Meet the spermophilus—you may already know it

I met a spermophilus in our backyard the other day; literally, “seed eater.” A thirteen-striped ground squirrel, also called a thirteen-liner, among other names. The tiny mammal scampered back and forth between a hiding spot beside three ceramic frogs and the seed-strewn area under the birdfeeder. I wandered over as …

Simple words for a complicated world

One day, God willing and should the earth last so long, our grandchildren will tell their children that they lived through COVID-19, just as elderly survivors of other pandemics and deadly diseases, have spoken of it to their children and grandchildren. Stories of hardship, of fear and faith and frailty. …

Ancient words for a new crisis

 An embarrassing truth confronts us all. We first-world emperors have no clothes after all. Reassurances of our own lordship, the thoughts that have clothed most of us for most of our lives (we are what we make of ourselves, unconquerable, masters of our own destiny, no God necessary) have toppled …

Jesus took our punishment – but sin’s consequences are our own

“Nana,” my youngest grandbean started, as he, his sister and I sat enjoying lunch together. He followed that with a question that stopped my fork mid-air. My mind flew back to the day before, to a matter I thought finished. But clearly, the little chap had a cog blocking one …

Not all of us have lost the gentle art of kindness

“Since the takeover by ‘smart’ technology,” I heard an authority on human behavior say recently in an interview, “the quality of kindness is now perceived as being indicative of a weak personality.” The man gave examples that seemed to prove his statement. He followed that by saying that our smart devices …

Merry Christmas – or Happy Holidays?

I’m sorry. That’s all I can say to those who feel the joy has been sucked from their Christmas because they’ve encountered less-than-charitable Christians who stridently insist everyone use the phrase “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays.” What disturbs me most about that is that from what I’ve observed, the …