A Fish Story

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here In the late 1970s, commercial deep sea fishermen made an amazing discovery off the coast of Australia. Nearly a mile beneath the surface there were vast schools of a large, reddish-orange species of fish.  They were delicious.  Their filets, which exuded almost no fishy smell or taste, delighted chefs. From a… Read more »

Just Show Up

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here When someone else is hurting, it’s tempting to think our call is to do something amazing or to say something unusually wise. But most of the time, the need of the hour is simply to show up.   In his recent bestseller How to Know a Person, cultural commentator David Brooks recounts… Read more »

Breaching the Walls

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Many of us still flinch at the memory of high school English, especially our initial exposure to “great poetry.” Great poetry is not often easy to grasp, let alone appreciate.  It doesn’t always rhyme and rarely appears in Hallmark cards, let alone pop music or everyday conversation.  Such is the work… Read more »

Parental Approval

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here More than anything, the young Winston Churchill yearned for the affection and approval of his father. But Sir Randolph Churchill, a rising star in Britain’s Conservative Party at the turn of the last century, appears to have been ill-equipped to be a supportive dad. He rarely even spoke to his gifted but sensitive… Read more »

Ain’t You Tired?

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here The 2012 film The Help depicts life in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962 – particularly the intersecting worlds of the black women (“the help”) who work as maids, cooks, and child caregivers and the white women whose households they serve. Hilly Holbrook, one of the housewives, is an angry, self-absorbed, manipulative racist. … Read more »

Coming Attractions

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here It’s coming.  And there’s nothing you can do about it.  Just when you thought 2024 couldn’t get any crazier – what with a total solar eclipse, crowds flocking to see a movie depicting a future civil war, and a November election that for some reason keeps popping up in the news… Read more »

Cracked Pots

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here In the ancient world the most durable containers were carved out of stone. That’s where royalty would safeguard their treasures.  A rich family might keep an especially prized possession in an alabaster box. Ordinary families, however, had to resort to clay jars.  And clay jars were a dime a dozen. In… Read more »

Privileges and Responsibilities

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Membership has its privileges.  That’s the marketing slogan American Express copyrighted in 1980, the beginning of what became a “what’s-in-it-for-me” American decade. As one would-be church member asked me while I was planting a Presbyterian congregation during that time, “What do I get if I join?” The first time I replied… Read more »

The Missionary Effect

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Mark Twain cherished no love for Christian missionaries.  In 1872, the famous author and satirist declared, “Hawaiians enjoyed an idyllic life before the missionaries braved a thousand privations to come and make them permanently miserable by telling them how beautiful and blissful a place heaven is, and how nearly impossible it… Read more »

A Taste of Grace

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here Denmark has never been considered a center for global cinema. Only a handful of Danish movies, in fact, have ever received an Academy Award.  But the first one to accomplish that – Babette’s Feast, winner of the 1987 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (based on a story by Danish writer… Read more »