October, 2016

Relationship or Religion?

Relationship or Religion?

My best friend in the world, from ages eight to eighteen (except for three long months), was Mark Maxam. Inseparable companions, we walked to school together, slept over on weekends, jumped off church roofs together, and shared every conceivable secret.   We also wrestled. One day, when I was ten, Mark put me in a scissor-lock that I couldn’t break. So, I bit him. He released me with the...

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I Wonder if Our Agendas Crucify the Life of God Within Us

I Wonder if Our Agendas Crucify the Life of God Within Us

Seven years ago I met a mother in anguish because her smart, capable son was living in an abandoned house, playing reggae music on the streets, and panhandling when the busking money fell short. He bathed irregularly and communicated inconsistently.   After he graduated from high school, his mom enrolled him at Stanford while he took the summer off to hitchhike around America. He called...

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The Riddle of the Psalms

The Riddle of the Psalms

For the last forty years, my prayer time has started with the Psalms. And for forty years they have alternately given me hope and then pulled that rug of hope from beneath me. They make great promises, but when I pray them with honest self-reflection, the promises fade away.   Look at the hopeful assurances offered: Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. (Ps. 27:3) The...

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Underestimating the Power of Our Lives

Underestimating the Power of Our Lives

The city of Los Angeles hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics. The world was watching what the entertainment capital of the world would do with the opening and closing ceremonies. During this time, I was running a gymnastics center in the L.A. area. The choreographers came to our gym asking if we had adult male gymnasts who could perform in the opening ceremonies. We had the gymnasts, and because of...

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Beware of Smiling Crocodiles

Beware of Smiling Crocodiles

I recently met with a three friends to discuss a Saturday event we were hosting. I thought a previous decision was a spiritual mistake, and I pleaded that we reconsider. Not only did I plead, I urged and pushed, and then I rammed my point home with a metaphorical baseball bat.   My counsel, intensity, and insistence backed them into a corner. And it all backfired. I’ve always pictured my...

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