Category Archive : Faith

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

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

Racist

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

I Won The Lottery!

I won the lottery!

No, not the Powerball and not any of the other lotteries that are played in supermarkets and convenience stores all over the country. 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

Imagine

Imagine.

Imagine living with the certainty that you are fully and completely loved.

Imagine living without any doubt about your worthiness.

Imagine living know you are not only acceptable and accepted but cherished.

Imagine living with the certainty that when hard times come, and they will, that you will be consoled, supported and healed.

Imagine knowing that all of this is true, not because you did anything in particular to earn it but is true simply because you are.

Just because you are. Read More

FOMO

FOMO.

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

Story Of Us All

“My assumption is that the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.”

— Frederick Buechner, “The Sacred Journey”

I believe

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge,

that myth is more potent than history.

I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts,

that hope always triumphs over experience,

that laughter is the only cure for grief.

And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

— Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”

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

Content

I still remember well sitting on our couch, the Sears catalog on my lap, turning page after page and circling all of the items I wanted for Christmas that year.

I remember the anticipation.

I remember the eagerness. Read More

Homework

A few nights ago I was helping my son with his math homework. It had a lot of fractions and word problems and he was really struggling with it. The frustration was building and it was beginning to boil over into tears, anger and expressions of “I’ll never get this -maybe I’m just dumb!” and “It’s not fair – why is my teacher being so mean?”. As we worked through it I could hear underneath all of that a message of “maybe I’m just not good enough” and a sense of remorse for not being able to get past the emotions and just focus on the task. I’ve been on this planet long enough to know that this is nothing unusual – I can recall having many similar episodes when I was in school as a boy, particularly with algebra or chemistry homework. 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

Freely Given

Freely given.

That’s the thought that’s been tumbling around in my head for the last couple of weeks.

Freely given. Read More

Prepared

I was prepared.

In 1992, when I was 24 years old, I could take apart, reassemble and do a function check on a Colt M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol in less than 45 seconds.

I was prepared.

I had qualified as an Expert shot every time I went to the range with the Army, even knocking down my targets while wearing a gas mask. When I pointed a pistol at targets they went down. 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

Farts

I can’t believe I’m going to write a blog about farts, but I’m going to because I can’t get this thought out of my head.

My mother once told me that I could fart sunshine. Read More

Imagination

A few nights ago my youngest son was in tears.

I laid down on his bed with him and asked him what was going on and he told me that he’d been thinking that the next time he visited the dentist the dentist would cut out all his teeth. Read More

Good News

When I was a young boy we went to a Methodist church in Phoenix, Arizona every Sunday. And although we were there Sunday after Sunday, pretty much every week, without exception, I can’t tell you with any certainty anything the minister ever said except for a joke he told one day:

“What do you get when you cross a Methodist with a Jehovah’s Witness?” Read More

Division and Faith

25 years ago a white Army van dropped me off on the corner of Division and Faith.

I was 25 years old and had just come on Active Duty with the military after experiencing the most difficult year of my life. In the previous year I’d lost my father, a marriage and my job and I was looking for a fresh start. A new direction. A rebirth. Read More

The T On Top

A few months ago my son and I were driving somewhere and he suddenly asked me “why are there so many buildings with the letter “t” on the roof?”. 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

Shit.

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

Serb or Croat?

“Are you a Serb or a Croat?”

“What?” Read More

See The “C”

Fred Astaire once sang about joining the Navy to see the world, but what did he see? He saw the sea. Read More

Silent Night

When I think of the Christmases of my youth there are few presents I can remember receiving. A gallon of pickles when I was about 10 or 11, because I really loved pickles. A remote controlled airplane that I crashed and destroyed on the playground of my elementary school on its first flight. An electric typewriter, when I was 15 or 16, which I learned to type on while listening to a cassette tape of Sting singing “We Work the Black Seam Together”. To this day, if I’m really in the groove, I type to the tempo of that song. 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

Cathedral

When I was 10 or 11 years old my Uncle Frank gave me a book titled “Cathedral”.  It was an illustrated book, mainly, but the story that ran through it was about a fictional town in the 12th century that elected to build a new cathedral after their existing church had burned down.  In this age this was no small decision: a building as large and as expensive as a cathedral could take over 100 years to construct, meaning that those who initiated the project were highly unlikely to see the finished product.  What motivated them, then?  Certainly not personal glory or fortune, as those rewards would not come in their lifetimes.  Prestige for their town?  Perhaps, but even that boast could not be claimed for many, many years, if at all.  So just what would move a community to pitch in and undertake a difficult, costly goal with the payoff a century away? Read More