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It is graduation season. This month and next there will be millions of diplomas and degrees awarded for those who have met the requirements for matriculation (we’ll stretch the definition to include high school here). There are two main attitudes seen as students walk toward the left side of…

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Occasionally I will pick up a random classic and start reading. I do this to prevent falling into a reading rut and to keep my mind sharp. I am always rewarded for the effort. Those who read this space are often subjected to those gems I find in plain sight.

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Our part of the planet is coming to life again. The yellows, purples, and whites of early flowers have announced the arrival of spring. Evidence of life where there was none just a few weeks ago reminds us of the beauty of the rhythms of nature. Resurrection is on our minds whether we realiz…

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Life in all its forms has a rhythm. It is predictable that spring follows winter. Yet every year I hear people fascinated by the sudden changes in weather and the beauty of the long-awaited colors of the spring flowers. It is expected. It is dependable. It is predictable. Its complexity is b…

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I wonder what the world would look like, or feel like, if we all said what we were thinking. It would be even more interesting or dangerous if we acted on even half of those thoughts. Any reaction to this at all demonstrates how far away we are from goodness and purity. Maybe your reaction w…

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Anyone who has ever been part of a business, religious organization, civic club, or sports team has experienced the difference in leadership and authority. Many of us have been part of organizations where leadership succeeded in spite of those in authority.

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The talking heads are at it. Still. “If we would have done this or that, or not done this or that, things would be different.” Well . . . they are right, but they don’t know how things would have been different. It is easy to create a future that isn’t going to happen.

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Runners hit “the wall.” Some sports fans get so accustomed to losing that it becomes part of their identity, enjoying seeing all the new ways their teams can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Those last two miles of a hike back to the car after all the sights have been seen can be brut…

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“Show me you love me.” If ever these words hit your ears, run away. Odds are they are on the lips of one trying to manipulate someone else into doing something they are not prepared to do. They are found on the lips of those who are good at getting others to do what they want without a thoug…

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I grew up in a time when history and social studies taught that the United States was a “melting pot.” It is a founding metaphor for the United States that may have been in use since the 1780’s. In recent decades that metaphor has been challenged because the homogenous culture that most imag…

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I like a little salt in my soup, but I do not like soup in my salt. The former makes the soup better, the latter ruins both. It may be that politics and religion have a similar relationship. It is a popular understanding that discussing religion and politics leads to trouble. This is an indi…

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In Genesis we are told the story of Adam and Eve being evicted from the Garden of Eden. It is the end of what has historically been called “the fall of man.” It is not called that in the Bible unless one has a doctrinal predisposition toward it and then searches for supporting texts. It is a…

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There is no excuse for racism. It is based on ignorance, the sins of previous generations, and fear. There is nothing to commend it — ever. It is also true that we human beings are forever tribal in our thinking. That is not a bad thing unless it causes us to mistreat those who are not in ou…

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One of my favorite environments is outside right after a snowfall. There is a clean and clear quality to the air and sound is muffled so as to draw one into peace, if only for a few moments. When enough snow falls, it causes us to either slow down or stop completely. Even if we go about our …

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No one knows when New Year’s resolutions began, but we do know that the annual practice of renewing one’s better goals is ancient. Of course, it did not happen on January 1 as we might do today. It may have been related to the planting of crops, or in Egypt, the Nile floods.

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Christmas songs and carols are part of the soundscape of December. They range from the wondrous, “O Holy Night” to the well-meaning, but slightly offensive Band Aid effort, “Feed the World,” to the fantastically overplayed, “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Some are irreverent and completel…

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One of the wonderful things about being human is our ability to tell and listen to stories. There are plenty of stories that are written to demonstrate a moral or make a political or social statement. We call these novels, and they are one of the ways that we can approach truth.

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There are some things that are hard to look at. It ranges from covering one’s eyes during a movie to averting the gaze of someone we would rather avoid. It ranges from a child falling and skinning a knee to the horrors of genocide. But to focus on the event or the picture that is in front of…

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I shared in this space last week the complexity of Thanksgiving and made mention that Christmas is the exceptional holiday that may exceed the first in its emotional baggage. Christmas adds gifts, pressure to overspend, parties which we must attend, and time pressure. By the time the day arr…

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I suspect that I am not the only person for whom Thanksgiving is a complicated holiday. Most other national holidays (Christmas excepted) are, for me, straightforward. There may be family traditions or expectations around the others, but they do not seem nearly as freighted as those around t…

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Congress has just passed a huge infrastructure bill to improve the systems that make it possible for us to move goods and information as efficiently as possible. Anyone who has driven more than a few hundred miles knows how important it is to have good roads and bridges. Being without power …

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I recently took a break from social media for a couple of weeks. I missed a couple of events in the lives of people I care about. I did not miss the relentless torrent of facts that are mindlessly spread around in service to one faction or another. What I truly do not understand is the numbe…

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Baseball caps are either earned, demanding or aspirational.

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Sometimes we hear a phrase and we immediately respond favorably or unfavorably.

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I had a conversation with a friend a few years ago in which he shared that he was made light of by his brother because he had a habit of giving at least 10% of his income to the church or other charities.

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We would occasionally play a game at the dinner table. I would pick up a bottle of ketchup (for example) and ask, “How many people did it take to get this ketchup to us?”

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What kind of world would it be if we allowed twelve-year-old children to drive without training, or operate power tools without practice?

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Life would be more comfortable for all of us if could agree on everything — probably not.

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Over the past eighteen months or so we have been thinking a lot about work. There have been some who lost their jobs. There have been others who have been afraid. Some whom many took for granted suddenly were labelled “essential.” I felt from the beginning this was a label that represented t…

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Exhausted. Worn out. Fed up. Tired of all this. And it seems that some people just never stop poking the sores. Some are no doubt well-meaning, but others seem to be intent on making the rest of us just as miserable as they are. I believe that there are a few of us that have the luxury of be…

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The film and pictures coming out of Afghanistan during the past week have been distressing to say the least. No doubt, life has been distressing in Afghanistan for nearly 50 years now. It is just that most of us do not often see in such stark images the desperation that results from the endi…