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Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care (Nancy Ramsay & Carrie Doehring, editors) -- A Review

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MILITARY MORAL INJURY AND SPIRITUAL CARE: Resource for Religious Leaders and Professional Caregivers. Edited by Nancy J. Ramsay and Carrie Doehring. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2019. Viii + 168 pages.

War has been with us from the beginning of time. We may dream of peace and even work toward it, but war and military service don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Faith communities often struggle with how to respond to war and the military. Some communities embrace pacifism while others, while not necessarily celebrating war, give room for people of faith to serve in the military. Some bless the troops and others seek to exempt themselves from military service on the basis of conscience. For still others there is ambiguity. Whatever our position on war, compassion and grace would seem to require of us the provision of spiritual care to those affected by war. Those affected could include innocent victims of war, but it also might involve caring for those who have served in the military,…

The Foolishness of God -- A Lectionary Reflection for Epiphany 4A (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

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1 Corinthians 1:18-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,     and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 26 Consider your own call, brothers …

Experiencing the Reign of God - Sermon for Epiphany 3A (Isaiah 9)

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Isaiah 9:1-4

I have a word of advice to offer anyone staying in a home not your own.  If you’re walking through the house at night, be sure to turn on the lights. I learned this lesson the hard way during my trip to Oregon in October. I was staying with friends in Portland, and it was the first night of a week-long trip.  Since I needed to take a pill before going to bed, I followed Mark to the kitchen, in the dark. Unfortunately, I forgot that there are stairs that go down into the kitchen. So, when I stepped down into the kitchen, my right foot missed that first stair, and I went flying into the kitchen. When all was said and done, I found myself lying on my back with a very sore ankle. Yes, I twisted my ankle so badly that it swelled up and turned black and blue. But, that didn’t stop me from pushing on with the trip, sore ankle and all! I had people to see, and places to be. Nevertheless,  if we had turned on the light, none of this would have happened. 
When it comes to walking in …

Piglet's Process (Bruce Epperly) - A Review

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PIGLET’S PROCESS: Process Theology for All God’s Children. By Bruce G. Epperly. Gonzalez, FL: Energion Publications, 2019. Iv + 92 pages.

Process Theology has its attractions, but it can be difficult to understand. Most expositions of this particular form of theology make significant use of the ideas of British mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947). Whitehead wasn’t a theologian by trade, but over time he moved from mathematics to the philosophy of science and then to metaphysics. It is this last stage of his development that contributed to the rise of Process Theology. Rooted as it is in a scientific/mathematics based philosophical system, you can see that it will be somewhat untraditional in its presentation of ideas. While I am not a Process-oriented theologian, there are aspects of this system that are attractive. This is especially true of its vision of an open future. It has also lent itself to concerns about ecology/environment. The challenge is makin…

Memory Full: Boomers and the Art of Never Going Away -- Sightings (David Gottlieb)

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I am part of the Baby Boomer Generation, though I was born near the tail end. It appears that my generation isn't aging very gracefully. In fact, we do all we can to resist the aging process, and apparently, we're seeking to find ways that will preserve our presence long after we're gone. This is causing generational angst. I don't have any solutions to this reality, other than to remind members of my generation that many of the same critiques we offer to the younger generations were given to us. So, perhaps we can be a bit more gracious in our interactions. Personally, I don't have plans of preserving my bodily essence for posterity. I entrust my future beyond the grave to God's hands. In any case, this essay by David Gottlieb, who is also part of the Boomer generation explores our penchant for self-preservation and its impact on our descendants. With that, I invite you to read!! 


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Unity in the Power of the Cross - A Lectionary Reflection for Epiphany 3A (1 Corinthians 1:10-18).

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1 Corinthians 1:10-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might n…

Dreaming of Justice in an Age of Fear: A Reflection for Martin Luther King Day 2020

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I was five when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. I was ten when he was assassinated, just weeks before Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed. I don’t have any firsthand memories of Dr. King’s life or death. The Civil Rights Movement was in full swing during the 1960s, but I was only a child living a rather sheltered life. Growing up I didn’t realize I might have certain privileges that were based on my race or even my gender. I did have a few friends who were African American, and I don’t remember thinking of them as being all that different from me. Nevertheless, I grew up in something of a white bubble. It would many years before I truly understood that I might have benefits accrued to me due to my race and gender, let alone my sexual orientation. I just took my reality for granted.
Over time the blinders began to come off, but not until my context began to change. It really wasn’t until I moved to Southern California to attend seminary, that the scales coverin…