Category Archives: Forgiveness

You Don’t Have to Be Good

The things people tell a minister after church. . . . Yesterday a woman I did not know spoke to me after church—she was there for a baptism. I heard about the church of her childhood, where “salvation” was attained by refraining from smoking and drinking and dancing and cursing. It was a rigid theology…

Abba Moses and the Leaky Jug

Yesterday I sat in the second pew at St. Stephen’s church in Richmond, Virginia. There to speak later in the morning, I was worshiping at the 9 o’clock Eucharist. My friend Gary Jones preached—masterfully—on that well-known parable from Luke. Two men go up to the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector. The…

“Obsessed” With Abortion, Homosexuality and Birth Control

The church is “obsessed” with abortion, homosexuality and birth control. That comment by Pope Francis a few days ago made global headlines. It’s no mistake that all three bugbears are physical, of the body, sexual. Little-mind religion seizes on the carnal sins and makes avoiding them a cardinal virtue. That’s because it is mostly preoccupied…

Blood is Thicker

This morning I was on the phone with a colleague. As we were winding down our conversation I mentioned that I had just returned from my annual family reunion. “Oh,” he said, “you know what my family calls those annual get-togethers? Dysfunction Junction.” We had a laugh. Families and their awkward attempts at reunion are…

Second Marriage (Same People)

Today is my 35th wedding anniversary. Pam and I were married June 3rd 1978 in Panama City, Florida. After 35 years, my marriage is blessedly the most important thing in my life. But it wasn’t always. We all marry a fantasy, an idealized image of the perfect husband or wife. A few months or years…