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Ordinary Things

September 24, 2020

Ordinary Things Michael Jinkins There is extraordinary beauty in ordinary things. The trick is noticing them. Poet Mary Oliver, in an interview with Krista Tippett, once said, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” True, but I’m not sure the word “devotion” translates well in today’s culture. Maybe better “awe,” or “wonder,” or “reverence.” In which […]

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Freedom and Complicity

September 17, 2020

Freedom and Complicity Michael Jinkins   Several years ago in a conference sponsored by Louisville Seminary, a passionate speaker, caught up (I think) in her own rhetoric, moved from what seemed to me completely justifiable righteous indignation to the threat of violence against those who committed the evils she abhorred. She was one of several […]

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Monty Python Takes the Pulpit

September 10, 2020

Folks familiar with Monty Python’s illustrious cast may only know about their, ummm, theological work from films like “The Life of Brian” and that delightful scene in “The Meaning of Life” in the “public” (that means in British English “private”) school chapel. Who can forget the chaplain’s prayer, “O God, you are so big, so […]

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I Have Said Enough About Moonlight

September 3, 2020

I Have Said Enough About Moonlight Michael Jinkins Ryonen’s story ranks among the most extraordinary in the history of devotion. I first heard it many years ago. Her story haunts me with visitations from the loviest spirit you can imagine. Her story is told in the well-known book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of […]

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Seeing Things

August 27, 2020

Seeing Things Michael Jinkins Most of us ministers like to please people. We like to be liked. As my old friend, Ted Wardlaw says, in our more extreme forms, ministers are just “quivering masses of availability” afraid to risk making anyone unhappy. Thus it wasn’t entirely a surprise when a minister friend, a few years […]

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Managing Expectations

August 21, 2020

Managing Expectations Michael Jinkins   A couple of months ago there was a really funny little article in The Economist about unrealistic expectations. It seems that many French city folks have an idealistic vision of country life, “the land,” and “a bucolic existence in la France profonde,” according to the article. Although three quarters of […]

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How to Argue

August 13, 2020

How to Argue Michael Jinkins   This may sound strange to say in this polarized age, but people have forgotten how to argue. In fact, they’ve forgotten what an argument is. An argument is the expression of a viewpoint based on evidence. It is not mere assertion. It requires the garnering of facts and the […]

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One Conscience is Not Enough

August 6, 2020

One Conscience is Not Enough Michael Jinkins   Georgia’s legendary Representative to the U. S. House recently died. He was a man worthy to be lionized. “The most Christ-like person I ever knew,” said one of his Congressional colleagues. There’s never been a time in my adult life that I haven’t known about John Lewis. […]

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The Inner Citadel, Part Two

July 30, 2020

Last week I wrote a short essay in praise of equanimity, the quality of mind that is unruffled by external conditions. As I’m sure you noticed, however, the essay begged at least two important questions: Why does this quality of mind matter? And how can it be achieved and maintained? I’d like to address these […]

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The Inner Citadel, Part One

July 9, 2020

Montaigne was despised by both sides during the wars of religion between Protestants and Catholics that ravaged France from 1562-1598, writes historian Robert Zaretsky in an essay (June 29, 2020) for the NYT. He was known in his time as a politique: Someone who “for the sake of all tries to find common ground in […]

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