Tilling Good Ground

As a college junior, she was a latecomer to my freshman English class. The subject of our discussion was the 2001 book Peace like a River by Leif Enger. Filled with allusions to the Bible, historic events, and Zane Grey westerns, the book has plenty of fodder for discussion in a college-level class.

What caught this particular student’s eye was a line that repeats throughout the text as the narrator/main character, an 11 year old boy, advises the reader to “make of it what you will.” The it he refers to is Christian faith, faith in the miraculous works that come only from God. The narrator isn’t pushy about faith. He simply unfolds the miracles and invites the reader to draw his own conclusions.

My student found that very appealing. She explained that she had rejected faith because it had always been a source of contention in her home. Her father had come from one denomination, her mother from another. They had never been able to find the peace that Christ offers and Enger depicts.

My experience growing up as the product of a ‘mixed marriage’ was quite different. Continue reading “Tilling Good Ground”

No Brotherly Love in Philadelphia

“True it is, They that are born of the flesh, hate and persecute them that are born of the spirit.” William Penn, Chapter One, VII~
His statue stands atop the great structure in the center of Philadelphia–City Hall. William Penn understood what many of us are just figuring out. The world will never understand nor appreciate our deeply held, uncompromising convictions.
And their disdain for our views trumps even the appearance of compassion. A voice of false compassion casts aside victims unrelated to its intended target.
The Daily Signal reports that days after making an urgent plea on behalf of 300 homeless orphans of the opioid crisis, Philadelphia ended its placement relationship with Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services. Because those agencies hold Christian convictions and will not place children with unmarried or LGBT couples, they can no longer place children at all.
In the Keystone State in 2015, more than half of the 16,000 kids in foster care had been removed from their homes because of “parental drug use.” Philadelphia ranks second in deaths by overdose out of 44 counties in the US with populations greater than one million.
The need is indeed great, and there are many, but not enough, ways to meet it. Continue reading “No Brotherly Love in Philadelphia”

Agony and Betrayal–Part One

They’re stories that have happened everywhere–and more often than we like to think.
In the 1990s, I was a radio news reporter. A huge story at the time was the Francis Luddy trial. Luddy had been a respected priest until someone accused him of sexual abuse and sued him. Luddy admitted that he had abused boys. But this particular boy, he said, “wasn’t my type.”
The jury didn’t believe Luddy. After all, if someone could abuse children, he could lie about it too. They called upon the local diocese to pay up.
Luddy’s victim died in 2012 at the age of 44. Few questions surround this case.
Such is not the case regarding Jerry Sandusky of nearby Nittany Valley–Penn State.
Despite Sandusky’s ongoing denials, too many believable accusers won their day in court.
A cloud of accusation and doubt encased the final days of beloved Coach Joe Paterno. But national news coverage of Sandusky has neglected what could be an important factor. Continue reading “Agony and Betrayal–Part One”

Election Update: Chicago Cubs still alive; the GOP, not so much

A few weeks ago, I pointed out that the Cubs could win the World Series for the first time in 108 years and that the presidential election had gotten crazy.
The Cubs are still in the chase. And the election is even crazier.
In Utah, a gentleman (You get to use that term so seldom today) named Evan McMullin is polling at 22 percent with both Clinton and Trump tied at 26. I didn’t know he existed two days ago–even after a pollster called to ask who I would vote for. Yesterday, I found out that, in that one state, he is at least close to the margin of error. Continue reading “Election Update: Chicago Cubs still alive; the GOP, not so much”

Shining Light on the Long, Dark March

“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Acts 17:6 ESV
As I teach rhetoric classes, it amazes me how much more I have to explain every year. College students know little or nothing of America’s founders. For nearly every speech or book we read, I have to provide more and more background information because they don’t know basic history. Who Patrick Henry was. What happened at the Alamo. How Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler and fantasized that he had secured “peace for our time.” Continue reading “Shining Light on the Long, Dark March”

Rome, ISIS, and the Prophetic False Church

Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
Yesterday I watched an online news report via CBN about refugees flooding into Europe from North Africa.* Men, women, and children, fleeing ISIS. Some have walked (walked!) across multiple countries to get to escape the terror. Many die in the journey.
The reactions of Europeans is mixed. Some responses mirror early civil rights protests in the 1960s in the American South in their violence toward the refugees. Hungary is building a wall on its border with Serbia to keep refugees out. Italy has built camps to accommodate the influx. Right wing parties hoping to stop the influx are growing all over Europe.
There is another reaction. There is admiration for the heroic quests of pregnant women. Envision another women “great with child” on a long journey.  There are mothers of newborns. Imagine giving birth during an escape and continuing onward. There are men with their wives and little children. Imagine trying to protect those you love the most. Continue reading “Rome, ISIS, and the Prophetic False Church”