Archives for In the Moment

Of Monuments and Memorials: A Call for Justice

The recent clashes between two groups of marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, played out on a national stage, has yet again brought to the surface evidence of the profoundly unsettled and potentially explosive matter of race relations in the United States. The removal of monuments and statuary stands as the center point, and in some instances the flashpoint, of differing interpretations of what they represent. The arguments for and about keeping them in place reflect a great seesaw of argument about how we should interpret our history today. Physical symbols can clearly possess remarkable presence and can embody distilled meaning. Symbols
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The UCC: Sixty Years On

The following is a slightly edited version of the text of a letter directed to the Rev. Mr. John C. Dorhauer, President of the United Church of Christ, in February 2017. As the content suggests, it was prompted by concerns about the direction and viability of the denomination, tracing as far back as flawed aspects of the formative 1957 merger.  I believe it can be argued that the UCC is a dying entity, evidenced most patently by a sustained and dramatic decrease in membership over its sixty years of existence.  I further perceive that the UCC has failed to acknowledge
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Call Everyone Lucky

Many years on into ministry, as I read and reread the Easter accountings – and they do vary from Gospel to Gospel – and mull on the details, I can only conclude that the evident miracle of Jesus’ rising from the dead is not the central point of these tales, as much as this would otherwise appear so obvious. From a simplified perspective, we perceive this story as encompassing a clean plot line, simple and direct, without any subtlety or subtext.  Jesus arose from the dead, glory alleluia, beginning and end of story. As with so much, however, the message
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Lenten Meditation

There was a television series titled “The Naked City” that ran from the late 1950s to the early 1960s that was based on a 1940s movie of that name.  It followed the same semi-documentary format as the movie, including the refrain spoken at the end of each episode, “There are eight million stories in the naked city.” The locale for the drama was New York City, and the eight million referenced the number of its citizens, the premise being that each life has a tale to tell. I remember that television show and especially so the concluding phrase, and have
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Are Walls the Answer?

Introduced as a major proposal during the 2016 Presidential campaign, and now continuing into the actual administration of Donald Trump, the construction of a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico stands as an unsettled, and unsettling, issue. The whole matter is full of imponderables, challenges, and controversy, ranging from a wall’s ultimate effectiveness, feasibility, the message it sends about the nature of the United States, and of course its cost, and in that regard, most particularly who will bear that. The appeal of a wall of the sort proposed along the Mexican border lies in its
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From Despair to Hope

December 7, 2016, marked the seventh-fifth anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, an event that catapulted the United States into the fiercest armed conflict it has ever known.  Termed “a day that will live in infamy” by then President Franklin Roosevelt, the scars of the war that began then remained fixed in the American psyche.  Visible scars remain as well in places such as the underwater memorial created by the hulk of the battleship Arizona which has rested undisturbed in the waters of the lagoon where it was sunk all those years ago. And while that day remains infamous,
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Transformative Faith

Perhaps some of you were able to view all or part of this past Sunday morning service at the “Mother Emanuel” AME Church in Charlestown, SC, where the horrific shooting took place last week.  I followed most of the service and want to comment on the content. First, if you do not know, the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church has been a national presence since late in the 18th century.  It has largely served the black community, first populated by free blacks before the Civil War and since then has of course had open doors to all.  It might be
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Prayer for the Children and People of Newtown, Connecticut

O God of the ages and God of the generations, ever we pray for the peace of Jerusalem that her weeping may cease, and this day we pray for the peace of Newtown. Tender and joyous and expectant, the visions of children glimmer before our eyes, sundered by an image of the unspeakable. Tears belong to the living, blessings belong to the dead, and grief belongs to all. In this hour of deep darkness, we cast ourselves upon every foundation, grasping for a sense of firm ground to sustain bodies and hearts that are without frame to uphold them. Cradle
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