Trunk or Treat

As I was driving into Chicago earlier this week for my seminary classes, I marveled at the beautiful aura of autumn that we are blessed with in northwest Indiana. Even though it was raining, the changing colors of leaves (some of which were falling off the trees as I was driving) served as a gentle reminder of God's wondrous creation. More specifically, as I navigated through the traffic on I-94, I thought about the various towns I was passing by in Indiana and Illinois. These towns, including Valparaiso, receive their identity from the people. The ways in which we interact with each other determine how our community - or God's neighborhood - evolves. Tonight, First Presbyterian Church will

Celestial Mechanics

A few weeks ago, I stood in awe as a hot mid-day sun in Southern Illinois became little more than a tiny sliver before being completely obscured by the moon. As day became twilight and lights started blinking on, I stood transfixed by the beauty of the Sun's corona, wishing I could somehow capture the essence of the moment in a way that could really do it justice. As I reflect on the experience of a total solar eclipse, I can't help but wonder at how the experience might have been viewed by our early prescientific ancestors. For most of human history, a solar eclipse most probably would have been viewed as an ominous message from God. As Ross Anderson wrote in a recent article in "The Atl

When we find Jesus

One of the great contemporary Christian writers is Juan Carlos Ortiz. He is a preacher with an interesting and rather bombastic style. Originally from Argentina he came to the US and became the pastor to the Latino congregation at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, and also a professor of preaching at Robert Schuler University. Although he was originally raised as a Roman Catholic, he was ordained in the Reformed Church in America after having been examined by the Presbyterian Church as well as the Reformed Church. He was also the main preacher on "Hora de Paler," the Spanish language version of Schuler's "Hour of Power." He is currently Pastor Emeritus of Robert Schuler


"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." IN ONE RESPECT if in no other this metaphor of Isaiah's is a very relevant one for us and our age because we are also, God knows, a people who walk in darkness. There seems little need to explain. If darkness is meant to suggest a world where nobody can see very well-either themselves, or each other, or where they are heading, or even where they are standing at the moment; if darkness is meant to convey a sense of uncertainty, of being lost, of being afraid; if darkness suggests conflict, conflict between races, between nations, between individuals each pretty much out for himself when you come right down to it; then we live in a w

Fall: A Spiritual Season of Transformation

This year, the autumnal equinox fell on September 22. On that day, the sun rested above the equator, meaning that there was an equal balance of light and dark, day and night. Nature pauses on the equinox, poised between leaving behind the extravagant productivity of summer, and taking a deep breath, slowing down for the coming transformation of fall. It's as if the natural world has been at a big, long, noisy, colorful party for three months! And now it's time to say good-bye, and settle down into the serious business of fall - the letting go that, for many living things, leads to death. For me, fall is the most beautiful time of year here in the Midwest, not only in its colors, but also in

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