Russell E. Saltzman is a former Lutheran pastor, transitioning to the Roman Catholic Church.

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The Pastoral Street Light Dilemma

From Web Exclusives

The best thing I ever did in politics”but I can’t recommend it as regular work for pastors”was get a street light up for some folks. This was when I was appointed to fill an unexpired term on a small town city council. The mayor made me the south ward alderman”sounds pleasantly Chicagoish, doesn’t it”and that put me in charge of streets, snow removal, and other interesting duties. … Continue Reading »

Death by Imposition

From Web Exclusives

Changing out the paper towels I remembered by habit to set aside the empty roll for Hattie’s gerbil. Hattie is my thirteen-year-old and I am under oft-repeated instructions to save the cardboard tube. The little creature enjoys running through the tube before settling down to chew it up into more bedding… . Continue Reading »

Shangri-La Lutheran

From Web Exclusives

Pastors often make the mistake of romanticizing their first parish. Nothing ever again matches the depth of faith encountered, nor the affirmation of pastoral effort as happens in the first parish. That is if it was a good experience. If it wasn’t, the pastor is apt to drop out of parish ministry within the first five years of ordination, or take another call and repeat the same bad experience… . Continue Reading »

I’d Rather Preach a Wedding

From Web Exclusives

It was a bad day for a funeral; name a day that isn’t. But this one came in a period of family turmoil in the middle of last month. My mother just admitted to a nursing home and exhibiting severe dementia; my father lost without her; and me at Day 6 in a ten-day course of antibiotics for a sinus infection that had knocked me flat for the first four days… . Continue Reading »

A Near Miss

From First Thoughts

This is being billed as “the closest near miss on record, beating the previous record holder, a rock that buzzed Earth in 2004 . . . .” That’s the pickup truck-sized asteroid called 2011 CQ1 that came within seven thousand miles of Earth February 4. I didn’t notice it, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Dementia

From Web Exclusives

It’s been a ride that has not reached a destination. Those people who say it’s the journey, not the destination, do not know what they are talking about. My mother is descending”has descended”into dementia. My wife and I have noticed little markers along the way over the last year. … Continue Reading »

Gushy Over Kepler 10b

From First Thoughts

Quoting the Times , “In a down payment on riches to come, scientists from NASA’s Kepler satellite announced Monday that they had discovered the smallest planet yet found outside our solar system and the first that was unquestionably rocky, like the Earth.” It’s the “like . . . . Continue Reading »

Beware the Congressional Hordes

From First Thoughts

An NPR article on the prospect of creating a part-time Congress (unlikely) begins by describing “hordes of conservative Republican lawmakers” descending on Washington. Hordes? Yes, hordes of Republicans, all conservative, are about to fracture the previous hold that “hordes of . . . . Continue Reading »