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I had trouble writing this message. The trouble wasn’t due to the content of the lesson, but the cut on the finger. A few days ago I was fishing around in my gym bag for a razor and guess what? I found it. But I found the wrong end. A circle of skin the size of a pencil head was cut off the middle finger of my right hand and offered as sacrifice to the god of stupidity. It’s really no big deal, (that is, unless you feel sorry for me and then it really hurt very much). The cut … Read More

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I can’t decide if it is a dream or a longing. Maybe it began as the first and morphed into the second. Yesterday I told my wife, Denalyn, “Last night I had the strangest dream.” We’d fallen asleep watching the Republican National Convention. Not the most relaxing way to drift off, right? Politicians, pundits, pollsters and picketers. Tongues wagging. Finger-pointing. Accusations. Declarations. Blah-blah-blah. The convention is warp and woof of our system; I get that. But does it have to be so…hostile, volatile? The country seems on edge. Every headline a heartache. Officers shot. Motorists shot. Flags at half staff … Read More

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Max wrote this prayer in the aftermath of 9/11. It seems appropriate to share it once again. Dear Lord, We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, What a hor­rible dream. But we won’t, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad. There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom … Read More

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(Long, long ago, in the days before internet and email, running water and fire, in days when my hair was red and my waist was thin, I wrote an entry in my journal. It felt print-worthy, so I shared it with our church. People resonated with it, so we included it in a book. That was a quarter of a century ago, yet the words still seem to find their mark. It surfaces in magazines, blogs and newsletters. I even came across a version of this piece on a wall calligraphy. Maybe you’ve read it. If not, maybe you will … Read More

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King Nebuchadnezzar had no peers. He was the uncontested ruler of the world of the 6th century B.C. Babylon, his city, rose out of the desert plains like a Manhattan skyline. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which legend says he built for his wife, were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. His royal palace was immense. Its walls were 387 feet high and 87 feet thick. Four chariots abreast could ride on them. The mighty Euphrates flowed through the city. Its population reached two million people. It boasted temples, terraces, and palaces. All of this was under the … Read More

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My hangover was terrible, but I could survive that. The nausea was palpable, but I knew it would pass. The discipline was severe, but I deserved it. What I couldn’t bear was the guilt. Our family tree is marked by a blight of alcoholism. My dad made it clear: alcohol abuse leads to trouble and that trouble leads to misery. More than once I promised that I would never get drunk. Then why did I? Why did I, at the age of 16, get so ragingly inebriated that I could not drive? Why did I drive anyway? Why did I … Read More

cemetary_angel

Several years ago I received an urgent call to visit a dying man in the hospital. I didn’t know Peter well, but well enough to know that he was paying a high price for his hard living. Years of drugs and alcohol had pilfered his system. Though he’d made peace with God through Christ, his liver was at conflict with his body. When his ex-wife phoned, she was standing at his bedside. Peter, she explained, was knocking at death’s door. Though I hurried, he entered it seconds before I arrived. The hospital room atmosphere had a …just happened… feel to … Read More

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When Denalyn and I travel together, she wants to drive. It’s not that she loves the steering wheel, it’s just that she loves to stay on track. My mind tends to wander. My thoughts tend to stray. I may be on a highway, but mentally, I’m in a distant land. Consequently, I miss exits, forget to turn, or stray off course. More than once she has dozed off only to awaken in a strange location. The ensuing conversation goes like this: “Where are we?” “I don’t know.” “What happened?” “I think I messed up.” “Max, we will never get there … Read More

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Last week’s blog struck a nerve. I wrote a piece entitled “Decency for President.” The premise was a simple one. Shouldn’t a presidential candidate who claims to be Christian talk like one? When a candidate waves a Bible in one speech and calls a reporter “bimbo” in the next, isn’t something awry? Specifically, when Donald Trump insists that he is a Christian (“a good Christian” to use his descriptor) and then blasts, belittles, and denigrates everyone from Barbara Bush to John McCain to Megyn Kelly, shouldn’t we speak up? If the candidate is not a Christian, then I have no … Read More