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The very first thing any being said in the Bible is, “Let there be light.” This is the first word that is necessary when sorting out the chaos that is the universe. That scale is still beyond us. The light began the process of separating and sorting that makes the rest of creation possible.

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I have heard it only a few times, and each time I felt a little disgusted and had to stuff down a laugh at the same time. It is the desperate cry of one who is attempting to access entitlement from the pedestal of privilege as they learn they are not going to get their way. “Do you know who …

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There are many beautiful things in this world — mountains, waterfalls, a rugged coastline, coral reefs and deserts to name a few. There is however a point at which one can get too close. Even a relatively small waterfall can be treacherous to walk under and a large one becomes increasingly t…

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This weekend we will celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. Over the course of my life the details of that celebration have changed. I have been to parks, riverfronts, a few overseas, and for several years after fireworks became legal, we had a decent show at m…

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Last summer was strange at our house. We stayed busy enough, but we missed our normal summer trips. The things we missed most were summer camps. There is the traditional version of camp for a week or two at a facility away from town. There is also the summer mission trip to other places to h…

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I know people who seem to see nothing but the good. They are encouraging and find the right words even in difficult situations. I am certain that their eyes are perhaps clearer than mine, but not much is said about the negative. It is not ignored. It is turned around. There is often not so m…

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I like music. I can, for brief moments, listen to nearly anything. I do not always understand or appreciate it, but I can try. My current tastes tend toward classical and bluegrass, but if you were to walk into my office you might hear traditional Andean pipes, Eastern European folk music, o…

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“I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With word…

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I sometimes have a hard time being still. I am better than I used to be, but still have a way to go. It is not sitting still that is the hardest part. It is sitting still and not being annoyed by the need to sit still in some places. I carry a book with me in my car. I call it my “appointmen…

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She was 19 years old and felt horrible, her night had not ended the way she had hoped. There she was after her shift as a waitress, sifting through the night’s garbage with her equally upset (not mad, just upset) fiancé. She was helping to clean up and at some point, her new ever-so-slightly…

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There is an encouragement in the New Testament from the apostle John written to encourage believers to stay focused on what is important. He says, “Do not love the world, or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” (I John 2:15).

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I’ve seen variations of a couple of quotes, which many have claimed and many more attributed to the well-known person from which they first heard it. The first is, “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” The second is, “People like being outraged and offended constantly, it …

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I can’t remember exactly how I met him, but we connected pretty quickly telling fishing stories. He did not have any from the last five years because he had only recently been released from state prison in Jackson, Michigan. He helped me with a few projects, and I helped him move a few thing…

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Anyone who reads this space regularly knows that I am fascinated by what makes us, us. And what makes me, me. Stories, history, perspective and faith are just four of the factors that mix to make us who we are from the individual to the whole of humanity. Some things bring nearly everyone to…

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There it was, a beautiful brand new bicycle. It was what she really wanted. What she got, at first, was a dollhouse that was lovingly made by her father. The disappointment on her 10-year-old face was enough to convince her dad to go and sell the dollhouse and buy her that bike. There was no…

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One of the most well-known of the ancient Christian preachers is John Chrysostom (c. 340-407). He is well-known because so many of his writings have survived. Many of his sermons hold up well even today.

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My faith heritage is located in the Radical Reformation and Reason. Because of that, Holy Week is for people of similar heritage pretty much like any other week of the year. Those who come from mainline traditions may spend more days attending services this week than any other time of year.

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It has always been hard to know what or who to believe. We all have our tendencies to believe the best of some people and the worst of others. This works for groups as well. If it is a group we like, we look for the best examples and omit the rest. If it is a group we do not like, we look fo…

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In 1999 the estate of Edwin Friedman published notes from an unfinished book. The result was “A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix.” Here is what he said about American society’s reactivity to nearly everything.

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The telling of history is never fair. Even the best historians have their biases and agendas. Anyone who has carefully read the books of Kings and Chronicles in the Bible know that even there we find different perspectives.

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Kentucky Baptist leaders across the state have joined the chorus of Southern Baptists and other conservative organizations voicing opposition to the Equality Act, a bill termed as a federal LGBTQ rights bill.

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“[This generation] is the generation which gives absolute priority to the personal and which tends in a remarkable way to withdraw into the self. This might surprise those who think of our youth as highly activist, sign-carrying protesters who stage teach-ins, sit-ins, walk-ins, and stay-ins…

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Life is built on the mundane but lived at the edges. It is when the edges of life crowd us and fall upon us and sneak up on us that we become aware of how we have managed the mundane. Perhaps mundane is too bland a word to use because of its importance in life. It is those mundane habits tha…

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I am generally an optimist — some would say Pollyannish. I do get angry, but my constitution is more like Winnie the Pooh than Eeyore. This means that I have had as many people get angry with me for not being angry as for nearly anything else. I have also (although not recently) made the foo…

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A recurring theme in this column is that of story. We watch them, write them, tell them, hear them. We tell stories that are true, some that are made up (for all kinds of reasons). We tell short ones and long ones — funny, sad, serious and lighthearted. We are the stories we tell and the sto…

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I have done a few hikes in my time. My favorite ones have been with my family and begin at the base of a hill or mountain and ascend to a lake, a magnificent view, or just the top of the hill. About seven miles one way is about my limit, and with children under 10 that was usually fun until …

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The truth of life is that it is full of tensions. As one who believes in God, I can say that everything began with God. As a human being in a time and place, I can say without the self-centered, idolatrous meaning of the phrase, “everything begins with me.” I have been contemplating this con…

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Has anyone ever had any success in handling a situation by shouting, “Everybody just calm down!” Didn’t think so. Depending on the audience (one can get away with it with younger children sometimes) there will likely be immediate silence followed by outrage. If ever there were a phrase that …

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I, as I suppose many of you, was fascinated and deeply troubled by what I witnessed on my TV screen on Wednesday. I am equally fascinated by the various responses that followed Wednesday and Thursday. It was a wake-up moment for us. The change in tone and words in a usually mundane procedura…

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In my lifetime, 2020 has been the strangest of years. I never ran out of toilet paper or anything for that matter. I did buy some wax for making jam because lids for jars have been hard to get where I live. There have been strange shortages, inconsistent rules, violence which beget more viol…

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There is an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” It is a reminder that we may think we know what we want, but when it arrives it does so with a plethora of unexpected baggage and sometimes obligation and unwanted responsibility.

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We celebrate the birth of Christ near to the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The light of the world shining in the darkness. This year, for many, the celebration will be either changed, muted or nearly non-existent. How we celebrate this year will be determined a great de…

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Bad theology is everywhere. Sometimes it is blatantly obvious, as when faith gets tangled up in nationalism and war and terrorism. Sometimes it is still obvious, but some people can justify it, as when faith is co-opted by party political agendas.