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"For some time now, Tony Robinson has been giving us pastors wonderful guidance for the challenges of pastoral leadership. Tony is a wise, faithful pastoral theologian. His work is always useful, practical and informed by a true pastor's heart. When pastors are listing the voices that challenge and help them in their work, they always mention Tony Robinson."

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Bishop, North Alabama Conference
United Methodist Church

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Posted November 20, 2017:


A blessed Thanksgiving to you all. It may be my favorite holiday — eating and gathering being a bit more straightforward than some. When I was a seminarian I had Jim Forbes as prof for a worship class. Jim, whose background was in an African-American Pentecostal tradition, asked us to each write down “the big liturgical day or event” in our own tradition. I was stymied until I scribbled “Thanksgiving” on a slip of paper. When I dropped it on Jim’s desk at the end of class, he read it and snorted with laughter. I guess it sounded like white-bread America and hardly “liturgical.” But with Pilgrims and Puritans in our past it was honest. I chided him, with a smile, about “dissing” my culture.


While I am definitely not one of the world’s great shoppers (ask Linda) with holiday shopping season coming up, I want to plug a couple of brick and mortar stores (an endangered species). I find that good or great stores add a lot to the quality of life in a place, something that on-line sales, chains and malls do not. As a society we’ve opted for low prices and quantity over quality, forcing many retailers out of business and diminishing our towns and cities. Anyhow . . .


These two Seattle stores have quality merchandise, helpful staff and an overall pleasant atmosphere. One is the clothing store Market Street Shoes in Ballard. It’s more than shoes. Clothing too, for men and women. Nice people. Locally owned.


Another Seattle store I really like, and often visit for Christmas shopping, is Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in the City Centre building in downtown Seattle. Beautiful stuff, great people. Again, a locally owned, non-chain store.


Another great store is Powell’s Books in Portland. We were down there recently and stopped by Powell’s where people were buying books hand over fist. By the way, I read that book sales are up 2%, while sales of e-book reader books are down 11%. Sounds like that was a fad rather than the end of the printed page. Those numbers from Frank Foer’s “World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.”


What forms us? A great piece here featuring (some) evangelicals realizing that Fox News is more formative among their crowd than the worship of the church. What are the symbols, liturgies and rituals that are formative for you?

- Tony Robinson



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