Hiroshima: toward a Greater Light

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Thanks to executive producer Peter Wallace of Day1.org for featuring the podcast of “Only One Sin: Exceptionalism” in advance of the August 8 Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Click HERE to sign up and listen on Day1.org.

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Kosuke Koyama  (1929-2009)

This meditation, an excerpt from Be Still!, reflects on Hiroshima  in the greater light of the Rev. Dr. Kosuke Koyama, the Japanese peacemaking theologian to whom the collection of essays is dedicated.

Kosuke (pronounced ‘KO-soo-kay’) Koyama was 15 years old when it happened, and was baptized during the firebombing of Tokyo.

The horror of the bombings led him to see something else about us: the sin of exceptionalism that knows no limits.

nuclear-bombHis last published book — Theology and Violence: Towards A Theology of Nonviolent Love awaits translation into English from the original Japanese.  We wait on bended knee.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 5, 2017.

 

 

A Cheerful Note from Baylor

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W. Hulitt Gloer, Professor, Truett Theological Seminary Baylor University

It takes awhile to discover where, if anywhere, a book like Be Still! will land. When published in January there seemed to be three potential homes: readers like the audience of NPR’s “All Things Considered”; college, university, and divinity school classes in philosophy, theology, homiletics, creative writing, and freshman studies programs; and church adult education programs. But you never know until the book has seen some air time.

Slowly but surely, the critical reviews and publicity are coming in, thanks to Bob Todd Publicity.

Day1.org with Peter Wallace has published four essays from Be Still! or from Views from the Edge and will feature a sermon for the First Sunday of Lent in 2018.

Anglican Journal (Anglican/Episcopalian), CURRENTS in Theology and Mission (Lutheran), and The Presbyterian Outlook (Presbyterian [USA}) will publish reviews this summer or fall. Day1.org has re-published four essays from Be Still or from Views from the Edge and will feature a sermon for the First Sunday of Lent in 2018.

And then there is the word from today all the way from Texas — this lovely, encouraging email from W. Hulitt Gloer, Professor of Preaching and Scripture at Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University:

I have found your essays to be provocative, challenging, refreshing and inspiring. I am planning to use it in one of my courses this fall, assigning an essay a day for reflection and discussion. I think it may become standard.
Many thanks for this wonderful volume. I hope it will be but the first of many!

Thank you, Professor Gloer. You made my day! Next book up with the working title “Don’t Be Weary, Traveler” is ready to look for a publisher.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, July 28, 2017.

 

 

Memorial Day and the Soldier’s Helmet

“Memorial Day and the Soldier’s Helmet” is read aloud here from Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (p. 10f.). This recording is not as professional as it will be this weekend when it airs on Minnesota Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” This practice run starts out a little mushy! But it’s good enough that Day1.org posted it yesterday on their site.

Many thanks to Chuck Lieber for making it possible to turn “Be Still!” into a podcast.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 24, 2017.

Thank you, Frederick Buechner

Today Day1.org features “The Seagull and the Rainbow” right beside Frederick Buechner, whose writings influenced me as a young preacher and pastor.

Frederick Buechner

Frederick Buechner

Thanks to Peter Wallace of Day1 for putting the student next to a man he unconsciously aspired to be. I’m older now . . .  and the distant iconic mentor who had no reason to know his mentee’s name is older still but no less alive to faith and life!

Years ago the Council of Churches in Cincinnati invited a Canadian publisher to publish “The Cincinnati Prayer Book,” a collection of prayers for the year by Cincinnati religious leaders. I was Pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church at the time. The publisher asked whether I would be interested in publishing a collection of sermons.

I recall the conversation in my office as if it were yesterday. I thought I smelled a rat.

“Are you a vanity press?” I asked.

They assurance me they were not. “The Startling Kindness of God” moved forward, including an endorsement from Frederick Buechner. But Fred’s letter to me included a private comment that changed how I preached and wrote. The sermons were good, he said, followed by a devastating “but”: “but I find them rather bloodless. I want to see some of your blood in them.”

Listening to your lifeI learned laster that he was working on Listening to Your Life. Reading my sermons, he seemed to sense I was not listening to mine. I wasn’t.

When the final contract appeared, the publisher required that I sell 300 copies of the sermon collection. I tore up the contract. The bloodless sermons are in a box in my closet, wondering why they were never published.

I have no reason to believe Fred Buechner has any recollection of that or that he remembers my name. But his combination of affirmation and warning began to change the way I preach and write. To appear next to Frederick Buechner today is a serendipitous occasion of joy and thanks. Thank you, Fred. I’m holding out a goldfish after all these years.

Thank you, Peter, for posting “The Seagull and the Rainbow” on Day1.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, May 20, 2017, Chaska, MN.

 

 

 

 

Day One – and the Last Day

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Peter Wallace, Day1.org

Good news came early this morning from Peter Wallace of Day1.org.

“It (i.e. The Seagull and the Double Rainbow, previously published on Views from the Edge) will be on our homepage Saturday May 20—Saturdays are our biggest traffic day.”

Thanks to Bob Todd for introducing Peter Wallace to Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness and to Peter for featuring “Homeland Militarization” on Day1 several weeks ago.

seagull in ScarboroughEarlier today we published Dan Balz Washington Post piece on the firing of James Comey and the need to search for the truth behind the firing. Maybe the insistent seagull that kept banging away on the glass door is a model for people seeking the truth behind the curiously-timed, sudden firing that sent White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer into hiding in the White House bushes.

Maybe at the same time we could look at the beauty of the rainbow for a quieter critical perspective. Stillness comes hard on days like this. Anger and confusion come more easily. But the friendly word from Peter Wallace, and that moment last week on the Maine coast with the seagull and the double rainbow remind me that no day, in the end, belongs to the darkness or the proud.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 10, 2017

 

Last TGIF of April – Day One

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The best advertisements are the ones that aren’t paid for. Thanks to Day1 for featuring a chapter from “Be Still!” Departure from Collective Madness” today. Click THIS LINK to read “Homeland Militarization” on Day1.

spare-change-lg-300x199Then, If you like it . . . . buy it and let me know. I’ll gladly send a rebate of 99 cents to complete the purchase of the kindle edition, or 98 for the paperback.

coffeeBetter yet, next time we see each other, I’ll spring for a cheap cup of coffee and a rich conversation.

Wishing you a happy Day1 this last Friday of April!

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, April 28, 2017.