“Our driver is running a few minutes late. Is that O.K.?” The voice on the other end of the phone waited for my answer. What was I supposed to say? I’d been sitting in an office with nothing much to do except wait for the guy from the office equipment company to come pick up his copier. “Sure. I’ll be here.” It is the mundane nature of days like this that threatens to numb us from savoring the activity of… Read more

Once upon a time, I used to write a lot of readings for use during church services. Some of the pieces were meant to tell a story in a unique way, other readings were simply a creative division of a Biblical text that would allow a congregation to listen to familiar words with fresh ears because 2-5 voices proclaimed them.This summer at our church, there was a call for the congregation to bring our “Living Psalms” to one another. Below,… Read more

“My husband reads your blog, and he commented that you seem to have a lot of complaints about the Church,” a friend told me recently. A number of responses came to mind, mostly of the “Well, yeah” and “No duh” variety.There are lot of voices offering criticism of the church around the blogosphere. A sizable percentage of these critics sing the laments that jilted lovers do. Their minor key songs are the kinds of songs sung by those who gave… Read more

“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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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 obvious… Read more

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