Author Archives: Rich Neal

Time to get real

Do you like surprises? I do. I like to be surprised by the new and different and unexpected, by things that add a little zip to life. I also like those surprises to be safe. I don’t like surprises that threaten things I depend on. I shy away from surprises that destabilize things I count […]

A shrinking circle of friends (interlude)

Soon after posting my last entry, “A shrinking circle of friends,” one friend who’s still in my circle sent me a long and thoughtful message in reply, a message that got me thinking about how my circle of friends takes shape and about what friends offer to one another. A longer “Part 2” to my […]

A shrinking circle of friends

By choice, my circle of friends is growing smaller, at least the circle of people I’ve labeled “friend” on Facebook. It’s not that the number of real friends is decreasing – it’s a number that for me has always been small – but that I’m growing more discerning about those I identify as “friend” and […]

The gift of cold

As this part of the world falls toward winter, another part careers toward spring. Earth is at once cooling and warming, settling into rest and gathering itself for a new burgeoning. That’s the nature, the wholeness, of the creation in which we live. So “Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat; give God praise […]

Allow

Yesterday I wrote that the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids (Matt. 25:1-13) is not about how we prepare for what comes in the future but “is a characterization of a way of living that makes us and keeps us open and receptive to the fullness of grace – call it the kingdom of […]

Ready or not

Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids (Matt. 25:1-13) is not about being ready or not ready for something that will happen later. It’s a story about a way of being present to what is in this moment, in the Now. It’s a characterization of a way of living that makes us and keeps […]

A new Reformation: A matter of case

Today most of the Protestant church observed Reformation Sunday, marking the 500th anniversary of the day in 1517 when the German priest Martin Luther posted in Wittenburg his celebrated ninety-five theses, detailing significant errors in theology or practice he found in the way the Roman church was being church. It sparked the Protestant Reformation, and, […]

Dinner is served

Life happens. Random, unpredictable events, especially unfortunate events, happen every day, and we say, “life happens.” Dorothy was talking the other day about how the wrong hymn numbers got into the worship bulletin two weeks ago. “I don’t know what happened,” she said. “Life happened,” I said. It’s an experience common to all of God’s […]

Give me your hand

Sixty-five years ago, an Anglican priest in London, England, changed the way we talk about faith. John Bertram Phillips published a little book, Your God Is Too Small, that pushed beyond the popular notions of God and challenged his readers to redefine a higher power in ways that were relevant to the issues of his […]

Human family

Can we all get along?” That was Rodney King’s question during the 1991 riots in Los Angeles, and it’s a good one today. The acquittal of four L.A. police officers of charges related to their beating of King as he lay helpless on the ground – a beating captured on video and widely broadcast – […]