• Fred's Blog

    Simone's Maxims

    I like to read just about anything but when a friend sent me an article titled “Understanding Academic Medical Centers: Simone’s Maxims I thought that might be more than I could stretch. However I looked at it and discovered any number of principles and maxims that are useful in almost every field. These are not just truisms or material for motivational posters. They are thought provoking learnings from the experience of a seasoned medical director. I want to encourage you to read a few and then go to Joseph Simone’s site and get the original which was presented at Medical Grand Rounds at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas.…

  • Fred's Blog

    A Three Pound Trout On A Two Pound Line

    The only time I went fishing with my father – and the only time I’ve been fishing in my life – I was nine years old and we were staying for two nights in Camden, Maine. It was handline fishing from a boat rocking in a small storm on a cold day. Everyone was sick and all I remember is the repeated advice “You’ve hooked him now yank him!” Even though I’ve never been fishing since but I’ve read several books on fly-fishing and consider it an art. One of the best books I’ve read is by Howell Raines titled “Fly Fishing Through The Midlife Crisis.” Raines describes the difference…

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  • Fred's Blog

    Wrestling With Succession

    I’ve probably thought far more about succession than I thought about starting two organizations. The ideas and the opportunities came and it was just a matter of acting on them and getting started. One of my favorite pictures is one of sitting in our breakfast room at home with my then assistant Jan Hommel two days after we started Fourth Partner and The Gathering. We moved the dishes out of the way to get the shot. Now closing on 20 years later I would love to handle succession as easily! Today I taught on succession and realized a couple of things I had not noticed before. They helped me and…

  • Bible Studies

    1 Samuel 1:1-19: Hannah’s Prayer

    1. Establish the characters Penninah – unbearable – year after year, relentless Elkanah – loving, accepting, bewildered Eli – failed priest with wicked sons to follow him Hannah – years of pain, grieving, bitter soul Many biblical characters live for years with unrelieved pain. Jacob and Leah. Sarah and Hagar. Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children or I’ll die.” 2. What was their relationship with each other? Hannah and Penninah: Rivals. One has his children and the other his love. Elkanah and Hannah: Love without knowledge or understanding of Hannah Eli and Hannah: A priest with great sorrow and a woman with great grief. His pain is his children…

  • Talks

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Womenary Winterlude

    1. In many ways, this is the story of two men – not one. It is the story of two men who personified the best and worst traits of Germans in particular but humankind in general. They are illustrations of the finest and the most fiendish of the German soul and the one thing they had most in common was the fate of the Jews. They began at opposite ends of a spectrum but met – no, collided – at the intersection of the treatment of the Jews. Hitler’s adult life was completely dedicated to the extermination of the Jewish race and Bonhoeffer’s life became focused on his mission to save…

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  • Fred's Blog

    Keeping It All In Perspective

    Our youngest daughter spent a semester at The University of Florence in Italy a few years ago so Carol and I took the opportunity to visit her for a few days. I had not been back to Florence in 30 years and was looking forward to seeing it through my daughter’s eyes this time. One day while she and Carol headed out to shop Haley encouraged me to visit the Basilica of Santa Croce and then sit in the piazza reading. It was early and the stone interior was still cold but the morning light streaming through the windows and the virtual absence of any visitors made it my private…

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  • Fred's Blog

    Friends Not Trends

    Ten years ago I was asked to do a presentation on trends in religious philanthropy. That was the first version of “13 Trends in Christian Philanthropy” and it was the first time I had ever really thought about what I know from my experience with The Gathering. Over time, that piece opened up other opportunities for articles, speaking, consulting, and, frankly, I was pretty impressed with the number of hits it received on the website. After all, it was clear that people were interested in trends and a more global picture. Then, one day I went and analyzed the readership on the website and the invitations to speak. Where were…

  • Fred's Blog

    A Chance Encounter

    In 1972 I completed my service in the Navy and moved to Colorado to finish up my undergraduate degree at the University of Denver. I was shopping at Target for a writing lamp and found something I could afford – $3.99. Standing next to me was an older couple looking at the same lamp and it was we both realized the last one in stock. We knew there was going to be a discussion and it was just a matter of who would say something first. The woman asked me why I was interested in that particular lamp and I told her it would be perfect for the writing I…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Christian Industrial Complex

    Some blogs are diaries – personal revealing and making you feel you have been invited into the interior of the author’s life. Others are more like almanacs – filled with useful information and resources. Pointing you to other people and places. I’m more like the latter. But sometimes you can blend the two and I want to point you to a wonderful example of the diarist who draws you into the interior of his life. Such is the case here. This is a short excerpt from David Wayne (jollyblogger.wordpress.com) a pastor in Baltimore Maryland wrestling with God and cancer. “I have tried to play the good soldier in my battle…

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  • Fred's Blog

    "I'm as Good as You"

    The 16th chapter of Numbers is the account of the rebellion of the Levite Korah. While Korah is the instigator, he somehow manages to convince 250 of the leaders of Israel to join him. These are the men who are “famous” for their integrity and character. They were hand picked to help relieve Moses of the burdens of leadership. Yet, here they are attempting instead to relieve Moses and Aaron of their leadership entirely. What kind of deception was powerful enough to make the wisest, most-respected men in the nation join such an insurrection and with no sign of force or coercion? I’m teaching Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer: Pastor Prophet Spy…