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What kind of world would it be if we allowed 12-year-old children to drive without training, or operate power tools without practice? What if, because we wanted to keep them occupied, we gave them unsupervised and untrained access to predators, pornography, unscrupulous snake oil salespeople…

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Life would be more comfortable for all of us if could agree on everything — probably not. I cannot imagine living in such a world. It would be a wretched place to live.

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Over the past 18 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.”

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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…

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The saying, “He is dancing like nobody is watching,” brings to my mind a specific context. I have heard it almost exclusively at celebrations (graduations, weddings, birthdays) in reference to someone (he or she) who is dancing (usually not very well) fully aware of the setting but in a worl…

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The first few chapters of Genesis have been dragged through all sorts of modern arguments and philosophies. How one interprets them has become, for some, a litmus test of faith.

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We are recently, as a society, obsessed with being noticed. It can create some serious cross currents in our lives as we seek to “fit in” and “stand out”’ at the same time. It is a delicate balance. It is also a symptom of living in a thoroughly individualistic society.

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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 I…

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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 …

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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.

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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 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 15,000 men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make …

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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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There it was, a beautiful brand new bicycle. It was what she really wanted. What she got, at first, was a doll house that was lovingly made by her father.

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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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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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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 al…

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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.

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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 ten that was usually fun until…

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Has anyone ever had any success in handling a situation by shouting, “Everybody just calm down!” Didn’t think so.

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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.

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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 coopted by party political agendas. Bad theology in these categories usually leads…