PaPa Had the Best Laugh!

PaPa had the best laugh. Strong. Chesty. A roar of joy, which widened eyes, and turned heads. Filled a room. As family lore goes, PaPa had suffered a terrible loss, but never talked about it. He was fond of saying, however,  ‘one laughs well, who has wept long.’ This is a story of laughter. PaPa’s farm…

Forty Days, Eighty prayers, One God, At a burning Bush

Discipline in the Christian life is tricky, because the fuel for it can fall on the side of either legalism, or infatuation. Legalism doesn’t end well, because the gas for the journey is our own determination. Infatuation is short lived, too, because it depends on bursts of inspiration, which hardly ever come long enough, or…

Those Hands…

By any standard, my father has large hands. Growing up, I watched him use those hands in construction. Whenever I shook them, which was rare, my own would be engulfed entirely by callous and scar. His mason hands never saw the inside of a glove. They are a memory to me, those large hands, because…

Dear ‘Jeremiah,’

It didn’t surprise me that you asked my advice during our final meeting. You’re teachable, which I pray you never lose. While I mulled your question, I looked into your eyes. Some call them windows, and if so then God has used a squeegee on yours. I saw nothing but clarity, nothing but expectation and…

Cold Blooded Courage

Cold-blooded courage is in short supply. When we see it in others it moves us off our smug pedestal, and brings us face to face with God. Recently, I met a man whose 17 year-old fought a gallant battle with a rare cancer. In a video of her testimony, she makes light of her wig…

Backwater Steeples

Backwater steeples in a broken town; Cities on a hill falling down; What used to be… Glistening paint, the dazzle of brilliance… …a peace upon the cobbled stones, resting under boots of war. The smell of bakeries, wisps of divine presence in holy places, how it greeted and escorted faithful up the stair case to…

Backwash of Grace

It all played out while I was in the womb. My parents were living in a trailer in Chester New Jersey, on Van Allen’s farm. But the town didn’t like it, because it was violating a zoning ordinance. My father, a very soft spoken, humble and pliable man had to go down to the town…

God’s Love Coming Back

In the novel, The Gift, Pete Hamill ends the story by saying, “I hadn’t received much for Christmas in any ordinary way; but my father loved me back, and there was no other gift I wanted.” For the first time that December, the son on leave from boot-camp, risked entering his father’s sanctuary (a bar)….

Nine Words to Live By

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 Could there be any nine words we need to hear more? “But Jesus”—we need to realize that taking cues from Jesus will have us swimming up stream. Everyone was clamoring for a piece of Him, yet He took paddle in hand, and did the…

Star Face

The evangelism in the park seemed so natural, so full of unexpected interest, and heart to heart connections. I met Star Face, given the name after he got drunk one night and woke up with a giant star tattooed on his cheek. We talked about his other body art, piercings and the general discomfort he…