A Time to Feast and a Time to Fast: Ash Wednesday Approaches

If every day were Christmas, we’d be miserable.  We’d be stuffed, bored, broke and fractious.  Irritations would win the day and gloom and unfulfilled expectations would slather everyone with despondency. Adults would desperately turn to TV, youth and teens to … Continue reading A Time to Feast and a Time to Fast: Ash Wednesday Approaches

Smaller Portions in 2014, Please

Over Christmas, I saw, Philomena, a well-done movie of evil masquerading as good, the need for closure, the temptation for revenge, and the freedom of forgiveness. Major human life themes combined with great acting: compelling and captivating. The story revolves around an Irish woman trying to find her son, adopted nearly 50 years before.  When she learns that he had been adopted by US citizens and grown up here, her immediate concern: “What if he is obese?  The portions are so huge there.” That line about the huge portions brought a good audience laugh. But perhaps an uncomfortable laugh–these words … Continue reading Smaller Portions in 2014, Please

Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

Dear Friendly, Was Jesus really born on December 25th?  All these songs about snow and cold and shepherds sleeping outside in the fields in icy winter don’t make sense to me. Signed, Not So Sure About This. Dear Not So Sure, I was just a child when I heard some radio preacher say that Jesus was probably not born on December 25.  I thought the floor had just been yanked from me.  How dare that person question what surely is clear! Except it is not clear. First, the Bible does not indicate the date on our calendar that we call … Continue reading Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

On Earth As It Is In Heaven, Initial Reflections on “Everything Must Change” Clergy Retreat

I read this New York Times Magazine article with fascination, drawn into the beauty of the life of people on a Greek island.  The writer has been seeking to find the key to their extraordinarily long lives. Their food is simple, homegrown, primarily vegetarian, and herbal teas and homemade wines are consumed daily.  Exercise is just a normal part of life, and everyone gets plenty of sleep.  However, the researcher affirmed the impossibility of just importing their food, sleep and exercise habits as a solution to the diseases of civilization that plague us in more developed countries.  He writes, As … Continue reading On Earth As It Is In Heaven, Initial Reflections on “Everything Must Change” Clergy Retreat

Anything But That!

The time leading to Easter has long been seen in many Christian traditions as the yearly opportunity to take a good, hard look at the state of our souls and ask the question, “Do I need a Savior?” A great way to engage in that interior journey is to undergo a fast.  A fast, the intentional tossing aside of certain practices or gratifications, opens our eyes quickly to our habits of self-indulgence and mindless activities. There is no one proscribed fast.  Some need to give up meals, or sweets or caffeine or alcohol. Others need to give up social networking … Continue reading Anything But That!