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Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers

On a nearby state road, there was a billboard from one of the golf courses in town that said, "When was the last time you tried something for the first time?" The implication, of course, is that you should try golf.
January 31, 2016
I started with the best of intentions. We all did. My seminary classmates and I absorbed a great deal of advice from—where else?—an older generation of pastors, and then we did our best to follow that advice, working long hours, honing our pastoral skills, sometimes even receiving additional and impressive-sounding degrees.
January 28, 2016
Thirty years ago this morning, the space shuttle Challenger exploded. I happened to be in a car and heard the news on the radio. It wasn't until hours later that I saw the footage. I was not a fan of President Reagan, but he had some leadership skills that I've come to admire. 
January 27, 2016
On a brutally cold and foggy Friday afternoon, our local sponsorship group welcomed our new Syrian friends to our city in Canada. Several times as I was driving them from the airport to the home we had prepared for them, I wondered what must have going through their minds as they looked out on the frosty white scenes that greeted them. Have they dropped us off at the North Pole?! I couldn’t ask them what they were thinking, of course, because I speak zero Arabic and they speak next to no English.
January 24, 2016
The Gospel according to Luke has its distinct features: the storybook birth narrative; the poetic songs of Zechariah, Mary, and Simeon; and the heart-warming parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. In this Sunday's lectionary reading (Luke 4:14–21), however, we get to the heart of the matter and hear what truly makes Luke distinct: a Jesus whose focus is salvation for those in need. Only Luke gives us this encounter, in which Jesus chooses for himself a scripture passage that defines his ministry.
January 20, 2016
Even our small city has its share of violent incidents requiring a forceful response from police. Maybe we’ve been lucky, or maybe being in a small city makes a difference, or maybe our police and sheriff departments are well-trained and well-disciplined. Whatever the reason, we have not had to face questions about whether the police were justified in using deadly force. Recently an armed man with a history of violence sent a text to another household that he was on the way to kill them.
January 18, 2016