• Grace Notes 9/26/2015: WWJD? You might be surprised...

    A few weeks ago, a woman called me with an idea for my column.

    She had just read “In His Steps,” a book written in 1896 that sparked the “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do?) phenomena in the 1990s, the WWJD bracelets, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets, et al.

    The book, written by Charles Sheldon, is a fictional story about a pastor who challenges his congregation not to do anything for an entire year without first asking, “What would Jesus do?” and then do that.

  • Grace Notes 9/19/2015: 'That's good stuff, Harry'

    I’ve mentioned my friend Harry before.

    He’s 86ish and used to golf every day, but one day several years ago he decided he’d had enough and hung up his clubs, or whatever it is you do when you stop golfing.

    Harry and his wife, Charlotte, have sat behind me in church for as long as I can remember.

  • Grace Notes 9/12/2015: Odds and ends

    Once again it’s time for a mumbo jumbo, bits of odds and ends column filled with random thoughts and various things I’ve found and have been saving that are too short for a full-length column yet too good not to use. I hope there will be something helpful to you.

    * In a sermon at the church in Tampa we often visit, the pastor talked about fear, a subject I am well acquainted with, although I’m much better than I was.

  • Grace Notes: Choo-choosing to unhitch from the crazy train

    Just this morning my friend Tara and I were wondering if it’s possible to be addicted to drama.

    She calls it being on the crazy train. She said when the crazy train comes around and she hitches a ride on it she’s firing on all cylinders, she’s in high gear and overdrive, not to mention mixing metaphors. 

    She feels alive, she says, yet at the same time she hates it with all her might.

  • St. Timothy Lutheran Church to welcome new pastor

    Special to the Chronicle

    St. Timothy Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Crystal River will welcome its new pastor, the Rev. Joan E. Holden, with her installation at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, which will be followed by a reception in St. Timothy Bradford Fellowship Hall.

    The Rev. James Glaeser Jr., the assistant to the bishop of the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod, will be the presiding minister for the installation of the Rev. Holden. The Rev. Anna S. Figueiro, dean of the

  • Gravity embraces Journey to form church

    INVERNESS  —  First there was Journey Church in Inverness, a contemporary church aimed at younger people, some who may not have been familiar with church, others who may have been hurt by church in the past.

    Journey Church started in 2007 with the Rev. Kevin Brian as its pastor.

  • Finding serenity, now

    Collin Binkley

    Associated Press

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass.

    Just blocks away from the bustling heart of this city, a community of monks offers a silent escape from it.

  • Grace Notes: More signs of grace

    Recently, two quotes from two very different people landed in my email inbox that have caused me to ponder.

    The first one came as a Christianity Today update about Tullian Tchividjian, the Fort Lauderdale pastor who resigned after admitting to an inappropriate relationship. The update said he has no plans to withdraw from the public eye.

  • Faithful debate

    Karin Laub & Sam McNeil

    Associated Press


    AL-MAGHTAS, Jordan - For years, Christian pilgrims have waded into the Jordan River from both its eastern and western banks to connect with a core event of their faith — the baptism of Jesus. The parallel

  • Grace Notes: Return of shame

    When I was a kid, we used to sing the taunt, “Shame, shame, everybody knows your name!”
    I don’t remember who taught it to us, but we took great delight in singing it to anyone we wanted to shame and humiliate.
    I was a horrible child. I’m still horrible, but I clean up nicely and mostly refrain from pointing out people’s sin to their face in public.
    Still, what is it about us humans that we love to shame others?
    As I write this, the shame target of the current news cycle is Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed, skinned and beheaded 13-year-old Cecil, Zimbabwe’s celebrity lion.