The Main Actor

By |2019-10-03T07:53:28-04:00October 11th, 2019|

I once heard about a student taking a class in preaching at a prominent seminary. The student, a young man who was a bit full of himself, delivered his sermon with eloquence and evident passion. He sat down self-satisfied, and the professor paused a moment before responding. “That was a powerful sermon,” he said. “It was well organized and moving...

Walking Backward

By |2019-09-11T14:06:52-04:00September 7th, 2019|

I stumbled upon footage from a British newsreel crew who filmed six-year-old Flannery O’Connor on her family farm in 1932. Flannery, who would go on to become an acclaimed US writer, caught the crew’s curiosity because she’d taught a chicken to walk backward. Apart from the novelty of the feat, I thought this glimpse of history was a perfect metaphor...

Following the Leader

By |2018-12-19T15:15:22-04:00December 20th, 2018|

In the sky over our house, three fighter jets scream through the sky—flying in formation so close together they appear to be one. “Wow,” I say to my husband, Dan. “Impressive,” he agrees. We live near an Air Force base and it’s not unusual to see such sights. Every time these jets fly over, however, I have the same question: How can they fly so close together and not lose control? One obvious reason, I learned, is humility...

Asking for Help

By |2018-10-02T15:48:00-04:00October 3rd, 2018|

Her email arrived late in a long day. In truth, I didn’t open it. I was working overtime to help a family member manage his serious illness. I didn’t have time, therefore, for social distractions. The next morning, however, when I clicked on my friend’s message, I saw this question: “Can I help you in any way?” Feeling embarrassed, I started to answer no. Then I took a deep breath to pause. I noticed then that her question sounded familiar—if not divine...

The Right Way to Pray

By |2018-09-12T10:34:54-04:00September 16th, 2018|

I admire people who record prayer requests in journals tattered from daily handling, those who keep track of every prayer and praise and then faithfully update their lists. I’m inspired by those who gather with others to pray and whose kneeling wears out the carpet at their bedsides. For years, I tried to copy their styles, to emulate a perfect prayer life, and to imitate the eloquence of the so-much-more-articulate-than-me folks...

Humble Love

By |2018-06-01T12:56:13-04:00June 13th, 2018|

When Benjamin Franklin was a young man he made a list of twelve virtues he desired to grow in over the course of his life. He showed it to a friend, who suggested he add “humility” to it. Franklin liked the idea. He then added some guidelines to help him with each item on the list. Among Franklin’s thoughts about humility, he held up Jesus as an example to emulate...

Amnesia

By |2018-04-18T17:13:50-04:00April 25th, 2018|

Emergency Services in Carlsbad, California, came to the rescue of a woman with an Australian accent who couldn’t recall who she was. Because she was suffering from amnesia and had no ID with her, she was unable to provide her name or where she had come from. It took the help of doctors and international media to restore her health, tell her story, and reunite her with her family...

Basin of Love

By |2018-03-22T09:34:49-04:00March 29th, 2018|

One day in physics class many years ago, our teacher asked us to tell him—without turning around—what color the back wall of the classroom was. None of us could answer, for we hadn’t noticed. Sometimes we miss or overlook the “stuff” of life simply because we can’t take it all in. And sometimes we don’t see what’s been there all along...