From the Rector

The blog of the Rev’d David O. Browder, Rector of St. Thomas’. Law and gospel, grace, pop culture, links to interesting articles and videos.

Beloved: Our Youth Group and the Song of Solomon

sea of galilee

…my brain thought: “I’ve got no clue how to teach Song of Solomon to a group of kids who are either (a) full of raging hormones or (b) completely repulsed at the concept of love and romance.” And I wasn’t necessarily reassured with the information I found on the internet. And, yes, I checked, and Tim Keller hasn’t written anything about Song of Solomon that I could find. If you’ve never read this book before (as I had not), Song of Solomon or Song of Songs is a short song or poem about “a dude and girl getting together” (to quote one of our kids). While certainly true, the book is about much more, for at its core the writer talks about true love in which the bride and the bridegroom become one and are willing to sacrifice for one another.

Thoughts on MLK Day

“Would you have joined the Resistance?”, my wife asks curiously. “Yes,” I answer with no hesitation. Kari and I are watching The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon Original Series that depicts a what-if dystopia arising from an Axis victory in World War II. The Nazis, after dropping an atomic bomb on Washington, D.C., occupy…

A Place Called Hope

Americans are a hopeful nation. Bill Clinton tapped into a hopeful America with his now famous line, “I still believe in a place called Hope”, referring to his hometown in Arkansas. He created a brand around this small town, a place that he used as an analogy to describe all of America. It worked and it won him the presidential election at a time when Americans were feeling less than hopeful.

Americans want to have hope. As 2017 kicks off every news channel and talk show is talking about new resolutions. A new year, they tell us, means an opportunity to start fresh, an opportunity to create a new you, a new life. Of course, studies show that most of those resolutions fall by the wayside before the month of January ends. I, too, have fallen into this trap in the past. I can’t tell you how many times I have decided to lose ten pounds, work out more, be nicer, stop gossiping, etc., only to stumble quickly. Why is it that the more we resolve to do something the harder it becomes to follow through with that resolution? The Apostle Paul describes this beautifully in Romans 7:15: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

At Christmas: Dropping Our Security Blankets

My daughter Elizabeth recently stopped sucking on her middle two fingers. It was a habit she adopted within two days of her birth and has served her well in times of need, stress or boredom. As a mother to three children, I was grateful she had this self-soothing technique because it gave her comfort at times when my arms were full. About three weeks ago, the fingers left her mouth and any attempt by me to reinstate her beloved habit has been met with a blank stare as though any muscle memory she may have had that led her to suck her fingers had been erased. And the need it fulfilled? Well, that duty has now been transferred back to me.

On the Move

Guest Column by Kari Browder When this season of Advent first started, I thought “joy” was going to be the major theme for me. It seemed to be a word that was popping up in my life on a regular basis (and not just because my son goes to The Joy School and I see…

Farewell from Mathew Fenlon

Dear St. Thomas’ Family, It is bittersweet for me to write you and say farewell as your Senior Associate Rector. My friend once wrote and taught a short lesson about Rock and Roll, and just music in general, being a gift to us from God. For many of you, including myself, you may have been…

On Humanizing Others–And Ourselves

I just recently read The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. It is about one of those swinging bridges in Peru that allows people to cross over a great chasm. One day, five different people were on the bridge, each going to a different place, when it collapsed. A Franciscan friar watched as…

On Reading Stephen King’s “‘Salem’s Lot”

As I began to live life, I began to realize how innovative and insufficient the secular upbringing in which I had been hard-boiled was. It didn’t have an answer for acts of great horror other than the political assignment of blame and it did not believe that everyone was capable of such things. Those were the people “over there” with “wrong beliefs”–very much disembodied from our experience and status. With the proper amount of shame, reformation of character, and enlightenment, they, too, could join with us as we progressed to a better future and civilization. Occasionally, I revert back to such thinking, as we all do. The adage “our archaeology determines our teleology” certainly holds true for most of us. This is why reading Stephen King’s book Salem’s Lot was so helpful to me.

A Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name…

Guest Column by Jennifer Underwood I grew up watching Cheers. I’m not really sure why, since the show went off the air when I was still in high school and the content was not really geared toward kids my age, but my guess is that my parents had it on the television to watch themselves…

Holy Spirit, Don’t Leave Me for a Minute…

by Mathew Fenlon This Sunday we will begin a series during Adult Education on the Holy Ghost. This past summer one of the songs that made me crack-up the most, yet still was catchy and made me keep listening was “Holy Spirit, don’t leave me for a minute.” Performed by Limousine, in 1976. #SwedishGospelFunk I started listening…