Highly Recommended: Verse Music

Highly Recommended: Verse Music

I am honored to know Callen Clarke and to count him among my closest friends. He is more talented than I can convey in a single post, but I hope this can be an introduction. One of his many talents, and one that continues to shape and encourage me, is his ability to convey beauty and story through music—whether it be through his symphonic pieces or worship songs written for individual instruments. Continue reading

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How the Son of Man Will Evaluate “All the Nations”

How the Son of Man Will Evaluate “All the Nations”

The story told by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 begins with this introduction:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25.31–32)

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“Let’s not let this attack be the primary source of our perspective”

“Let’s not let this attack be the primary source of our perspective”

My friend Rich Rosendahl has committed himself to connecting and sharing life with his refugee neighbors in Des Moines, Iowa, and he works full time training others in his context and around the U.S. to do the same.  He is the founder of The Nations, an organization that facilitates individual and corporate engagement with refugee communities.  Rich has worked with refugees both here in the U.S. and in the Middle East (in Jordan, in Tunisia on the Libyan border, and Palestine); and he has also worked in Iraq facilitating peace initiatives among divided groups and tribes there.  Issues and facts related to refugees here in the U.S. and abroad are not theoretical for Rich:  he knows them firsthand.

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I’m Pretty Certain It Would Have Been A Different Story

I’m Pretty Certain It Would Have Been A Different Story

‘Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”’ (Luke 14.12–14 NIV)

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Pew Research: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back

Pew Research: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back

This report is not surprising, but re-affirms the trends that we have been witnessing since the early 1990’s.   As the report states:

“By the end of the 1990s, 14% of the public claimed no religious affiliation. The rate of religious change accelerated further during the late 2000s and early 2010s, reaching 20% by 2012. Today, one-quarter (25%) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest “religious group” in the U.S.” (page 2)

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Fear, Wisdom, and Love (a post from November 2015)

Fear, Wisdom, and Love (a post from November 2015)

I told someone a few weeks ago that we could probably expect an increase in extremist attacks outside of the Middle East, and that, unfortunately, there would likely be attacks tied to refugees from Syria. Already, as I said it, there was the growing rumble of fear here in the U.S. regarding refugees, and my own concern was that if/when an attack happened that was connected with refugees, that it would feed such fear and even turn it into anger and hatred. Now we find that such an event has occurred in France. Continue reading

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Some Post-Election Thoughts

Some Post-Election Thoughts

1. The Electoral College

The electoral college is not better or worse than a pure majority election. It is simply a different form of democracy. Both forms (popular vote or electoral college) have pros and cons. Our system is a Republic, set up on state-based representation (were are the “United States”). Continue reading

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