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Optimism vs. Hope

February 15th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Carol had been beaten down by several terrible tragedies. The first shocker: her daughter had drowned in the backyard pool while celebrating her third birthday with friends. Then, during the subsequent counseling, her husband fell in love with the therapist whose professional boundaries were swamped by passion. Divorce ensued. Two years later I sat with Carol in… Read More

Companions along the Way…

February 8th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

At some point in the course of February, check out a challenging and important online exhibition entitled, Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America. Make this an intentional personal assignment for Black History Month. (I recommend you include the short video as you scroll the site.) I first came in contact with these photographs… Read More

The way forward

February 1st, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has called a special session of the General Conference to be held February 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. (General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church and normally meets every 4 years. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held in May of 2020 in… Read More

Homage…

January 18th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Mary Oliver died yesterday. A poet of consummate grace and depth, I returned often to her work as an aid in my own meditation and spiritual devotion. She had a special capacity for interweaving her questing faith with keen observation of the natural world. She spoke simply, but truly, and in this way aroused deep spiritual… Read More

The year for something different…

January 11th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Was it birth or death, great sorrow or great joy that filled the hospital room? It was surely at least all of those things. That Robert would soon die was a fact. That his father was recently reborn was another. This pastoral encounter happened early in my ministry. Robert had been diagnosed with AIDS long… Read More

Real love… a parable…

January 4th, 2019 by Stephen Bauman

Several decades ago I was involved in a musical comedy production at my children’s school. I played the male romantic lead, which required me to kiss the ingenue with some passionate intensity. This prompted an interesting conversation with my kids, who were then six and eight years old. More than once they witnessed me practicing… Read More

Resolutions…

December 28th, 2018 by Stephen Bauman

Among the popular New Year’s resolutions that are proffered every January by well-meaning persons are those pertaining to work. These run the gamut from desiring a different job, spending more time at home, or being more competent. Although these intentions most often are rarely implemented, they do point to a very important series of considerations.… Read More

Advent with the Psalms – Rev. Dr. Stephen Bauman

December 25th, 2018 by Stephen Bauman

Psalm 96:11-12 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult. Joy—unmitigated gift! We can’t conjure it or manufacture it or fake it. When it comes to… Read More

Advent with the Psalms – Brian Pinter

December 24th, 2018 by Brian Pinter

Psalm 89:3-4 I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations. Today’s psalm invites us to reflect on an Advent theme I rarely ponder– the coming Davidic king-messiah.  For the Israelites, to recall King David… Read More

Advent with the Psalms – Rev. Dr. Violet Lee

December 23rd, 2018 by Violet Lee

Psalm 89:16-17 Blessed the people who know the joyful shout; in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk. At your name they rejoice all the day, and through your justice they are exalted. As always, Eugene Peterson’s The Message translation is so lively!  I especially like his language in the fifteenth verse, “passwords… Read More