Marking time with God

I'm posting this in hopes that maybe one of you can offer some insight to my calendars quandry. Plural intended.I'm not wrestling with the 365-day, 12-month calendar hanging on my kitchen wall and filling the pages of my Day-Timer. The calendars that don't make sense to me are the calendar marking the cycle of feast and fast observance prescribed in the Old Testament and the calendar used by liturgical churches to mark the Christian year. Jesus celebrated the former, but within a few hundred … [Read more...]

A simple gift for you this Thanksgiving

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free / 'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be / And when we find ourselves in the place just right / 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.Click and enjoy the haunting voice of Allison Kraus on this lovely Quaker melody, accompanied by Yo Yo Ma.  … [Read more...]

Backed into a corner?

Being backed into a corner brings clarity.When you are fighting for your life, that punch list of Thursday afternoon errands (Grocery store: Eggs, toilet paper, broccoli; Dry cleaners: pick up winter coat; Office Max: Business envelopes; Make dentist appointment) is nothing more than ephemera tumbled into a northwesterly breeze. The corner - no visible exits, no trap doors, no possible way out - strips life down to its essence. Who are you? Who is your God/god?In the last week, two people … [Read more...]

Invisible no more

When we first met Carlos 9 years ago, he was working as a busser in a Mexican restaurant. He didn't have papers, but he did have our daughter's heart. The two married, and after a couple of years, they began the long process of getting Carlos a green card, and then applying for U.S. citizenship.Today, Carlos completed that journey. He is now an American citizen.In my second book (Uprooted: Growing a parable life from the inside out), I penned a narrative using elements of Carlos' experience … [Read more...]

Go on out to the lobby, go on out to the lobby…

On Thursday, November 3, about 350 leaders from northern Chicago churches and non-profits gathered for the 6th annual Christ Together Forum. The shot above was taken during the main session.Well, that's what we all call the time when we sit together in a big auditorium and pray, sing, hear some keynote messages and learn about some of the things the big "C" Church is doing in Lake County such as educating kids in underserved schools, feeding families, reaching out to their neighborhoods in … [Read more...]

Book review: Bound For Glory

I want to celebrate the incredible gift of music that African Americans gave to the church and to the whole world. It is amazing that these people, many of them enslaved by Christian people, saw beyond their owners hypocrisy and embraced the real Jesus. I believe that these miracle songs are an example of how God can take our deepest pain and, in response to our faith, create something beautiful. Well-known calligrapher Timothy Botts offers these words about what shaped his work in Bound For … [Read more...]

What a book review is – and isn’t

Anyone who has ever read a book and then told a friend, "It stunk" or "Buy it!" is a book reviewer. Of course, book reviewing can be a lot more formal than a verbal "thumbs up/down". I have long relied on thoughtful print/web book reviews to help me decide what to read as well as to inform me about ideas and trends happening in the world. I may not have time to read every book that interests me, but intelligent reviews help me stay connected to the conversations taking place in our culture.I … [Read more...]