Tuesday, April 24, 2012

**NEW FEATURE**: What's going on in this picture?

In this edition of "What's happening in this picture?" we are going to disect the cover photo from The Teen's Topical Bible.

The year is 1990, a group of teenagers gather in a park after school lets out to talk about the day's events and discuss the sort of problems that only teens face. Just before this photo was taken... (What's going in this picture?)

Saturday, April 14, 2012


The barbed wire fence behind the house marked the very boundary of civilization to the boy who was sitting atop the shed drinking a Dr. Pepper. He was at that age where his Mom would not let him cross the street without holding her hand but still old enough to sneak a Dr. Pepper and climb up on top of a shed. For as long as he could remember the far side of the fence had been forbidden, and like all forbidden things it held a certain fascination for him.

The boy quickly drained the rest of his soda and tossed the empty into the tall grass below. Then he sat with his arms crossed on top of his knees peering off into the distance. Beyond the fence the fields rolled away to the distant tree line, and beyond that the forest rolled away to the very lip of the horizon where the curvature of the earth swallowed it up. Although he would not have framed his thoughts with such a phrase as “immense solitudes” he had a sense that this was what lay in the land beyond the fence. He felt drawn to it.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Today I read an article about a physicist who successfully argued his way out of a ticket for rolling through a stop sign by submitting a four page document which proved to the court's satisfaction that the officer who had issued the ticket had made an error. He blinded them with science!

I also read about Vermont's Governor, Peter Shumlin (D), who is apparently trying to keep up with fellow democrat Corey Booker's heroics. Way to make Vermonter's proud, Shumlin! We all know how Rick Perry would have handled this situation if he were the Governor of Vermont. He would have sent that bear wherever bears go!


This weekend we are hosting about 100 ladies here at Camp Maranatha where I live and work. The forecast is calling for a foot or so of snow between now and tomorrow morning. In fact, as I type snow is whispering against the window and settling quietly in the woods round about. It's pretty and all, but c'mon this is April! We get strange weather here in the mountains. It's just a forty minute drive to flip-flops and palm trees, but here in Idyllwild smoke is curling from chimneys and people are adding hot cocoa to their grocery lists.

This morning I stepped out at 7:30 to turn on heaters in the rooms where our guests will be staying, and as I walked through a corridor along the backside of the Oak Lodge's bottom floor I met a coyote who rounded the corner ahead of me. He was loping along quite confidently and advanced to within eight feet of me before suddenly becoming aware of my presence. Then it did the funniest thing I think I'll probably ever see a coyote do; first it crouched down with its front paws splayed out, ready to dodge if I lunged at it (which was the very last thing I would ever think of doing), its yellow eyes were all wild with fear, and it made a kind of yowling sound. Of course, I stopped dead in my tracks  as soon as I saw it and called out "Hey there big fella!" which I am sure you'll agree was kind of a weird thing to say under the cirsumstances. I wonder if the coyote's yowling noise would be considered equally bizarre among the coyote kind. To the coyote's left was a six foot tall retaining wall, and beyond that a slope which led up to a road which runs along the Oak Lodge's second story. At first I thought the coyote might go all Taylor MItchell on me, but then it surprised me by trying to jump up over the wall. It failed miserably and ended up landing awkwardly on it's behind before skedaddling back around the corner the way it had come.

My encounter with the coyote left my heart threatening to pound right out of my chest and I felt tingly all over, but still I had the presence of mind to shout after the coyote, "Don't be a stranger now!"  and a second later "Talktoyoulater!"

Friday, April 6, 2012


Occasionally I will happen upon a show on TV which seeks to explain through science miracles described in the Bible. I have suffered through portions of such science-based explanations of the parting of the red sea, the destruction of Sodom, and even the resurrection of Jesus. Most recently I watched a portion of a show about the Ark of the covenant, which was portrayed as some sort of ancient weapon of mass destruction. The narrator asked, "...but how did it work?" as though the secret could be found in its design or component parts. Different possibilities were explored by various scholars including one theory that Moses placed something radioactive inside the ark and another that the chafing of the wool cloth against the gold-plated ark generated dangerous amounts of static elctricity which was unleashed at various times. This was their explanation for the death of Uzza, who famously reached out to steady the ark as it was being improperly transported, and was truck dead on the spot. ZAP! It was the static electricity that did it! Nowhere was the possibility of the Divine attributed to the ark as the source of its power. It was painful to watch and I eventually changed the channel.  I'm not opposed to science. I believe that science and worship are friends that do not need to be reconciled, but the world seems determined to turn these two friends against one another. It's troubling to watch.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


"Humility is best defined as knowing who God is and who you are in relationship to Him."

Monday, April 2, 2012


I'll be speaking at Idyllwild Bible Church on April 29th at 9 and 10:45 am! Look out!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


You may interested to know that I recently authored two letters. The first was a brief but stinging missive to Subway Corp. recanting the content of an earlier letter in which I enthusiastically praised their eatery. Why the turnabout? Well, Kwik Market and Delicatessan at the intersection of Roxford and San Fernando Road in the the fair hamlet of Sylmar, CA has stolen my heart with their product, which is decidely delicious in a superior sort of way. In fact, their sandwiches are so mighty in taste that I can't help but look on Subway's feeble efforts as weighed, weighed and found wanting. Consequently, the second letter will be dispatched with all due haste to the good people down at Kwik Market so that I may communicate the fullness of my appreciation for their superior product which makes all other sandwiches appear shabby, limp, inferior, and, frankly, inedible.

To my readers in the greater Los Angeles area I implore you to do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a Kwik Market sub at the earliest opportunity. You will not be disappointed.
The center of the lake remained frozen over, but a swath of open water, maybe thirty feet wide, ran along the ragged shoreline. As I paddled north, away from the house, chunks of ice and patches of slush crashed against the row boat's bow and whispered along the boat's sides. The channel of open water eventually narrowed forcing me to turn around, but as I turned my boat I noticed an abandoned fishing shanty, about a hundred yards out, slowly tipping over as the underlying ice shifted. It landed with a splash and crash. A gaggle of alarmed Canada geese, which had been gathered a short distance away, labored into the air with much honking, and winged their way a mile or so further up the lake before coming back down on the ice. I smiled on the scene. You would have too.