William M. Cwirla

Tourists, Travelers, and Pilgrims

Too often, we travel as tourists, bringing the comforts of home along with us. Tourists are known for their excess baggage. You can easily spot a group of tourists. They travel in tightly closed groups, surrounded by their own language, tastes in food, and culture. They prefer to keep...

Spiritual and Religious

“I’m spiritual but not religious.” I’m sure you’ve heard people say that; I have. It’s become increasingly common among those who claim “None” as their spiritual identity on religious surveys. They are growing in numbers, especially among the rising generation who are not carrying on with the faith traditions...

O Rachel, Weep No More

The violence of the past weeks in Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton, and other places in the world, brought to mind the horrors of September 11, 2001. I recall that morning vividly. It was a Tuesday, and we were scheduled to host our circuit pastors’ meeting at our congregation. We...

A Deep Wound

Early Sunday morning, after my morning prayers, I always look at the intercessions of the church for the divine service for that day to add any last minute petitions. As I was doing so yesterday, I saw a news notification for yet another mass shooting, this time in Dayton,...

Slowing Down

I’ve incorporated the psalms into my daily prayer practice in a more intentional way. The monastics pray the entire psalter weekly or monthly; I’m content with two to three psalms per day; four if they’re short. There are 150 psalms in the psalter (151 if you use the Apocrypha),...

From Convention to Conference

It’s good to be home again. After a week of rain, humidity, and heat in Tampa, FL at the synodical convention, it’s good to be home. I’ll be home just long enough to wash my clothes, prepare a sermon, and head down to Irvine for the last of the...

Adoramus Te, Domine

Something amazing is happening at Holy Trinity. A random, ragtag bunch of kids from the neighborhood – our summer camp and preschool – have become a little worshipping community.

The Trimesters of Life – Part 3: Wisdom

Surviving the trials and tribulations of the second trimester, we blow out the sixty candles on our birthday cake, endure the endless “old guy” jokes, dodge the AARP solicitations, and enter the third trimester of life – the season of wisdom. Sixty is the biblical age of wisdom, the...

The Trimesters of Life – Part 1: Knowledge

I’m beginning to think of life in terms of trimesters.  The biblical age for a full and complete life is seventy years, says the psalmist, eighty if we have the strength (Psalm 90:10). Thanks to modern medicine, ninety isn’t an unreasonable expectation, barring a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or...