• Fred's Blog

    The Blessed Burden of Uncertainty

    Years ago I taught Crime and Punishment to high school seniors and the main character Raskolnikov describes the moment before he murdered the pawnbroker: “I saw clear as daylight how strange it is that not a single person living in this mad world has had the daring to go straight for it all and send it flying to the devil! I…I wanted to have the daring…and I killed her.” Scholars who study fundamentalism describe the process that moves a person wrestling with internal conflict to a sense of clarity that can sometimes be lethal. When everything that was confusing – even contradictory – is suddenly clear, there is a rush of…

    Comments Off on The Blessed Burden of Uncertainty
  • Fred's Blog

    The Idol of Ambition

    Brennan Manning the author of “The Ragamuffin Gospel ” died this week after many years of declining health. We never met and unlike thousands of others, I’ve not read the book. But in the last several months a number of his quotes have been sent to me by friends. He wrote a good deal about the dangers of thinking less of yourself than God does. But he also wrote about “thinking more highly of yourself than you ought” as Paul said in Romans. Because I have been watching the effects of younger ministry leaders being constantly pressured to build larger and larger “platforms” for their brand and message,” I remembered…

  • Fred's Blog

    Shower The People You Love

    An article in the Baylor Magazine investigates the factors in father-daughter relationships that make the most difference. These are called “turning points” and when asked what key experiences improved closeness in their relationships both fathers and daughters mentioned events typical of those that you normally think of as helping to cement father-son friendships. The most frequently mentioned turning points by daughters and fathers alike were participating together in sports, work and vacations. It’s really a wonder I have any relationship with my two daughters at all given those results! Neither of them showed much interest in sports and that suited me just fine. I have no hobbies and don’t follow any…

    Comments Off on Shower The People You Love
  • Fred's Blog

    Tengo Familia

    Normally we think about an epiphany being a sudden rush of insight. Of course sometimes they are. But others are more the result of a long and silent process that has been working away internally. It’s not an eruption or a blinding flash but pieces of a puzzle coming together. I was in a dark theater watching a performance of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” It is a play by Joe De Pietro, and a friend John Kelly played the lead character. De Pietro scripts the poignant story of an immigrant Italian family in New York whose grandson Nick has made a decision to move away – far away…