Monthly Archives: January 2022

Practicing the Little Things

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Two minutes into US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger III suddenly had quite a lot on his mind. His A320, having departed New York’s LaGuardia Airport on its way to Charlotte, NC, had just ploughed into a flock of Canada Geese.  Almost instantaneously, both engines lost power.  At that point the plane was above the Bronx, one of… Read more »

Hope in the Midst of Failure

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You have to feel for Carson Wentz.  The Indianapolis Colts are paying him millions of dollars.  He has sufficiently elite skills to be one of only 32 athletes who will regularly start at quarterback for an NFL team next fall.  Just six years ago he was drafted second overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.  Scouts and general managers couldn’t say enough… Read more »

The Watchers

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A dozen years ago, the authors of a popular blog in the state of Oklahoma took a poll: “Who is the most powerful person in our state?” Jesus came in second – a rather surprising outcome, given that Oklahoma is widely regarded as the buckle on the Bible Belt. Chief meteorologist Gary England of KWTV, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma… Read more »

Rituals of Grace

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I began to tie my own necktie when I was a teenager.  From the start, it seemed maddeningly difficult.  Unnatural.  I felt clumsy.  Do I really have to learn how to do this?  Over time, however – and lots of practice – things changed.  Tie-tying became something I could do without even thinking.  In fact, if I had to explain… Read more »

Laughing at the Devil

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Some subjects are just too painful, too controversial, or too recent to make people laugh. Surely Adolph Hitler is near the top of that list. But that didn’t stop actor and director Mel Brooks from satirizing Nazi Germany just 22 years after the collapse of the Third Reich at the end of World War II. In his 1967 movie The… Read more »

Just Be There

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Year ago I heard a presentation called “What Not to Say at a Funeral.”  In the presence of someone else’s grief and pain, so often we feel compelled to say something – anything – that will help make sense of the mystery of this loss.  We want to make the moment easier.  But the following statements are almost guaranteed to… Read more »


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McDonald’s is amazing.  The chain with the golden arches has been presenting itself as the world’s greatest happiness provider for almost 80 years now. The original McDonald’s restaurant – owned by brothers Dick and “Mac” McDonald – opened in San Bernardino, California.  The brothers originally sold hot dogs.  When they switched to burgers, fries, and shakes (and pieces of pie),… Read more »

Imperfect But Loved

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On Memorial Day 1933 the world awaited news of the winner of the Indianapolis “500.” Television was, of course, still years away, as was live radio coverage of the race.  The results of key sporting events typically went out to the nation’s newspapers via teletype.  In the hamlet of Walsenburg, Colorado, the editor of The World-Independent newspaper had taken the… Read more »


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Almost 70 years ago, when James Watson and Francis Crick unraveled the mystery of DNA’s double helix, scientists appeared to have wonder on the run. Men and women in white coats were rapidly eliminating the element of mystery from physics and biology. But wonder, far from being on any kind of “endangered sensations” list, is making a comeback.  A case… Read more »

Surprised by Grace

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Harvey Penick literally wrote the book on golf. Throughout his life, he never aspired to be an author.  He simply loved everything that goes with hitting the little white ball.  Born in Texas in 1902, Penick began to caddie at the Austin Country Club at the age of eight.  By the time he turned 13 he had been elevated to… Read more »