The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood

One of the very finest books written by Joseph Ratzinger, who would later become Pope Benedict XVI, was titled: The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1993). The original German edition was published in 1960 when Ratzinger was still a young man in his thirties. Thus this book is also pre-Vatican II. And it happens to be one of … Read More

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

The well-known American song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," is 100 years old this year. It trails only "Happy Birthday" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the most frequently performed song in America, at least according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. (I wonder where "Amazing Grace" is on this list. I would think it has … Read More

How the U. S. Army Learns from Mistakes

David Ignatius, Washington Post syndicated columnist, recently wrote that the U. S. Army was better able to admit its mistakes and change its ways than almost any institution in our society. Intuitively this seems preposterous until you think about it. For eighteen months the army messed up the plan in Iraq very badly. While civilian leaders and politicians are still … Read More

How Bout Those Cubbies?

I write ever so often about the Chicago Cubs. I am open about my feelings that I do not much care for the Cubs. This was not always true. When I came to Chicago in 1969 and Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins and Ernie Banks were leading the Cubs to what seemed to be destiny in the World Series … Read More

What on Earth Do We Make of Jesse Jackson?

Jesse Jackson cannot avoid the news cycle. He is either running here or there in an attempt to free prisoners overseas or he’s making another "racist" statement that should offend millions of black Americans. I am not sure that his statements offend large numbers of black people but they do offend me! Not only did Rev. Jackson mock Senator Obama, … Read More

Acts for Everyone

Readers of this blog know that I am appreciative and positive about the biblical theological contributions of Bishop N. T. Wright. They will also know that I profoundly disagree with his social and political views. I written about both in the past. For those who do not yet know who Tom Wright is you owe it to yourself to get … Read More

Obama Got It Wrong About Language

A few weeks ago Senator Barack Obama, speaking in Georgia, said that: "Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English, because they will learn English, you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish." This statement raises a number of compelling questions that must be a part of our cultural dialog at this important time in American history. … Read More

On Living and Dying Well

I have told many friends, over many years, that nothing sobers and strengthens my soul like leading a funeral service. I remember many funny, unusual and delightful moments about scores of weddings I have conducted but I remember almost every funeral in a much more powerful way. I have preached a funeral service for friends of all sorts and for … Read More

Bleak House: A Dickens Novel on the Screen

I discovered Bleak House, as I do so many great film series, browsing in my local library. It seems to be an exceptional adaptation of a Charles Dickens’ novel written between 1851-53. I have seen a number of adaptations of Dickens’ works and I think this has to be the best film series of the bunch, at least of the … Read More

Ecumenism: A Truly Good Word

As I work on my book, Your Church is Too Small, I find that I must again and again explain the proper understanding of the word "ecumenism." For so many it has an entirely negative tone about it. I grew up around people who felt the word was akin to a "Communist conspiracy" or something. The word comes from the … Read More