The Common Good

A Warm Welcome to Summer Sundays

Summer Sundays with Phyllis Tickle

Officially speaking and despite what we may all be thinking about the June heat wave the nation is plowing its way through right now, summer is actually not here until the summer solstice. But we can take heart; the solstice is upon us at last. To be precise, it is slated to occur this Friday, June 20, at 7:59 EDT. After that, it will be summer, and we will all be free to begin accumulating the stories and experiences that will become our common archive of what "The Summer of 2008" was like.

But this season that is to come upon us within the next few days will not be an ordinary summer. Not only will we be moving through the ramp-up of presidential campaigns and rhetoric, but our economy will either begin to heal during the next three months or else, heaven forbid, continue to flounder its way toward thousands of private heartbreaks and disasters. The earth will be sending us intensified messages -- or perhaps our receptivity to her messages will be intensified -- about how we can, and cannot, continue to live on and with her. The XXIX Olympiad will play out not only games of sport, but also those of geopolitics, and Web 3.0 will become a more familiar concept whose implications will begin to feather out into a more general conversation. No, this one will be no ordinary summer.

With all of this (and more) in mind, it seems a good and salutary idea to think about setting aside, on a routine basis over the coming three months, some fixed segment of time in which to rest a bit, to feed our hearts a treat or two, to be thankful, even, for life itself and for the presence of soul in each of us. What better time for such an enterprise than Sunday itself, and what better time than the early morning? What indeed?

So it is that each summer Sunday from June 22 through Sept. 21, I will be here as a guest of God's Politics, hoping you also will wish to be their guest with me. I think it is fair to say that nobody at this point knows exactly what will be said here, because nobody has yet lived the summer of 2008. When we come to Sept. 21, however, and to the autumnal equinox, I pray it may be said of all of us that we have spent our time together with benefit and to all those good ends that can come from responsible conversation.

Phyllis Tickle (www.phyllistickle.com) is the founding editor of the religion department of Publishers Weekly and author of The Words of Jesus: A Gospel of the Sayings of Our Lord and the forthcoming fall release, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why.

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