The electric fence

"I'm wondering if you and your husband have run into issues of sexual sin among any of the leaders in your congregation." My query paused the conversation while my friend reviewed her experiences in the last year or so since her husband had become an elder in a mid-sized, non-denominational congregation.The fact that she had to pause and think about it answered my question. "Well, there's a couple dealing with infidelity on the part of one of the spouses," she said at last."Are they in … [Read more...]

Country music words quiz

I've avoided the genre like smallpox, but in recent years, a few crossover hits have captured my imagination. And that Mad Magazine coverboy, also known as American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, got me to thinkin' 'bout tryin' the Country Music for the first time. (!) I challenged myself to give country a chance for a month.I'm almost done with my 30-day challenge period wherein I listen to pop-hit country US99 in the car when I drive. There are a few songs that I simply can not stomach as a … [Read more...]

Spiritual narcissism

Yesterday while I was playing hooky, I headed to WI for a quick visit with Meg, my long-time prayer partner. We ended our day in the empty sanctuary of her Pewaukee church. It is a small modern space, but was sited onto the land with great respect to the old trees and plantings already residing on the land. Windows behind the altar bring breathtaking views of creation into the building all four seasons of the year.  As Meg and I prayed, I could almost hear a sermon preached to me by the … [Read more...]

Review: Story Engineering

Toward the end of his life, King Solomon famously noted, "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." (Ecc. 12:12) In our modern age, we are now up to the point where there are endless numbers of books about the writing of books. Some new classics about the art of writing, like Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird or Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones, are designed to inspire both beginning and veteran authors. There are other books that function as "how to" texts for … [Read more...]

Building a bridge from here to There – part 3

Transitions are the bridges from here to There in written and verbal communication. In part one of this three-part series, I offered some basic thoughts about how transitions serve as a sort of GPS, directing readers/listeners from point to point of an author or speaker's idea journey. In part two of the series, I showed what happens when transitions are ignored in one especially potent form of communication - a church service. I created a generic example pieced together from years of sitting … [Read more...]

Building a bridge from here to There – Part 2

My last post was a five-minute intro on the importance of transitions in communication. (Click here to read it.) I ended the post with a bit of a teaser when I mentioned that there is one group of communicators who don't always do much thinking about transitions.I believe these people neglect transitions because they are often focused on specific chunks of communication. They aren't thinking of the big picture. And because of that, their audience is often left to do too much of the work of … [Read more...]

Building a bridge from here to There

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a village near the forest.  Whenever she went out, the little girl wore a red riding cloak, so everyone in the village called her Little Red Riding Hood. The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. Let that magical paragraph wash over you for a moment. What? You don't understand it? You don't see the … [Read more...]