first attempt august 16 17

The Lunacy of Scholar Blogs

Karl Barth smiling and smoking a pipe

Karl Barth

Karl Barth, famous Swiss theologian of the last century, once said famously that the preacher should go into the pulpit with a bible in one hand and a Scholar Blog in the other.

Actually he didn’t. He knew nothing of scholar blogs, which begs the question why you would want them either. To answer this in the affirmative, consider the work of Doug Scharf, newly-minted rector of Good Shepherd, Juniper, Florida. He will be going into the pulpit with a bible in one hand and a scholar blog in the other.

But check his feet. With all this going on, he may be preaching without shoes. With high temperatures and humidity this time of year in Florida, you may not want to linger too long. Instead, you can hear his latest sermon here: Look at Your Feet.

Blogging While Clueless about WordPress

Learning to Keep Coffee Close By So I Don’t Melt Down

This morning on the way to Candler, I was stopped in traffic at least four times by people in front of me driving their cars as if they had never been to the big city before.  I somehow managed to make it through with minimal cursing, but was still about 5 minutes late for class.  Fortunately, the class start was delayed a few minutes, so I didn’t miss anything.



This is a picture of me getting out of my car, taking up the microphone and criticizing the drivers in front of me.  I called people out by name and publicly shamed them for failure to maintain speed, looking at their phones instead of the light when it turns green, and not having a sense of direction on where they were going.  I made grown men cry.




Now, I’ll invite you to join me in my happy place by clicking HERE

Or see below!

With gratitude,




Who is my neighbor?

It was bound to happen.

I’ve tried to be so careful about walking with our dog since he’s become so sensitive to loud noises. Loud noises seem to paralyze him. He freezes where he is, refuses to move, begins shaking and wildly panting. Thunder, trash collection trucks, lawn mowers and blowers, and construction noises all seem to have the same impact. And that means that our walks are largely limited to evenings – after all of the noise except birds, bugs and other critters has gone away – and then he’s literally pulling me down the street, anxious to get out and enjoy his long-awaited walk.

So last night was bound to happen: We headed out for a brisk, long, winding walk through the neighborhood. As darkness fell on an otherwise quiet evening, the sound of fireworks in the distance sent our sweet dog into a panic. He froze, unwilling to budge, even to get out of the street.

The problem was that we were a few – four or five – blocks from home when he was spooked. We might as well have been four miles from home, given the fact that I can’t carry a spooked 65-pound dog. And, not having a cell phone with me (because I hadn’t anticipated fireworks on July 2!), I couldn’t call my husband to ask him to pick us up.

So there we were, mama and scared dog, quite literally stuck just minutes from our front door. And I hoped that someone else who had decided to take a late stroll might happen by.

Just a couple of minutes later, as I was still trying to comfort our dog, someone did walk by – a man I’ve seen almost every single day of the fourteen years that we’ve lived in the neighborhood, out on his daily walk. So I thought that surely he’d recognize me (or at least recognize our dog!) and I spoke to him, asking if he might happen to have a cell phone so that I could call my husband. He barked back (no pun intended), “What’s wrong with you?” I tried to explain quickly that my dog had been spooked by the fireworks and that we couldn’t make it home. And he quickened his pace as he walked by me, quipping, “Lady, you’ve got small problems.”

I can’t argue with that; he was right. In the grand scheme of problems in the world, I had a small (first world) problem in my terrified 65-pound dog who refused to move. And in all fairness, it wasn’t as if it were a life-threatening problem: Eventually, my husband would have wondered why we’d been gone so long and would have driven around to look for us.

But a couple was approaching from the opposite direction as the man rushed away. I called out to them. “Excuse me, by any chance would either of you have a cell phone? My dog got spooked…I need to call my husband.”

The first gentleman who passed me without stopping had now stopped and turned around in the street, watching to see if the other neighbors would come over to me. Was he stopping now because he might need to assist them, just in case my five-foot-two-inch self with my cowering, now slobbering dog, posed some danger? The couple stopped. They came over to me, introduced themselves, petted my frightened dog, shared a cell phone, offered to wait with me, and commented that they were glad that they had decided to take a late walk and were able to help. We hadn’t met before – but when I mentioned the block on which I lived, we talked about all of our common neighbors and friends. We talked, like neighbors meeting each other on the street. Today, I’m sending a thank-you note to my neighbors – and new friends – and I’m making a gift to their worshipping community in their honor.

No doubt, in this day and time, many of us would be leery of someone (yes, even a 5’2” non-athletic-looking me with a cowering dog) on the street asking for help. We might think twice, uncertain if it’s a trap or a scam.

I think that’s what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when, in his retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan, he commented that the priest and the Levite who passed by the injured man may only have considered what would have become of them if they stopped to help, while the Samaritan asked a different question: What would become of the injured man if he didn’tstop to help?

Who is my neighbor? Yes, my neighbor is the hungry neighbor with whom I can share a meal.

Yes, my neighbor is the neighbor without shelter, with whom my worshipping community can share hospitality through Room in the Inn.

Yes, my neighbor is the child in the failing school, where I and others can help read, tutor and provide a strong, mature, and loving presence.

Yes, my neighbor is the person looking for employment who I can connect with those who have jobs.

Yes, my neighbor is the refugee with whom I may share the far-too-many items in our home that we no longer need and use ourselves.

But, yes, my neighbor may be the person who lives just blocks away, whose gender, faith tradition, or skin color is not the same. That’s my neighbor, too.

Today, I am grateful for good neighbors who wondered what would become of me if they didn’t stop. And today, I pray that I may always be that good neighbor.


Pastoral Care in the Small Details

Screen shot, Terri Gross's notes

Screen shot, Terri Gross’s notes

Small details

I have a file of “thank-you” notes. One of my favorites is an old one from a five-year-old who is now graduating from high school: “Dear Rev. Cindy, thank you for teaching me that Caspian is Jesus,” complete with a drawing of me (signified by a cross) and a lion (a stick figure lion looks like a dog, but with a mane).

What he doesn’t know but will, as he ages, is that the thank-you note continues to have a ripple effect for the recipient, many years after it is received. It may have taken him 15 minutes (because writing was a new skill, but it still speaks volumes of love to me.

The small details matter. The five minutes makes a difference. My lesson from this is that I need to take the five minutes to do the caring thing.