Category Ruminations

The transforming choice

In an old Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown wonders, “Why would they ban Miss Sweetstory’s book from the school library?” Then he speculates, “Maybe there are some things in her book that we don’t understand.” Violet responds, “In that case, they should also ban my math book.” Frankly, if we were to ban books containing things […]

A gospel of cooked turnip greens

Among all the favorite foods my mother served up when I was a child, there were some that made me gag: liver and onions, for example, or cooked turnip greens. When Mother served something I thought for sure was going to poison me, there was one simple and firm rule. I didn’t have to eat […]

The gospel on a level place

A long time ago I learned you don’t mess around with someone’s favorite passages of scripture. The connection people feel with their favorite passages is deep, even holy. There’s a reason, sometimes many reasons, why those passages are dearly held. Upsetting those connections can be more than disturbing: it can be deeply harmful, so proceed […]

Shutting the door

“Anyone can retire into a quiet place, wrote Evelyn Underhill, but it’s the shutting of the door that makes the difference. Solitude is a time for stripping away everything in order to focus on God. (Matt 6:6)” (Sue Monk Kidd). Lent is not far away, beginning in just under three weeks with Ash Wednesday on […]

Listen to your life

As Isaiah described it (Isa. 6:1-8), his calling, his vocation from God, came in a dramatic moment in the temple: a vision of God on a throne attended by seraphs, those mysterious, angelic beings at the top of the heavenly hierarchy, singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts”; the building trembling and filling […]

The wideness of mercy

The season after Epiphany has been described as the season when “we reflect on the nature of the Messiah who has come, and we face the risky problem of how we are to act on the basis of our reflection” (Robert McAfee Brown in Social Themes of the Christian Year: A Commentary on the Lectionary, […]

Our work of reconciliation

Most of the parents of children in our Child Care Center are tired of the restrictions and quarantines of the pandemic, some of them desperately so. Most of us are, too. We grieve what we’ve lost and yearn just as desperately for a return to normal. We want to gather for worship the way we […]

Where’s everybody going?

“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” So Karen Blixen begins Out of Africa, the account of her life in Kenya. At the beginning of the movie based on the book, Meryl Streep repeats that line wistfully, as if invoking a memory. “I had a farm in Africa . […]

This call is for you

When our celebration of Christmas ends, the work of Christmas begins. According to theologian and poet Howard Thurman, that work is: “To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among brothers [and sisters], To make music in the heart.” The […]

At the gate of the year

Since I was a child, hardly a new year has begun when I don’t think of my grandfather Howard Fullerton and a little poem we discovered after his death. Let me tell you the story of that poem. In the dark, uncertain days of late 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, England’s […]