Posts by ryansrindels2014

Laughter and Comprehension: Reinhold Niebuhr and the Irony of American History

For the past several months I’ve been working on a chapter, “The Pilgrims and Religious Liberty,” to be included in an upcoming book: Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth: A Quadricentennial Celebration of the Mayflower Pilgrims, 1620–2020. Months of research have brought some surprises, dispelled some myths, and led to the conclusion—which almost always accompanies honest investigation—that history is complicated. The nuances,…

Silence, Compliance and Speaking Wisely in our Time of Protest

Christ Driving the Money-Changers from the Temple by Cecco Caravaggio (1610) “And Jesus told those who sold pigeons, ‘take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” John 2:16–17 Earlier this week, there was a post circulating on social media that had an…

“A Hard Love”: Deciding for or Against God in Camus’ The Plague

Each Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle lists the ten most popular fiction and non-fiction reads among Bay Area residents. Most books have been published in the last two years. A few weeks ago, however, a modern classic cracked the tenth spot: The Plague (1947) by Albert Camus (1913–1960).   COVID19 is an ostensible explanation for The Plague’s bump in readership. With no premonition…

“Livin on a Prayer”: A Rejoinder to a Detractor

Several weeks ago, a member of our church wrote a letter to the editor of the Sonoma Index Tribune requesting a Day of Prayer in light of COVID19.  One local resident was critical of the idea, claiming that the community should be focused on action, not prayer, which he claimed is ineffective.   https://www.sonomanews.com/opinion/letters/10915623-181/letters-to-the-editor-april See my response below. An April 24th Letter…

Because You Made the LORD Your Dwelling Place: A Devotional

“Because you made the LORD your dwelling place–the Most High, who is my refuge–no evil shall befall you, no plague come near your tent.”—Psalm 91:9–10 If you do a Google search and type the word “Psalm,” Psalm 91 likely appears—algorithmic evidence that it is the most popular chapter in the Psalter. And why not? This passage speaks of Yahweh being a “refuge”…

The Benefits of Gratitude: Self-Love and its Limitations for an Ethical Life

Christmas is six weeks behind us, yet a post on gratitude is probably appropriate for any season. In December, the “Gift Guide” of SF Chronicle published A Gift of Gratitude by Nancy Davis Kho. Kho is author of the “Thank-You Project,” whose objective is to inspire persons to compose one letter a week, expressing appreciation for those who’ve positively influenced their lives.…

“Sincerity, Honesty, Integrity”: Self-Made Religion in the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

If like me you have annual reading goals, you probably struggle to decide which books are worth your precious time. It’s not my custom to elect books at random, but after my 18-month old daughter Sophia grabbed a thin, 1955 used copy of Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography off the shelf, I took her to the task. The Autobiography is not your typical first-person…