Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Entries Tagged as 'Faith and the City'

Hit the Wood

January 22nd, 2016 · Comments Off on Hit the Wood · Faith and the City

Can you keep a secret? Step a little closer. I do not like election years — specifically Presidential election years. Yes, yes … I know. The Presidential election in America — the once-every-four-years process through which we select a leader for this country, followed by the peaceful passing of the baton from one administration to […]

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January 7th, 2016 · Comments Off on Mulch · Faith and the City

Life moves fast. If you walk around the city this week, you cannot help noticing the curbside stacks of bedraggled Christmas trees. They are ready for “Mulchfest” — New York’s annual recycling program that turns our holiday remnants into something useful for local parks and playgrounds. The Church moves fast, too. This week we celebrate Baptism […]

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Hopes and Fears

December 19th, 2015 · Comments Off on Hopes and Fears · Faith and the City

Christmas is for poets. The best verse for Yuletide tweaks our nostalgia. It prods our skepticism, too. It pushes past both the syrupy sweet and the sadly cynical places in our hearts. The best poetry ushers us into the mystery of God’s incarnation. How could the Eternal do a temporal act, The Infinite become a finite fact? […]

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What Are You Waiting For?

December 3rd, 2015 · Comments Off on What Are You Waiting For? · Faith and the City

Two splendid works of 20th-century culture have a lot to teach us about the ancient mysteries of Advent. One is a play, the other a movie. In a 1999 survey by The Massachusetts Review, Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot was voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century.” Written in 1949, […]

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Christ Actually

November 7th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Faith and the City

Who is Jesus Christ to you? Is he the same, gentle figure you met in your Children’s Bible? The same healer your Sunday School teachers told you about? The same Messiah you wrestled with in high school? The same Divine whose nature you questioned when doubts first swirled through your head? It’s likely that, whenever […]

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Heroes, Villains and Violence

October 18th, 2015 · Comments Off on Heroes, Villains and Violence · Faith and the City

My daily route to the church takes me past the Grand Army Plaza on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. From my seat on the bus, I have an unobstructed view of the plaza’s central attraction — the freshly gilded statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman. A West Point graduate, Sherman settled in New York City […]

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The Hate Machine

September 28th, 2015 · Comments Off on The Hate Machine · Faith and the City

As of Wednesday, it’s officially fall! I love autumn in New York. The morning air is crisp. Sumac leaves in Central Park are turning red. Footballs are flying through the air. Did you see the college game last Saturday between Texas and Cal? The Golden Bears were way out front. Then, Jerrod Heard, the Longhorns’ […]

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Idol Talk

September 11th, 2015 · 2 Comments · Faith and the City

In 2002, the English author Neil Gaiman won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for a book entitled American Gods.  In the novel, Gaiman weaves a picture of contemporary America in which new gods (deities like Media, the goddess of television, and Technology Boy, the personification of the Internet) are on the rise. At the same […]

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Sabbatical Travels

July 15th, 2015 · Comments Off on Sabbatical Travels · Faith and the City

In Edinburgh, I had a chance to reconnect with my friend, the Reverend Calum MacLeod. Calum is the parish minister of St. Giles’ Cathedral—the mother church of all Presbyterianism. It was here that John Knox, the Protestant reformer and minister of St. Giles (1560-1572), began the movement that would found the Church of Scotland and the Presbyterian […]

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June 30th, 2015 · Comments Off on Sorbie · Faith and the City

In 1929, my paternal grandfather, Edgar Johnston, left his home in Sorbie, Scotland, to travel to New York City. There he put his carpentry skills to work in the New York shipyards. His wife, Beatrice (my grandmother), went to work at Bloomingdales. Yesterday, I visited for the first time, the parish church in Sorbie. I […]

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