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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…

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The election is over. At the time I am writing this we have a good idea of who will serve the next four-year term, but it is not yet certified. I expect this will be extended for a few more days yet. As it should be.

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I shared here a couple of years ago a story from a camp I directed for 11-13 year-olds in Wisconsin. They are two-week sessions, so there is time to take on some significant camp improvement projects for those who want to take part. One particularly warm day one of the young men said to me, …

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What I hope to do each week is to help those who read these 800 or so words to slow down enough to give thought to things we already know, along with some historical and spiritual perspective.

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There are signs that we are living in a world of emotionally charged, high anxiety. We are a glob of an emotionally entangled mess. We see this in the hyped-up presentation of news editorials. We see it in the “outrage” of people who have no idea of any facts, only the emotional content of a…

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I watched it. I watched the whole thing. I watched the worst example of public discourse (I know it cannot be called that) I have ever witnessed. There have been more colorful name-calling examples, mostly by newspaper editors or party spokespersons. One of the more famous was penned about J…

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Christian history is fascinating in every century but the transition in the fourth century from persecuted to being the official religion of the empire is difficult to top.

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I really hate to break this to all our young voters, but the current election cycle is not the most important one in our history. We are in no greater existential national crisis today than we were in the years immediately after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Or around 1812. Or …

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There is a constant fight for who gets to tell stories of the past. It is a matter of perspective. I was taught the “received story” of the United States as a child. The telling of that story has changed some since then, but it is still basically the same story.

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I do not write to pick sides, although sometimes it may be obvious which side I am on. Some people do write to pick sides. That is not my intention. I write to think on paper, and in doing so anyone that reads is carried along with my personal attempts to make sense of the world I am in. Agr…

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There will always be “glass half full” and “glass half empty” people. Both will always be right. Personally, the thing that keeps me more on the half full side are all the half empty people that spoke and wrote in the past. It is those who accurately described catastrophic events or put thei…