Monthly Archives: September 2014

Hunger in Alexandria

greatdepressionWith many of you, I’ve been watching the new Ken Burns series on PBS this week:  “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.” One image that has stuck with me from last night’s show is the image of the men standing in line for hours for food during the Great Depression.

This is but one portrait of hunger. Here in Alexandria, we still have lines of people waiting for food (if you’d like to see them, help out at one of the food distribution sites through ALIVE! some Saturday). But the face of hunger today in our city is more complex than food lines. Continue reading


Counting Forgiveness

Debt being erased by the end of a pencil, word implies debtPentecost 14: Counting Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35

September 14, 2014

I’ve been taking a poetry course online.

It  began this week, so poems are on my brain…

Elizabeth Barrett Browning begins Sonnet 43…

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

In the end of her poem, I count 12.

What do you think….Is that a good number?

It sounds like a lot… (especially in the language Browning uses!)

Should the one she loves feel good about that number?

If Peter asked Jesus,

“Lord, how many times should I love my neighbor?”

Would 12 be enough?

Continue reading

#whyistayed and #whyileft


This week’s surfacing of a video where Ray Rice is seen punching his then-fiancée resulted in his release from the Baltimore Ravens and indefinite suspension from the NFL. If you’ve seen the video, the punishment isn’t surprising.

To those unfamiliar with domestic violence, what has been more surprising is the reaction of his now-wife Janay.  Janay continued with her plans and married Ray after this particular event occurred. When the video of what happened in that elevator became public this week, Janay continued to support her husband and responded on Instagram saying, “…To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his *** of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.”

Why would she continue to support a man who assaulted her? Continue reading

When It Rains

rainPentecost 14A – When It Rains

Matthew 18:15-20

September 7, 2014


Well here it is Rally Day.

                We’re excited about a new year of Sunday School classes.

                We’re excited about welcoming a new choir director.

                We’re excited about an afternoon of service.

                We’re wearing these bright yellow tee shirts – the color of sunshine!

And then it turns out the readings assigned to us today

                are not about excitement and sunny days.


They’re about the times when clouds come…

                and more specifically….when clouds come to church.


A number of years ago a collection of letters that viewers sent to Mr. Rogers

                was published.


You remember Mr. Rogers…

                Mr. Rogers came into my living room every day at about 5pm.


There was comfort in the routine.

                He would walk through the door of the home

                                singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,

                                                a beautiful day to be neighbors…”


He’d open the closet and change out of his sport coat into a cardigan sweater.

                Then he’d walk to a chair (or maybe it was a bench) sit down and change into a pair of sneakers,

                                tossing each shoe into the air as he took them off. Continue reading

Ten Books

harriet the spyTen Books


There’s a challenge going about Facebook recently. (No, not THAT challenge!) It’s a challenge, or rather perhaps an invitation, to name ten books which have stayed with you over the years.


I’ve enjoyed reading the titles and authors friends have chosen. What I’ve found missing in the posts, however, are the reasons why my friends chose these books.


Was it the plot? The location? The characters? Was there a theme that they pondered long afterwards? Was the book so bad it made them laugh? Did it inspire them to think or to act differently?


There are many books which have stayed with me over the years, and I can assure you that it’s almost never because of the plot – because I can never remember the plot! I think that books have stayed with me mostly because of the characters, and in particular, the feelings I have for the characters. Continue reading