The Time I Watched a Blind Man Cry

Sunday morning I was sitting on the front row of one of our Gatherings at Midtown. My friend Jon Ludovina was teaching on the passage from Luke 7 where John the Baptist is in jail about to be beheaded, and he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He’s the  Messiah. (Translation: “If you’re the Messiah, you’re gonna bust me out of jail, right?”) Jesus responds by quoting a passage from Isaiah 61: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead […]

What I’ve Learned from Being a Parent So Far

On vacation at Seabrook Island last summer, Kristi looked at me and said, “I think I need to go get a pregnancy test.” Which was a surprise to both of us, seeing that we weren’t doing what the doctor told us we’d need to do to get pregnant. On the way back from CVS, tears started to flow. “I think I just started my period.” We wanted to do the test anyway, and after dual blue lines showed up three times in a row, we were beside ourselves. The rest of the day was a blur. The next morning, I […]

On Pink Socks & Having a Little Girl

We had some complications early on in our pregnancy that caused us to get some very early ultrasounds to make sure things were okay. On one of those early ultrasounds, our doctor said not to quote her on it, but that she was pretty sure we were having a little boy. So we took that to the bank, picked out a little boy name, and were already growing attached to a blonde-headed little munchkin running around our house. So imagine our surprise a month later, (when getting another ultrasound) when the nurse asked whether we wanted to know the sex […]

There Are Kids In the River…Thoughts from El Salvador

I’m flying over El Salvador on my way back to the States. The beach is below, waves crawling to the shore. Not far beyond are rolling green mountains, clouds perched above them. No doubt there is a mother somewhere in that shadow walking out of her shanty, wiping the sweat off her forehead, saying “Gracias” in her mind for a welcome breeze. There are kids below that cloud, still young and eyes full of hope. They run out of their small cinder block hut, maybe to fetch something for their Mama or to kick a deflated soccer ball. They do […]

Frederick Buechner On Preaching & Writing

I love these words from Frederick Buechner on preaching & writing. On preaching: X + Y = Z. IF YOU know the value of one of the letters, you know something. If you know the value of two, you can probably figure out the whole thing. If you don’t know the value of any, you don’t know much. Preachers tend to forget this. “Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and be saved from your sins,” or something like that, has meaning and power and relevance only if the congregation has some notion of what, humanly speaking, sin […]

A Few Reminders for Christian College Football Fans

Do you hear the faint sounds of marching bands filling the air in your town? I heard that familiar drumbeat the other day walking through town and I almost jumped in the air and clicked my heels. I sure hope you’ve heard it, because like holiday bells, that will be your cue that the greatest time of year has officially arrived. It’s football season, friends. College football season, to be exact. Yeah I know that thing they call the NFL is supposedly coming back on, but whatever. I’m talking about Saturdays, about Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler and waking up […]

Those Camoflauged Mercies

Sometimes the things we want are not really what we want. That is a truth that, should you put it in your pipe and smoke it, would change your life. I’m a bit of a redneck at heart, so…Garth Brooks, of course. In college Kristi and I would ride around in my Jeep listening to him, and I’d tell her how much I loved the song “Unanswered Prayers”. She said it was stupid, that there’s no such thing as an unanswered prayer, that just because the answer was no doesn’t mean it wasn’t answered. I told her she was right […]

Please Meet Frederick Beuchner

About a year ago I stumbled upon Frederick Beuchner’s writing. I read his Telling the Truth: the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, & Fairy Tale and was floored by it. He is, I believe, one of the most talented writers I have ever read. He can surprise with words and get past your natural defenses to not hear or see the familiar in a remarkable way. If you’ve never read him, I wanted to introduce you to him in hopes that you’ll be as blessed by his writing as I have. I have not agreed with all that I’ve read, but […]

Mute (Flash Fiction Friday)

Sippanont Samchai via Compfight It took me four hours to work up the courage, and another 30 minutes to find my phone. My mind these days, I swear. My fingers are sweating, but I manage to punch in the number. I swallow a lump and, after a deep breath, work up the courage to hit the last digit. The number four completes the first leg of my impossible journey, and it’s out of my control now. My breath leaves me. One ring. I bite my bottom lip. Two rings. I start to feel my pulse in my throat. Three rings. […]

The Grace of God and a Friend Named Thor

Several years back, I got an email. From a guy named Thor. And I was like, “No way, that’s the coolest name ever.” So we met up for coffee at Immaculate Consumption, and I soon discovered that he was as cool as his name. He told me his story and we became friends instantly. He spoke of his experiences around the world, of the lacking theology of suffering in the American church, and of the pearl of great price. If North Koreans he had known could joyfully be frozen to death because of their faith in Jesus, can’t we face […]