From an Organization to a Group of Friends

My very best church experience was when the church I pastored was going through a rebirth. Our small groups became like individual churches where the participants experienced true community. All kinds of needs were being spontaneously met. No programs were needed. People were given rides to the doctor’s office. Individuals… Continue reading

From Programs to Relationships

It has been forty years since I was in high school. I would probably flunk a content-oriented test in any of my courses because I just don’t remember that stuff, but I do remember two teachers. Mr. Blakely was a very intelligent social sciences teacher who taught our International Relations… Continue reading

Hate & Hypocrisy

For far, far too long, Christians, especially Evangelicals were known for what they were against. They were against abortion, homosexuality, and most anything that made them uncomfortable. Is killing unborn babies bad? Yes, it is. Is it unforgivable? Is it “the platform” for Christianity? No, on both accounts. Following Jesus… Continue reading

To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God

We saw Les Miserables last night. I didn’t know much about it. I did know it was a classic that had something to do with poverty, love, and the French Revolution. That’s it. Spurred on by the comments of Face Bookers who were deeply moved by watching it and a desire to… Continue reading

Finding Church: A Review

I am just going to come out and say it, church is broken. So are several other societal institutions. They just aren’t cutting it anymore. As institutions age they forget the reason for their existence of serving people. Eventually, the mission is traded for maintenance. The goal of serving people is subtly… Continue reading

Let Christ Out of Christmas

The war on Christmas is all the “rage” in some conservative and Christian circles. Their cry is to keep Christ in Christmas. Everybody knows that our cultural celebration of the holiday involves a lot of traditions that do not overtly express the origins and deepest meaning of the season. I… Continue reading

Christmas Gathering

We love having our family around us at Christmas. Every year for forty-three years we have had a Christmas Eve gathering that originally included our kids, then their wives, then the grandkids, then the great grandkids, and occasionally other family members and friends who need a place to feel loved. Some… Continue reading

What’s Wrong with Us?

Just thinking about the images makes me crazy. A twenty-year-old young man shot his mom in the face, then using her guns blasted his way into an elementary school and mowed down twenty-six people, most of them six and seven year old before taking his own life. The tears are… Continue reading

Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher: Processing Tragedy

You probably are aware that Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend who was the mother of his three-month-old daughter just minutes before driving to the Chiefs’ facility where he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, taking his own life. In the parking lot,… Continue reading

Jesus & Christianity: Different Agendas

Contrasts: We have sacred creeds, sacred places of worship, sacred objects, and sacred leaders or clergy. Jesus had none of it. We are part of a subculture that insulates us from real life. Jesus talked about a different way of living real life. We obsess over trying to be better… Continue reading

Every Selfless Act

I have to tell you what happened while we were in St. Paul enjoying Thanksgiving, our grandson’s birthday, and our daughter and son-in-law’s anniversary, all between last Wednesday and this Sunday.  First, I asked a neighbor to take care of our crazed cat and watch over the place while we… Continue reading

Break the Rules

A cursory of the Gospels would lead you to believe that Jesus was doing everything he could think of to agitate the religious establishment of his day. He wasn’t the ultimate hippie or some sort of crazed rebel; he, of course, knew exactly what he was doing. He was defying man-made religious rules that… Continue reading


This post is part of a synchroblog on gratitude as a spiritual practice. The other contributions are listed at the end of this post. I don’t exactly feel like the most qualified person to write about gratitude. If the topic were complaining or ranting, I would be in more familiar territory. When… Continue reading

Thin Blue Smoke

I am seriously moved, definitely warmed and inspired as I just finished a new novel by Doug Worgul, entitled, Thin Blue Smoke. These characters got into my heart and let me know I still have a heart. They’re real and flawed. Some of them have had some really bad breaks… Continue reading

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

And I thought we were polarized during the last election cycle. Your neighbor puts up an Obama or Romney yard sign and you think, I thought he was an okay, but apparently he is an idiot. One of your Facebook “friends” writes about what an ass Obama or Romney is… Continue reading

Unasked Questions

While we are overwhelmed with political propaganda and endless chatter from the talking heads and spin doctors, there is not enough attention given to three foundational questions that should affect how we vote. The answers to these questions should be applied to every governmental program. Is it the role of… Continue reading

Magic Wand

If I had a magic wand, here are three things I would fix in our political system. The Electoral College would be gone. When you vote for the candidate for your choice for the President of the United States, you are really voting for your state’s electors. All states, except Maine… Continue reading

American Idiot

As I was surfing Facebook, I saw an acquaintance’s claim that Romney was trying to take us back to the days of Ozzie and Harriet. It was a curious response to the debate. Some conservatives might look on those times as the good old days and some liberals regard then… Continue reading


I have hit an awesome chapter in Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward and I am trying to unpackage it. Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationships that God wants to create with us. (pp. 56-57) I always thought of forgiveness as… Continue reading

How I Became a Troublemaker

My life, my vocation, my identity, and the church have always been intertwined. I finally came to the realization that somehow these things had to be unwound. Being my vocation was just too painful. My emotions, sense of worth, and well being would rise and fall like the tide, depending on how… Continue reading


This post is part of a synchroblog, entitled, Choosing my Religion. The participating writers are answering the question, “If you could change to any other religion in the world (other than Christianity), which would you choose and why?” The links to their contributions are posted at the end of this post. I am cheating. I… Continue reading

Longing for Leadership

  We live really close to Wisconsin (a block and a half away). The state is home to Reince Priebus, Chair of the Republican national Committee and Paul Ryan Republican Vice Presidential nominee. So, our geography, the campaign news reports, and the political conventions have me thinking about politics. The word, politics… 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

Chickening Out

I have to admit that I have been itching to write about the hoopla surrounding Chic-fil-a and homosexuality. Based on what I know about the story, my conclusions are rather clear. Everybody has a right to their opinion. That means Don Cathy, the CEO of Chic-fil-a, a privately held company,… Continue reading

Party Hardy

We have recently been to a couple of huge area festivals that attract thousands, the Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg, Wisconsin and Fish Day in Port Washington, Wisconsin. The Strawberry Festival in a massive array of all kinds of vendors taking up several blocks of charming, historical downtown Cedarburg. There is… Continue reading