Growing pains – part 2

One reason the question of whether it is possible to "outgrow" a church keeps coming back to me is because of the process described in Ian Michael Cron's semi-novel Chasing Francis. The book is an interesting hybrid of history lesson, travelogue, church diagnostic, and love story. It tells the story of an evangelical megachurch pastor named Chase Falcon who has a spiritual and emotional implosion one day while midstream through a Sunday morning sermon. Pastor Falcon happens to have a beloved … [Read more...]

Growing pains – part 1

Yesterday at Scot McKnight's popular Jesus Creed blog, he started a discussion about finding/losing faith. (Click here to read his post and the lively discussion that followed.)It reminded me of something I read as I was up to my frontal lobe in research for The Church For Skeptics: A Conversation For Thinking People. It was a discussion about the stages of mature faith development in a person's life, and if I'm remembering correctly, the work in question (a book, I think) discussed the crisis … [Read more...]

And what does the Lord require of you?

I had lunch on Friday with my friend Pam. We've been friends since 8th grade, and together came to faith in Christ just as the Jesus Movement wave crested and began to recede. Our oldest children were born just a week apart. Our now-antique cats, Mike and Phyllis, came from a couple of litters of kittens born at Pam's house. Pam has been an educator for all of her adult life, and I've always admired the sandpaper way she would put her hands on her hips and ask her administrators why they were … [Read more...]

Eatin’ good in the neighborhood

I just returned from the Wednesday afternoon farmer's market with:Dead ripe tomatoes (my addiction)Bi-color sweet cornImperfectly shaped green peppersPeaches so ripe they exploded out of their skin when I bit into oneHomemade pastaAsiago breadsticksMixed olives in anise olive oilLocally bottled white SangriaGarlic-dill jack cheese made by a small WI dairyI am very aware that this is what blessing tastes like. And I'm grateful...* * * * * * *Thought-provoking post of the day: Shawn Blanc's Fight … [Read more...]


Make it stop. When stuff in our lives goes through a radical rearrangement - meaning, we're forced into some sort of change - more than anything, we want the discombobulation to stop. We want the old normal. Or the new normal. Anything but this horrible confusion that leaves us feeling like we're bobbing around in the middle of a stormy ocean wearing only a Looney Toons inflatable swim ring. Make it stop. One of the most helpful books I ever read on the subject of transition was placed in my … [Read more...]

July 19

Harry Jerome Marks July 19, 1933-July 19, 1997Ten years ago today, my father died on his 64th birthday, losing his 17-month battle with leukemia. There were so many events I would have love to have shared with him, so many funny stories he would have loved to have shared, and moments from my kids' lives he would have relished. He was a pretty simple guy - he loved a good steak, Johnny Carson, fixing stuff and telling stories. And humor. He was one funny guy, though those who lived in the same … [Read more...]


Where are they?Where are the 18-30 year olds? We know they're not attending standard-issue church. And they're mostly not attending the alternative churches developed to "reach" them. This issue has been analyzed and analyzed some more, by people way smarter than I. That's not the purpose of this post. The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 (who are sitting in pews, slick auditoriums, and rented elementary school gyms) to find the 1. He doesn't chase down that renegade sheep in order to tell him that … [Read more...]