Flunking First Grade: When suffering holds us back

When you are six, there's just a few things that could be called "devastating." Not advancing to Second Grade would be one of them.I remember when my mother threatened to hold me back a year. I was the youngest in my  class, an anomaly of the school calendar. I wasn’t adapting well and she thought I might do better by starting over again.Somehow, I talked – or cried - my way through the threat. But the truth is that I probably wasn’t ready.It’s that way for me now. The simple truths i … [Read more...]

Dear Dad: I wish I could have one more conversation

My Dad was born in 1917 in the living room of a house in North Dakota. The wheat waved in the wind and the heat bore down on that simple home on the Rupert Ranch.The dust bowl rolled in the 30's, laying the ranch to waste. They sold everything and moved to California, a place of great promise.Dad entered dental school but withdrew when his father died. He worked to provide for his mother, landing a job putting shingles on subdivision homes. It was a "temporary" job that he kept for 50 … [Read more...]

The fear of being offended – Where did our spine go?

“I can’t believe you said that!”She looked at me like I had committed the worst of atrocities.I used the word, “Gal” when referring to a female who had just waited on me. It’s an old term. Probably a hold-over from my mother, who used it constantly, an easy, generic name for every woman she didn’t know the name.But now those darting eyes from this gal – I mean woman --  told me her opinion of this term. Suddenly, that word felt like a heavy weight hung around my neck,  a sign for the … [Read more...]

The lesser of two evils {Is still evil}

Chocolate. Vanilla. Twist.I remember the ice cream machine at Frosty’s Diner in Northern Nevada’s Carson Valley.Mom would  load the kids and make the drive over the mountain pass. At the end of a day of shopping this was our special treat. She would pull the station wagon packed with groceries and supplies and we would bounce to the counter to see the machine.The machine would spit out chocolate or vanilla with a pull of the lever. And to please the indecisive, the menu even offered a … [Read more...]

Confessions of a Reluctant Optimist

I love the news.In fact, my radio dial doesn’t even know there’s an FM, that wonderful invention introduced 60 years ago. Stuck in a world of the latest happenings, I’m following the trends of the moment.  I listen to commentary and debate and all the swirling gestures of a world gone crazy. I watch the news at home and read the paper in the morning.Go ahead, ask me. I'll tell you the latest.But it’s dragging me down.Clinton, Saunders, Trump -- what a pain! China, Italy, the Middl … [Read more...]

The danger {and sheer delight} of saying “Yes” to God

I recently appeared on Radio Station KPOF. We talked about the benefits -- and the sheer delight-- of living dangerously. "Saying Yes" to God is a risky proposition, because you lose control. But what I found out is that it leads to an amazingly fulfilling life.I wish I would have started saying "yes" to God decades ago!Take a listen and let me know what you think. Am I crazy?http://s3.amazonaws.com/2016asheard/YesToChallenge_DavidRupert_160525.mp3   … [Read more...]

Why shouldn’t felons be allowed to work? A practical lesson on grace

Last weekend I worked in the yard, cutting trees and turning over soil. I bagged leaves, weary from the winter decay.At the end of the day, I lined the bags along the curb and dragged my body into the shower, washing away the earthy soil that were marks of my labor.  Finally, I  sat down on the couch.I felt good. Satisfied.That’s what work does. It refreshes the soul, it rejuvenates the spirit and charges the body.It’s the same feeling I get when I’m able to produce at my place of … [Read more...]

Squat or Stand: Beyond Plumbing in the Bathroom Wars

I’ve waited a few days before wading into this bathroom discussion. Potty talk isn’t really my thing, but suddenly our culture is abuzz about who can and cannot enter a bathroom.Why suddenly is this an issue? For my whole life it’s never been a problem. But then a few city councils have decided to open up the bathrooms, forcing a reaction.For all the talk about a Constitution “right to privacy” in the abortion debate, I’m a little surprised that the left aren’t against making our bathroom … [Read more...]

Sorry, but Jesus didn’t come to help your self-esteem

I sometimes get frustrated at the level of gymnastics we will go through to talk ourselves into an easy faith. We want to feel better about ourselves, to sooth our insecurities. We pull out every Bible promise that helps. We want to be blessed, to be happy.In our desire to make faith easy, we lie down on the couch, hoping Jesus will speak to our id, our ego and our own selfishness. Wrapped in our own indecision, we stand, hands at our side. We play it safe.We want to be popular. Let’s f … [Read more...]

It’s time to quit playing it safe

The older I get, the more a measured life beckons. I want to play it safe.And I know you can relate…We don’t walk along the ledge because we might fall. Meanwhile, we miss the view.We don’t run down the mountain, hair flying in the wind, because we might trip and fall.We forget what it’s like to spin on the merry round so many times our insides are turned out and our faces hurt with laughter.We forget to love – and we don’t even try – because we have been hurt and we don’t wan … [Read more...]