Friday, December 21, 2012


        I live at Princeton Windrows, a community for independent seniors just outside of Princeton, New Jersey. Seven years ago I started a chorus, and we have been putting on a show for our staff and residents in mid-December every year. We call ourselves the Windrows Warblers. I write silly words to popular songs of the past and present, and we sing and dance and do some funny skits for everyone's enjoyment, but principally for the staff, who love to see us older folks make fools of ourselves.
        Last year for the first time I decided to do a rap incorporating the names of our entire staff, calling myself "The Rev," the granddaddy of all rappers. My disguise didn't fool anybody, of course, but the effect was hilarious. It went over so well that The Rev was pressed into making a return appearance this year. Our executive director decided to put it on YouTube, to show that life in a community like ours can be lots of fun, and we're not a bunch of old fogies, sad sacks, and stuffed shirts.
        So my secret career has been publicly disclosed! Don't worry, we're not about to take our show on the road!  But if you want to watch the oldest living rapper in action, here's the link to the YouTube video:


God give us grace. . .  
To see
beyond the gleam and glitter
of our tinseled trees
a dim lit stable
not at all like these,

To hear
above the clash and clamor
of the market throng
an angel's call for peace
in silent song,

To feel                                                                                                  
in all the merry madness
of our festive cheer
the Savior's presence
in our hearts this year.

(from Now, That's a Miracle!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Children being led to safety out of the Sandy Hook
 Elementary School with their eyes closed to avoid their
seeing anything that might disturb or frighten them.
        I was shocked and sickened, like everyone else, by the horrible slaughter of twenty children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, this past Friday morning. My heart was breaking for those whose lives have been so rudely and cruelly devastated by this unspeakable catastrophe.
        Those of us who are pastors wrestled with what to say to our congregations yesterday, the third Sunday of this holy season of Advent. Our parishioners are grieving, too, and trying as people of faith to make sense of this senseless tragedy. Where is God in all this?
        Unbelievers are quick to use such a disaster to deny the existence of God. They wonder how anyone can believe in a God who would let wenty-six innocent children and adults be so brutally murdered. They don’t understand God’s permissive will and humankind’s propensity for misusing the freedom God has granted us. God did not kill those children; a deranged young man named Adam Lanza did, for reasons we do not yet know or understand.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


When I pass by some wintry lawn and see
        a rounded figure fashioned from the snow,
with button eyes, a carrot for a nose,
        an old felt hat, a scarf, or tie, I know
what it would surely say, if it could speak:
        that there is love within that home, and joy,
because the silent sentinel was built
        by some excited little girl or boy
with some parental aid undoubtedly,
        or maybe by a grown-up (just for fun),
in whom a little girl or boy still lives.
        In any case, I know, if there is one
upon the lawn, the people in that house,
        if nothing else, can take the time to play,
and if there were more snowmen on more lawns,
        the world would be a better place today.

(from If I Do Say So Myself)

Friday, December 7, 2012


(Note: This poem was originally written to be used as a sermon illustration. It is intended to be read aloud as rapidly as possible.)

                                                             Working, slaving, pennies saving,                                                        
                                                             shopping, waiting, long lines hating,
       sewing, pressing, cards addressing,
       buying, trying, washing, drying,
       licking, sticking, presents picking,
       making, baking, early waking,
       capping, wrapping, never  napping,
       lighting, writing, stopping fighting,
       messing, meaning vacuum cleaning,
       memory versing, parts rehearsing,
       car pool driving, late arriving,
       parties throwing, money's going,
       sick kids nursing, feel like cursing,
                                                             surely this must not be Christmas!

                                                             (from If I Do Say So Myself)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


AP Photo
        Shame on those 38 Republican Senators who voted against the United Nations Treaty banning discrimination against people with disabilities.
        Ratification of international treaties requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate. More than 150 other nations have signed the treaty, which guarantees disabled persons the same rights provided disabled persons in the United States under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.
        Kudos to the eight Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats in favor of the treaty, including Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dick Lugar (Ind.), John McCain (Ariz.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with Democrats in favor of the treaty.
        Eighty-nine year old retired Senator Bob Dole, a disabled veteran of World War II, was wheeled by his wife, retired Senator Elizabeth Dole, onto the Senate floor as a gesture of his strong support for the treaty. He was greeted warmly by Senators on both sides of the aisle, but how disappointed he must have been by those of his own Party who voted against the Treaty, on the pretext that it would be an infringement on the sovereignty of the United States.
        How sheepish they must have felt, as their names were called out in opposition. They included some of Senator Dole’s closest former colleagues and friends, whose fear of a back lash from their Tea Party constituents was, I suspect, the real reason for their opposition. Their misguided political loyalties stifled their desire to do what was right for America and the world. Shame on them!
        But then, why should we be surprised? Because of their outrageous pledge to Grover Norquist, they’re willing to let the Bush tax cuts expire for 98% of us Americans rather than allow the tax rate for the wealthiest 2% to revert to the Clinton tax rate, which would represent a slight increase that the rich can well afford.
        Shame on them!

Monday, December 3, 2012


Regarding the dread fiscal cliff                                                          
the backs of both Parties are stiff.
After hearing their views
on which option to choose,
I’m beginning to think, what’s the diff?

The wealthy will still have to pay
a higher tax rate either way.
Meanwhile posturing
is the politic thing.
So for now just ignore what they say!