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.

What’s Advent All About?

As we continue in this season of Advent, it might be worthwhile to re-visit the reason we go through this particular season before Christmas. In Latin, adventus means a “coming, approach, or arrival”. In our Christian context Advent is the waiting for the coming, approach, or arrival of none other than Jesus Christ, the 2nd…

Henry L. Walters, Jr., 1927-2019

henry walters

Before I preached my first Sunday at St. Thomas’ back on September 15, 2013, I had been told of an esteemed man in the parish named Henry Walters. He was the Headmaster Emeritus; he had led the school for decades before retiring and he then took up lay leadership in the church. As a first-time…

In a Time of Change: Don’t Fear the Future

don't fear the future

As things change in our culture and society, we have an almost irresistible temptation to feel a lot of fear. This is, indeed, very common. Plato — in the 5th Century B.C.! — worried about changing culture; so feeling this way is not a new thing. As we consider our culture and society, we should…

Autonomy and Divine Justice

autonomy and divine justice

by David Browder There is a deep and inherent disconnect in the human condition that is the source of much tension and consternation. We desire complete and unfettered personal autonomy and, at the same time, we long for divine justice. Personal autonomy is located in the subjective: to be autonomous is, literally, to be “a…

Type A Students

type a students

by David Browder People who might not be as well-off financially often have certain preconceptions about those who are: sometimes they even believe them to be of an almost entirely different species. We humans feel compelled to break ourselves into tribes based on our shared characteristics. This compulsion is so pervasive that, in seminary, our…

Escaping to our own Worlds

in our own worlds

There are a lot of really smart people in this world. Very smart and very creative. Just think of all the movies, music, stories, shows, and books that have come out of the minds of these smart, talented people. I was thinking the other day about the sheer variety and quality of the many things…

Our Greatest Problem?

our greatest problem

by David Browder Self-righteousness is the greatest problem we face. I really have come to believe that as I’ve studied and thought through the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector over this past week. I believe that if you think about it, you’ll find this is a no-brainer, too. Another unspeakable tragedy happened…

Harvey Remembrances

harvey flood

It has been quite a sight seeing the old Lower School and Scottish Arts buildings come down. People with deep ties to our community have watched with sadness and hope as these buildings that hold so many memories have come down. The Middle School is next. That era of life is infused with the powerful…

The Boys Are Not Alright

And they haven’t been for some time. A few years ago, I brought in The National Center for the Development of Boys (which is headquartered at The McCallie School for Boys in Chattanooga, TN) to speak to us at St. Thomas’. The audience almost filled the church — and they were mostly moms of boys.…

Kenyan Mission Trip Report

by Michelle Graves Six months ago I searched on Google Maps for “Rafiki Foundation Kenya,” after reading about a Christian orphanage and classical school there. You can see on the map the sharp turn in the road there and a photo of the solid steel gate topped with silhouettes of grownups reaching down to hold…