Guide

This review of The Secret of Salix Babylonicus is two years old but, like the book itself, improves with age. I hope one day soon to produce a longer study guide for multiple sessions, but the reviewer has done a good job in identifying some probing questions that are bound to evoke rich discussion. So many themes at work in this story! I remain grateful for the sympathetic review. And what is Salix about if not music therapy, pastoral listening, the ministry of presence, all of which revolve around sympathy?

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Christmas at Heritage (2019): "The Sound of Christmas"

Here is the video of the University of Dubuque's Christmas at Heritage. This year (2019) the theme was "The Sound of Christmas," featuring the music and narration of Elisabeth Von Trapp. It was my pleasure once again to serve as "narrative guy." Having selected scripture readings in the Cambridge tradition of Lessons and Carols (2018), arranged and adapted translations of Romanos the Melodist (2017), woven non-traditional scripture readings into other narratives for a fresh perspective à la Year D (2016), and written a three-person play (2015), it seemed time to return to the approach take six years ago (2014) when I was first invited to take part in this lovely, annual event and write some fresh poems for the occasion. The whole video is worth viewing. You will doubtless enjoy the folk style of our distinguish guest, the wind and vocal ensembles, and the full choir which was in fabulous form, but if the time is short and you want to hear my "two bits" (or five bits, actually), you can hear Mrs. Von Trapp deliver these narrative poems at the time codes below:

I. What News is This? (15:11)
II. The Savior Has Appeared! (28:35)
III. The Promised, Pure Daystar is Born. (40:55)
IV. Closer Now, Deeper Down (53:45)
V. The Sound of Christmas (1:04:54)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Oecolampadius bio cited

I was glad to see my little translation of Theophil Stähelin's biography of Oecolampadius cited in Dr. Verne Poythress' recent article on the Basel Reformer, which you can read here.


Dr. Poythress' blog, BTW, was ranked #31 on Jeremy Myers' list of the Top 100 Christian Blogs a few years ago. The list is not dated, so it is hard to tell how old it is—some obvious changes will soon be apparent—but the Frame-Poythress blog is quite current and full of good resources.   

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A fresh devotional for the new year.

I really like and frequently recommend these one-year Bible reading plans, as much for their manageable structure as for their probing and thought-provoking devotional commentary. The Spirit at Work starts at Pentecost. The Word at Work starts on the second Sunday of Easter. Now I see there is a new one, Sitometrion, that starts (or started) on Christmas Day. Each of them, with just a bit of adjustment, can be taken up at any time of year. Just jump in on the day (you can ignore the year for the most part), then wrap around when the time comes.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Six weeks to Advent: A timely reminder to "Waste Not the Fragments"

Now is a good time to order this inexpensive new commentary on Year D's suggested texts for Advent. Enough fresh texts here for several adult Bible study or Sunday school sessions. Order one per student; put your own questions to text, commentary, and conversation partners.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

"Nothing but Joy"

Here is a sermon on James 1:1-21, one of several I have preached on the same text and by the same title. This one was preached on Memorial Day Sunday, 2016, at Second Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN.