Category Archive : Building Bridges

Listening to Linus

“I know it’s Christmas when…”

Do you find yourself telling someone that from time to time?

I know it’s Christmas when: Read More


The most memorable Thanksgivings in my life were the ones that didn’t follow the traditional script. The ones I remember most are the ones that don’t come even remotely close to resembling a Norman Rockwell scene, with a mother in an apron placing a golden bird in front of a sweater-vested father eagerly wielding a carving knife in one hand and serving fork in the other while an excited, beaming family looks on with anticipation. Read More

Communion and Community

“Why am I here?”

That’s what I was thinking as heavy iron doors thunked shut behind our group. Pastor JT Burk and I, along with a few other members of Mount Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church, and our neighbors down the street, The United Church, were following Pastor Chris Ode, the pastor of Living Stones Prison Ministry, deeper into the bars and barbed wire of the Washington Corrections Center near Shelton. I’d never been in a prison before; the closest I’d ever been to incarceration was a field trip to the Tacoma Police Department with the Cub Scouts that included a brief look at empty holding cells. Read More


I’m racist.

I almost typed “I’m probably racist” but using “probably” felt like a crutch: a qualifier to give me an escape route in the conversation. “Probably” gives me or someone else an opportunity to interject and say “no, probably not”.

But I am racist. I’m certain of it. Read More

The Holy Hand Grenade

I never saw or heard anything until the grenade landed right next to me.

I was able to grab it and toss it away from me before it went off, but it was too late – I’d been caught looking
the wrong way. Read More

My Mother’s Joy

My mother was joyful.

She had every reason not to be.

She was born during the Great Depression and went to elementary school as the country went to war. For the first 12 years of her life the country struggled with scarcity, rationing and fear. Read More



I saw this acronym recently and didn’t know what it meant, but from the context of what I was reading it seemed as if it’s commonly used now. I looked it up and found that it means “Fear Of Missing Out”.

Fear of missing out. I can understand that – who wants to be left out? The picture that springs into my head is that of a youth standing on the sidelines of a gym, waiting to be picked for a team and dreading the possibility that they’ll be the last one chosen, or, even worse, not chosen at all. Read More

Galloping Gertie And Our Unshakable Need To Connect

I Got You Babe

“I got you, babe…”

There aren’t a lot of movies I can watch over and over, but Groundhog Day is near the top of a very short list of ones that I can. Which is silly, of course, because a core component of the movie is that the same things repeat over and over and over.

I’ve been thinking about the movie quite a bit this past week. Read More

Called To Change

The Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday has stirred my heart more than any other national holiday. Presidents Day is easily forgettable, other than being inspired by words from George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are powerful, but the tone is more on remembrance and thankfulness. Independence Day is mostly a party. Columbus Day? Well, I don’t see many people making much of a fuss about that. Read More

Welcome At The Y

On New Year’s Eve I was struggling.

I was standing in the middle of the gym floor at the Morgan Family YMCA, trying to pull my thoughts and words together in order to record a video I had promised our Marketing Department as part of a social media takeover project. Read More

A Mighty Fortress

I love to tell stories but I have one story that I’m reluctant to share.

I’m reluctant to share it not because it’s embarrassing or because I would feel too vulnerable.

I’m reluctant to share it because it is about a powerful moment. A moment that was so powerful I can still easily recall it today, but it was the briefest of moments and I long to do it justice.

But I’m going to try. Read More

You’re Welcome

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Read More

I Dare You

“I dare you.”

When I heard this challenge I was sitting on my purple Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle with a cracked banana seat on a narrow dirt path that ran alongside my friend Paul’s backyard in Anchorage, Alaska in the mid 1970’s. Read More

Super Powers

“If you could choose a super power, what would it be and why?” Read More

The “N” Word









“n*gg*r…” Read More

Pledge of Allegiance

I wonder how many times I’ve said the Pledge of Allegiance in my life.

I’m betting it’s a lot more than I’ve sang the National Anthem. Read More



Thirty years ago I was an Army Reservist. Most of my weekend drills and two-week annual trainings were at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, a small base just a few miles north of the border with Mexico.

I was a tank gunner on an M60A3 Main Battle Tank and heard the phrase “GUNNER – COAX – TROOPS!” frequently. It was the command my tank commander would call out when we came across the simulated infantry targets scattered throughout our tank gunnery practice ranges. Read More

Losing It

I had a very simple task to do yesterday.

All I had to do was stand in front of a staff meeting and invite them to visit a few of our locations for an Awareness Tour.

No big deal. I stand in front of this group all the time. I’ve known most of them for many years so there’s no “stage fright”.

And I completely lost it. Read More



That’s a word I don’t seem to hear much anymore.


I hear “OR” a lot. Read More

If You Label Me, You Negate Me

It’s embarrassing to admit this, but one of the most profound ideas that influences my thinking I got from watching “Wayne’s World”.

I don’t really remember the scene or why it was said, but at one point Wayne quotes the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: “Once you label me, you negate me”. Read More

Today Is The Day

Today is the day.

Today is the day Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and gave us the command to love one another, even to those who do not deserve it. Read More

The Army Did It To Me

“The Army is doing this to me.”

I used to hear that phrase, or some form of it, nearly every day. Read More

Where To Stand

I wrote a lot this past year. It’s what I do when I’m trying to make sense of things. Read More

Lessons Learned In A McDonald’s Bathroom

I really don’t want to get trampled to death in a McDonald’s restroom. Read More

Full of Shit


There. Got your attention, didn’t I? Read More

Honest Hour

4 AM again. The Honest Hour.

There’s been so much written already by so many, so I hope you’ll forgive me for loading up the Internet with more. People have all sorts of ways to process information – for me, I write. Read More

Serb or Croat?

“Are you a Serb or a Croat?”

“What?” Read More

Joy To The World

My beautiful wife often asks a question that I really love: “does it bring you joy?” Read More

Strangers In The Night

Thanksgiving 1985.

It’s nearly midnight and I’m thundering a mile a minute across the high, empty desert of central Arizona, singing loudly and pounding the steering wheel as the music from my new cassette tells me to Shout! Shout! Let it all out! And I was, because come on, they were talking to ME! Read More

Prince of Peace

I remember well the day I discovered irony. Read More


I’ve been thinking a lot about “them” lately, and how if they would just see things the way I do the world would be such a better place.  If only they would just understand – if they could only see! Sometimes I can’t believe how foolish they are, or how much they must not care, or what terrible people they are or what horrible parents they must have had to have raised them this way. It’s all their fault.  I wish they would just get out of the way.  They’re destroying our way of life, our country and our planet. Read More


17 years ago I had an opportunity to visit a friend of mine stationed in Germany. About a week into our trip we found ourselves in Munich, and since I’ve always been an avid reader of history I suggested we visit the concentration camp memorial at Dachau, just northwest of the city. We drove up to the camp on a warm, sunny spring day and pulled into the lot, only to discover that the memorial was closed on Mondays. A little disappointed, but with a beautiful day still in front of us, we headed back down into Munich and, with beer and bratwurst to be had, Dachau was soon all but forgotten. Read More