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Competing Thoughts on Heaven

Competing Thoughts on Heaven

“He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.” Mk 12:27 Yesterday was an interesting spiritual journey for me. One, I’m only beginning to process as I reflect on this scripture passage. In today’s reading, Jesus is questioned about heaven by some Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. The dialogue matches the flow of my day. My morning began by leading a celebration of life service for a wonderful…

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Every Time We Dive

Every Time We Dive

“…I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3 My uncle used to take students from Carleton College to the Great Barrier Reef to study ocean life. Once, when he was sharing his experiences with me, he described how every time they went into the water they discovered a new species. Being completely unfamiliar with ocean life, I found his observation bewildering. I thought we had pretty…

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Streets Without Names

Streets Without Names

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? John 1: 46 The band, U2, had a hit song titled, “Where the Streets Have No Name.”  The song’s lyrics were inspired by conditions in Belfast, Northern Ireland. People in Belfast were deeply divided by religion and income. U2’s lead singer, Bono, noticed how these divisions found expression in the names of the streets people lived on. The sadness of the conditions in Belfast stood in contrast to the life Bono witnessed during…

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No Distinctions There

No Distinctions There

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. Rom. 10:12 Years ago on Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor told a story about meeting Donnie Hart at a bus stop in downtown St. Paul. Donnie was a childhood friend from Lake Wobegon. He described Donnie as a child taller and stronger than the other children his age. Yet, he was a gentle giant, patient, tender and…

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Dinners of Expectation

Dinners of Expectation

When you give a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. (Lk 14:12) Fundraising dinners are critical for the life of any non-profit agency working to transform a community. The right people need to be invited. New people need to be included. No matter what your relationship, there is a clear expectation each guest will contribute. Significant donors have…

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Sunset Park

Sunset Park

  When we lived in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, I used to go up on the roof of the church to watch people walking on the street below. It was fascinating to see so many different nationalities, languages, professions, destinations and styles walking on the same busy sidewalk. It felt like I was gazing into the kingdom of heaven. Our neighborhood was no stranger to crime. You didn’t have to solicit prostitutes to know them by their first name. They had…

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