Author Archives: admin

The Heady Strangeness of God’s Calling

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. —From the Christian scriptures, John 3:8   Last year, with no warning, my writing changed. For the previous […]

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When Your Church (or Hobby, or Club, or Country) Leaves You

This is a lament. Four years ago, Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) ran a story of mine called “When Your Church Leaves You.” The story reflected on situations—like the one in my own church at the time—when staying put in the midst of conflict might be the best choice. I should have known better. All […]

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If You Ever Wished You Could Quit the Human Race…

…join the crowd. I’d be happy to take a long hiatus from the current version of homo sapiens, because we’re a hot mess. The rage and hatred in the public square are becoming unbearable. As if that weren’t bad enough, I see this same spirit infecting other parts of our life together. Even in my […]

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Can Love Cast Out Fear?

Last week in this space, I suggested that most of us Americans—conservative and liberal, coastal and middle America, urban and rural—share a weird type of common ground: fear. We fear the white-hot public square, in which anything we do or say might incur wrath. We fear our leaders, our institutions, and our systems, often with […]

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The Weirdest Common Ground Ever

Many people are bemoaning America’s vicious public square. Few are discussing the weird common ground that most of us share—and what might be the best way to address it. Two recent conversations brought this into focus for me. The first—with a conservative Christian friend who reluctantly supported Donald Trump—fulfilled a longing I’ve had since the […]

Posted in Current Events, Dialogue and Civility, Dialogue and Current Events, Listening, Practical Steps Toward Dialogue | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

The Other Reason “Spotlight” Is Still Relevant Today

Every year my wife goes off on vacation, and I use the time to catch up on Oscar-winning movies from years past. This summer I saw maybe a half dozen, all of which were superbly made, one of which stood out: Spotlight. In case you haven’t seen it, Spotlight chronicles The Boston Globe’s investigation of […]

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Where Convictions and Friendship Collide

You’re talking with an old friend over coffee. At one point in the conversation, she uses a word that sets off every alarm bell in your head. Clearly she believes something you don’t believe at all. What do you do? Bill and I have been discussing God for decades. He is a Calvinist, a deep […]

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Summertime, and the Livin’ Ain’t Easy

Every single summer I do this. Most summers in my part of the world, the heat and humidity build up sometime in June and then just hang in the air until early September. Soon after the onset, I am journaling about my sense of lethargy, of drift, of wondering what I’m missing and where my […]

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The Second Step Toward Dialogue Is a Doozy

People ask me what my book is about. I tell them it’s about how to change from the inside out so you can talk with people who drive you nuts. They say, “Boy, do I know someone who could use your book.” That response always makes me laugh. So I’m reluctant to admit there’s a […]

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Do You Have Trouble Forgiving?

So do I. Maybe it’s because of the toxic family script I inhaled as a child: “Backmans never forgive.” Or maybe, being hypersensitive in general, I’m hypersensitive to “the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” In other words, I get hurt and it sticks. I do know that forgiveness is required […]

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