• Fred's Blog

    Once Burned Twice Shy

      There has only been one article written about The Gathering since we began in 1985 – and that one had a negative slant.  It was titled “Hush-Hush: What Makes Christian Philanthropy Christian?”  This was the opening paragraph: “Two years ago they gathered at the swank Four Seasons in Seattle. Last year they gathered in Cancun. Next week to the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia they will doubtless come again bringing their checkbooks with them for a Nov. 1 and 2 conference. ‘They’ are scores of wealthy believers looking for ways to use their earthly riches to advance the heavenly kingdom. In a good example of upper-class understatement their organization is called simply…

  • Fred's Blog

    Scrooge Repents

      I know you may be expecting me to write about the true meaning of Christmas today – but I'm not. Instead I am thinking about something more personal because I have never liked Christmas. For whatever reasons ” I have never found myself in the "Christmas spirit.” While I would not say I have been Scrooge” I have come close. In fact the whole period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year has seemed like an unnecessary drag on productivity. People don't return phone calls or start new projects. They go on vacation or leave early to shop and spend time with visiting family. I know part of…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Place Where Young People Go To Retire – Portland

      Every year we take small groups of Gathering participants on trips outside the country to visit work being done by people who are involved with The Gathering. Earlier this year we went to Cuba and decided we would do something inside the United States in December.  We had read about Portland through a series of articles in Christianity Today titled "This Is Your City" that had featured innovative cooperation of government corporate church and civic organizations. As one of the participants put it "This is what the church looks like in Babylon when it seeks the peace of a city in which it is in exile and not in…

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  • Fred's Blog

    The Second Act

      Some friends who have seen Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” have come away disappointed that the film did not emphasize his faith as much as they had hoped. To that objection Stephen Mansfield wrote an insightful review in USA Today: “The challenge is that Lincoln lived through widely differing stages in his journey of faith. There is always the temptation to see his entire religious life through the prism of only one of these stages. To do this means missing the grand tapestry of faith that Lincoln wove during years of spiritual struggle.” As I read the latest New Yorker article on Rob Bell titled “Hell-Raiser ” I wondered if the…