Thanksgiving is…

When it’s chilly outside, but warm inside. An opportunity to reflect just before the holiday chaos descends upon us. An occasion to gather together when there has been so much driving us apart. A timeout to appreciate what we have been taking for granted. A time to take stock of… Continue reading

Ditch Digging and Dining Room Tables

Something beautiful happens in ditches and dining rooms. More specifically, it happens when we dig a ditch with another laborer and share our table with another diner. Chip Gains introduced me to that concept. Chip and his wife Joanna are the stars of the hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper. Chip… Continue reading

Repurposing

I have been fascinated by the concept of repurposing ever since our weekend visit to Mineral Point, Wisconsin about three years ago. It was a bleak time of year, like now, in the middle of February when we made that trip. We surprisingly discovered that many of the shops and… Continue reading

Criticize by Creating

One of my gifts as a writer is being to identify what is wrong. Unfortunately, it is a common gift. Most people need very little prompting to complain because it is vastly more difficult to suggest a positive way forward and become part of the solution. It is time for… Continue reading

Relearning the Value of Physical Work

I was tired. Really tired! I might even have experienced heat exhaustion. Anyway, it was hot, ninety-five degrees to be exact, and I was exhausted. Moving dirt, laying sod and pushing a lawn roller filled with water is hard work even when it is not scorching. But I feel fulfilled… Continue reading

The Power of And

Or is exclusive. And is inclusive. Or makes enemies. And makes friends. Or gets its way or blocks the way. And gives a little, learns a lot, and finds a way. Or vilifies. And reaches out. Or believes it has the truth. And believes there is more to learn. Or is a false… Continue reading

The Power of the Narrative

Hold on! I am going to cover a lot of ground in just a few words. We all have our narrative, our story. That story forms a grid through which we witness events and develop opinions. Our stories are very powerful as a means of communication. That’s why a good… Continue reading

The Thing About Labels

Labels are good on cans, but bad when applied to people. Canned goods are simpler and purer than people. Tomatoes means tomatoes, and beans means beans. You are able to determine what is in the can by its label. When you get home from the grocery store, you can put… Continue reading

Noticing People

Living out your faith is not rocket science. You don’t need somebody to tell you to do it. You certainly don’t need an organization, or a program to be loving and caring toward people. You simply need to realize it’s up to you, and then, live your life with your… Continue reading

Why Are Bars More Accepting than Churches?

John Donne was right, no man is an island. Even a casual reading of scripture reveals God’s heart for connection with us, and how he hardwired us for linking with other human beings. Relationships are probably the source of our greatest joys, and our greatest heartaches. But, if we isolate… Continue reading

Make Your Own Cheese

Here is my column from Monday’s Kenosha News. Being Wisconsin, I could have entitled this column “Make Your Own Beer,” but there is a fair chance you are already doing that. Or, I might have used the title “Make Your Own Sausage,” but nobody really wants to see sausage being made. So,… Continue reading

What Changes Us?

To the best of my knowledge, there is no definitive answer to the question, “What changes our life for the better?” Here is what I know. People inspire people. Programs seldom ever do. I remember teachers who were passionate about their subject, and caring toward me, more than I remember… Continue reading

Impersonalization

Something is wrong, very wrong! Something is missing. It is making us stupid. It is stressing our relationships. It is creating a gaping hole in the middle of our culture. I see it every day. It’s in my face on the cable news networks as a Republican spokesperson and his… Continue reading

How to Become a Flasher

This month’s synchroblog theme is ordinary courage. Not to be confused with heroics, ordinary courage is the act of revealing our true heart. We usually call it vulnerability. The links to other posts on the topic are located at the end of this article. The most courageous thing we will… Continue reading

Sluts and Horndogs?

Women are not from Venus and men are not from Mars. We are human beings, brothers and sisters, associates, neighbors, and yes, friends from the same planet. As a pastor in the eighties and nineties, I was taught to follow Billy Graham’s advice and never be alone with a woman… Continue reading

Farmer’s Market Fringe

Last Saturday, Patty I were selling Beadmomma  jewelry (my wife’s company) at a local farmer’s market. It is a beautiful location on Lake Michigan, with sailboats in their slips just a few yards behind us, a historical lighthouse visible as we looked down the street just across an inlet, and museums along the way.… Continue reading

Demystifying Hope

“You can live forty days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but not even four seconds without hope.” – Anonymous Hope Described It is laborious and depressing to try to muddle on when you feel hopeless. In my own precarious situation, I have noticed that the… Continue reading

Rage

Last Saturday  I was picking up Patty at the door of our local Wal-Mart when I saw a grocery cart stall out right in the middle of the very busy main lane of the parking lot. The guy in the car in front of me, yells out, “So, you’re just… Continue reading