The Red Pen

red pen

by Alissa Wilkinson If you listened closely at my office door during the month of December, you’d hear a bunch of resounding thuds. It’s the sound of stacks of printed final assignments being dropped onto my desk. In the sorts of classes I teach, the lion’s share of grading comes at the end of the [Read More...]

Resolutions or Not, Here I Come

new year, resolutions

by Sam Van Eman I’m convinced that we wouldn’t have so many New Year’s resolutions—kept or unkept—if the stretch from Thanksgiving Turkey Feasts to New Year Ball Drops occurred in, say, August. We’ve packed November and December so full of holidays that this period has turned into one giant year-end party. I like it, of [Read More...]

A Psalm for Those of Us Who Are in Process

psalm 77

Psalm 77:1-20 But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. Psalm 77:11 At the beginning of Psalm 77, the psalm writer is in a major funk. He is in the middle of some terrible personal crisis, and he is crying out to God for help [Read More...]

A Time to Plant and a Time to Uproot

Ecclesiastes 3

by Craig Goodwin Editor’s Note: According to Ecclesiastes 3, “There is a time for everything….” Not everything on that list, however, comes to us easily. Some items confound, others liberate, and none of them surrender to our wills entirely. The following article is part of a series that explores the complexity of these 14 poetic lines. [Read More...]

Reimagining Annie: An Interview with Devon Franklin

DeVon Franklin

It seems that Scrooge has hit the new “Annie” remake (starring Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis, the award’s youngest ever nominee) with a one-two punch, as both bad reviews and a Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking scandal have thwarted high holiday hopes for the film’s opening December 19. Before this gloomy news made [Read More...]

Why Would Kansas Give Away Free Land?


by James Calvin Schaap Marquette, Kansas, is offering free land to people who’d like to live there. According to the mayor, thousands have inquired and some have come for a plot. Enrollment in the Marquette school—and the town’s meager population—has risen so healthily that the town will be able to save the school rather than lose [Read More...]

Advent: Waiting for a Prophet in a Pear Tree

Cover of the 2014 Advent Devotional from the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. Click on the image for a free download.

Every year I cringe a bit when we dig out the decorations for the holidays. “The season of clutter,” I sometimes grumble. In the end, though, I love it when the tree is lit and the piano is covered with twenty photos of my kids posing with Santa over the years (no kidding, I just [Read More...]

Welcome to the Real World: On Redemption, Common Grace, and Sabbath-Keeping


by Laura Boggess “It feels weird after being gone for a while to step back into the same old, same old,” I tell my boys this morning as we eat our breakfast. I have just returned from a retreat in the Texas hill country, at Laity Lodge, where God used water-hands to carve stone into [Read More...]

A Gift of Hope


by Keri Wyatt Kent “A thrill of hope A weary world rejoices For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn…” This time of year, we hear the word “hope” frequently. But people often use it carelessly. In fact, we use to the word hope to wishful thinking not based in reality, when we say things like, [Read More...]

Balance, Momentum, and Being Centered: Thoughts on Mastering Leadership


by Tamilyn Banno Avid skiers dream of powder. The snow is feathery light, and require a different technique than skiing on a packed surface. Powder can get pretty deep, and some of the best runs are made when it’s piled high. Balance is centered, and momentum is forward; otherwise, the skier sinks and gets stuck [Read More...]