Tikkun Olam

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Fourth Presbyterian Church – Chicago

John Buchanan looks to the Jewish concept “tikkun olam” amid the alarms of 2018. Dr. Buchanan is Pastor Emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church-Chicago, past Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and former editor of the The Christian Century. “Hold to the Good” is now his pulpit in retirement.

Hold to the Good

For years, at the conclusion of public worship, I have used words that come from St. Paul, written 2,000 years ago.

“Go into the world in peace and courage.
Hold to the Good.
Honor all God’s children.
Love and serve the Lord,
Rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.”

Last Sunday, as a guest preacher at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, when I came to the words “Hold to the Good” I almost couldn’t go on. The news from Pittsburgh Saturday morning stood as a contradiction to those words and to everything I hold dear and regard as essential to our life together….

…the trust that in the eternal struggle between good and evil, good will ultimately prevail,

…the trust that the heart of the nation I love, its government and politicians, is essentially fair, honest and good,

…the hope that the long arc of history bends, as Martin…

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If the Answer is “Yes.”

Fourth Presbyterian Church-Chicago Pastor Emeritus John Buchanan stood with other worshipers to applaud Shannon Kershner’s sermon calling for people to stand with the widow in this election year. The sermon “The Persistent God” was posted here yesterday.

Hold to the Good

I have resisted the temptation to weigh in more than I already have on the Donald Trump phenomenon because we are saturated. Television news and the newspapers can’t keep their eyes off of him and I confess that I watch the 7:00 a.m. news because I don’t want to miss the latest outlandish thing he has said or done. I am changing my mind about writing because I heard a superb sermon yesterday by the Rev. Shannon J. Kershner, at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. Shannon skillfully inverted the traditional interpretation of Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow and unresponsive judge who finally gives the widow the justice she is pleading for simply to make her stop asking and go away. Shannon said that maybe God is not the judge here. We are the judge. God is speaking through the widow, persistently urging and pleading to us for justice…

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Building Walls instead of Bridges

buchananThis post by John Buchanan’s “Hold to the Good” is well worth the read IMHO. John is Pastor Emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church-Chicago, past Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, and recently retired Publisher of The Christian Century.

Thank you, John, for your fine work than and now.

  • Gordon and Steve

Hold to the Good

I simply do not know what to say about Donald Trump. I grew up in a home where what was going on in the world and in the nation was talked about regularly at the dinner table. Politics was often a spirited discussion between my father, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican and conservative in almost all his opinions and positions, and my mother who I realized was a lot less ideological and more liberal. He didn’t have much good to say about President Roosevelt and Eleanor but she liked them a lot. Dad used to brag that the first words I spoke as a toddler were “Wendell Wilkie”, the Republican presidential candidate in the 1940 election, an election FDR won handily. I still have his Republican campaign lapel pin bearing Wilkie’s picture from that election. Robert Taft, Harold Stassen, Earl Warren, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Nelson Rockefeller, were familiar names to…

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