Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Entries Tagged as 'faith'

Slush

January 28th, 2016 · Comments Off on Slush · Faith and the City

This past Monday put me in a grumpy mood. After dropping my son off at school, I negotiated icy sidewalks and slush clogged intersections trying to make my way back to the subway. It was a ridiculous mess. Trudging along in single file with other commuters and school children, I began muttering about scofflaws who […]

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Summer Reading 2015

April 30th, 2015 · 2 Comments · Faith and the City

The days are lengthening. T-shirts are appearing on Fifth Avenue. Summer is around the corner. In transitioning to this welcome warmth, tucking away sweaters and hauling out sandals and straw hats, we cannot forget a crucial pre-summer task. It is time to think about and assemble your book list. What will you read in the […]

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Can God Take a Joke?

January 8th, 2015 · Comments Off on Can God Take a Joke? · Faith and the City

In 1979, the British comedy troupe Monty Python released their most controversial and irreverent movie, Life of Brian. The basic premise of the film was that “Brian” was born on the very same day as, in the next stable over from, Jesus. This coincidence leads to sustained confusion and hilarity. Throughout his life, Brian is […]

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Why Poetry?

November 6th, 2014 · Comments Off on Why Poetry? · Faith and the City

Here’s a list of my top-ten reasons why you should put yourself on a regular diet of poetry, and consequently my case for why you should attend the Wiman event at FAPC this Sunday!

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Violence, Violence

September 27th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Faith and the City

We live in a vicious world. This past week, reporters have sprinted from one bloody scene to the next: The Westgate Mall in Nairobi All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan The Navy Yard in Washington, DC Cornell Square Park in Chicago This deluge of mayhem bows our backs and makes us wonder: “Is the world more violent […]

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Seamus Heaney 1939-2013

August 30th, 2013 · Comments Off on Seamus Heaney 1939-2013 · Faith and the City

I awoke this morning—back in NYC after summer travels, family time and study leave—to hear Seamus Heaney’s death reported on the radio. Heaney was one of Ireland’s best poets. Ever. His name belongs in the same breath as Beckett and Yeats. One of the things I cherish in Heaney’s work is his eye for the […]

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Remembering the Stable

December 24th, 2012 · Comments Off on Remembering the Stable · Faith and the City

Good Readers and Friends, For about twenty years, ever since my friend Michael introduced me to it, W. H. Auden’s grand oratorio, For the Time Being, has been Christmas reading for me.  It is a long poem (written during World War II) that dances with the deep mystery of Christmas.  Along the way, Auden examines […]

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Dear Oliver

May 17th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Sermon Bin

“Dear Oliver” 2 Timothy 1: 1-7 Mother’s Day Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church May 13, 2012 ©Scott Black Johnston A few years ago, Richard Dawkins, prominent zoologist and atheist, wrote a letter to his ten-year-old daughter, Juliet.  In the letter, Dawkins uses age-appropriate language and illustrations to steer his daughter toward the truth as he sees […]

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To Tebow or Not to Tebow?

February 2nd, 2012 · 3 Comments · Faith and the City

I don’t have to remind (m)any of my fellow New Yorkers that Super Bowl Sunday is nearly upon us.  Even the buses are frosted with Giants’ blue!  We are all eager to see if Victor Cuz will get a chance to salsa in the endzone. At church, our youth group is using the day as […]

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Raise Up a Child

June 1st, 2011 · 1 Comment · Faith and the City

“How can I give my children a spiritual foundation?” “Where should I take my daughter so that she can learn about her faith tradition?” “What should I do so that my son will develop a solid moral foundation?” I get a lot of questions like these. My first response is usually to say that there […]

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