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A Wet, Woolen Coat

There are countless friends today choosing to get up this morning, to get dressed. They sit and stare for a bit, they drink strong coffee or tea. And then fight hard to stand up and walk out into this life. They don't especially want to. They can't seem to rally it. There is sadness all over them that they can't label. They keep trying to fight it off...

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Mercy, Mercy Me!

For 21 years Mercy Me has been recording hit after hit and then taking to the road to play almost as long as people would stay. You would think by now they would just be mailing it in; playing with detached disinterest, in smoky casino lounges, with bad lighting, next to the kitchen. Tiny rooms, usually reserved for acts like the “Paul Revere and the Raiders’ Reunion Tour,” featuring the lead singer’s ex-bass player.

But I had the privilege...

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Without The Leash

Just came back from a walk with my thirteen-year-old Golden Retriever, Bali. I believe she has just stayed around primarily to protect me. We go on walks each day when I'm in town. And every time, at the corner where we turn in for home I say the same words to her: "Here kid, lets get that leash off and walk free these last few hundred yards. I love you so much." She shuffles faster for a few moments and then, to my great joy...

Excuse me, I've got important work to do...

Living to not perform never means living less, or not working hard. Or giving myself a pass to not do something really worth doing. It means working hard at the right things. It means being so free from performing to assuage God or prove to others that I am worth loving, that instead I can love well. And loving well costs. For loving well means it is no longer about my performance, but standing well with others in their hurts and losses and blind sides; even their performing...

Still New to This Chapter

I discover, in my preaching, that I write and lean towards these kinds of thoughts. To show God good and kind and wise, above and in, next to and standing with, over and amidst, missing nothing and redeeming everything. If I don't have these as my starting point, then all talk about grace seems like whistling in the dark. But He is this good and better...

Cheese Graters

I have maintained, apart from baseball cards, hats, music and shoes, only two real collections I can readily think of. In the early 70s my friend Ric DelaHoussaye and I went to swap-meets nearly each Saturday. He was so cool. He was always buying exotic old tools, retro car parts, furniture knobs, intersesting denim for patches to his jeans, and such. I had...

New Life Wins Again

Many of you know my feet are working less and less and less. Neuropathy. The sensors are no longer carrying the freight. And the pain causes me to walk like Walter Brennan on a bender. (sorry, the reference is worthless if you're younger than me) Anyway, it all embarrasses me. And I imagine when it gets revealed in public, it ignites my shame. And fears. And anger. And so on...I so do not want to be that doddering...

Nobody's Grandfather

As long as I believe God’s goal for my life should be painless, smooth, validation and happy endings, I will live in a cognitive dissonance, which will eventually cause me to pull back and protect myself. We can slip into...

When a Mask is Not a Mask

Once we learn that maybe we were wearing masks for acceptance, love, self-protection, or religious approval...an entirely new conversation begins. "What does it look like to not wear a mask?" This is no attempt to answer that question. But I'm learning being free from mask wearing is not synonomous with telling everyone everything I know all the time...

The New Water Guideline Requirements

Apparently the word on the street, (some street, somewhere) is that buying into a conviction of living by grace, over a period of time, will cause God followers to pray or read their Bible less. The argument can sound like this: "You have to keep folks on a pretty strict regimen of quiet times and prescribed Bible readings. If you just let people alone with what they'd choose, they'll end up reading only Facebook and cereal boxes." ...

Talking to Myself

For all my well-documented idiosyncrasies, sustained out-loud talking to myself has not been one of them. That is, until Sunday morning, May 15th, in my Memphis hotel room. Just the evening before I'd had an outstanding time in the home of one of the host couples along with the pastor who'd brought me out to speak to his community...

Mr. Yukech

In “On My Worst Day” I write pieces from my memory, and imagine what Jesus might say in the middle of my experiences. Here is one such snapshot.

1962
Mr. Yukech passed away from kidney failure this year. He lived across the street, on Altura Way. For some reason, he took a kind interest in me. If he saw me playing out front, he’d usually walk over. We’d sit for hours on our front stoop. Who does that?...