A Circus Comes to Town

I went to a circus once. The traveling extravaganza brought their big tent to our small town of about 2,500 and afforded me several priceless first-time experiences, like animals I had never seen. Our little family farm had been home to a variety of commonplace livestock – cows, pigs, chickens, and a couple of horses. We had a goose once, but it bit my grandma on the tender part of the back of her leg so she cooked it for Sunday dinner. Anyhow, in spite of my time around a barn, I had never seen anything like an elephant, much less be close enough to smell it. Smelling a live elephant is a pretty big deal for a small town guy who’s about to become a teenager. I couldn’t wait to Continue reading

Posted in Faith and Politics, Faith, Family, and Culture, In the News, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Emojis Don’t Say It All

Have you noticed how our language seems to be devolving into a pictographic system? Our native language is being reduced to a rapidly expanding collection of symbols that are morphing into a unique language all its own. Signs at busy downtown intersections used to have words on them. Now they have little humanoid images of a guy walking when it’s safe to cross the street, and when it’s not, the little guy gets a big red circle around him with a crossbar through it–no reading skills needed.

Symbols offer an efficient way to communicate and their use has expanded to embrace much more than traffic safety. The exploding practice of symbolic communication has been fueled by Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, and Culture, Humor Turned to Insight, Insights, Right Side Up | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Jesus ~ Vs. Our Five Basic Fears

There were two diving boards on the platform of our county’s only public “swimming hole,” a place I only got to visit two or three times a year. At the relentless urging of a couple of my friends, I found myself standing at the outside edge of the “high” board – “high” being about 7 or 8 feet above the semi-brownish lake below. The high board didn’t look so high from down there in the water, but the view got more imposing with every step up the ladder. By the time I got to the top, my pudgy 13-year-old body was on the verge of visibly trembling. I’d heard that just before you die, Continue reading

Posted in Devotional, Faith, Family, and Culture, Forgiveness, Humor Turned to Insight, In the News, Insights, Right Side Up | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Putting the Brakes on Poetic License

I love Christian music. Well… perhaps I should rephrase that. I love most Christian music. Music that extols and celebrates the grace and truth that Jesus personified generates gratitude and praise, but there are challenges involved in translating the Word of God into modern musical terms. Music is a language all its own, and adjustments are often considered necessary to keep the message within the constraints that musical expression requires. Those adjustments are referred to as “poetic license.”

Producers Make Changes ~
Poetic license purportedly grants the artist extensive freedom to change things around in order to offer the original version in a different context. For instance, if Continue reading

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Freedom ~ A Living Word, Especially When Spoken with a Dying Breath

When the William Wallace character in the movie, Braveheart, was about to be executed, his heart reached out to gather once again all the love it had for his native land and its people. Then he filled his tortured lungs one last time, and everything that made him who he was emptied itself as he thundered out a single explosive word, “FREEDOM!” It was the most powerfully moving and Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, and Culture, Insights, July 4 - Independence Day, Right Side Up | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Dangerous Deception of Doubt

As a youngster, I had a passionate love for my grandma’s gravy, whether it was her sausage gravy in the morning or the gravy she created to go over my small mountain of mashed potatoes. Truth is, she didn’t create much of anything in her kitchen that I didn’t want to be first in line to get, and in spite of my active life, I was a chubby little guy. I hated it when I had to sit down with her to order jeans from the latest edition of the Sears & Roebuck catalog. She’d always pat me on the leg and say, Continue reading

Posted in Devotional, Faith, Family, and Culture, Forgiveness, Humor Turned to Insight, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , | 6 Comments