• Fred's Blog

    Noah

    Emily Dickinson said: “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” As evangelicals we have too often been harsh, blunt, combative and intimidating in telling the story of the Gospel. Our insistence on bold proclamation has isolated our audience and made our creative efforts wooden, amateurish and unimaginative. We’ve not appreciated the wisdom of Eugene Peterson’s words in “What Are Writers Good For?”. “Our task is to counter the reduction of language to godtalk – language that is severed from a God-created and God-saved world, language that is depersonalized and functionalized. The dreaded godtalk.” Clearly, I am a fan of creative license and imagination, and I applaud an author’s ability…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Inner Critic

    If you watched the Academy Awards this year you probably heard Robert De Niro’s introduction to the Best Adapted Screenplay award: “The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” The next day I was in a conversation with a music artist and asked him if there was any truth in that. He assured me it was true, and every musician, writer and artist he knew was at times plagued by what he called “the inner critic.” While the term has been around for years I…

  • Fred's Blog

    Your Gift Is Not Tax-Deductible

    On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson and Congress declared war on Germany. Surprisingly, one of the first considerations of that act was the impact on colleges, universities, medical schools and cultural institutions. At the same time we declared war, we created the War Chest and the first charitable tax deduction that allowed individuals to make gifts to help with the war effort and shore up the few institutions whose support would be affected by the war. That decision did not affect many people at the time because fewer than 10 percent of Americans paid taxes, and the top rate was 7 percent. As well, compared to today, there were…

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  • Fred's Blog

    My Brother’s Keeper

    In a White House ceremony last Thursday, President Obama unveiled a new program, “My Brother’s Keeper,” that would be supported by the administration but funded with foundation and corporate sponsors. The initiative is designed to identify, evaluate and help expand those programs that are working best to help young minority males – primarily black and Latino – increase their likelihood of staying in school, staying out of prison, being good fathers, and finding access to economic opportunity. Ten major foundations made commitments of $200 million over the next five years, in addition to $150 million they are already spending in this area. In a conversation prior to the announcement I…

  • Fred's Blog

    My Brother's Keeper

    In a White House ceremony last Thursday, President Obama unveiled a new program, “My Brother’s Keeper,” that would be supported by the administration but funded with foundation and corporate sponsors. The initiative is designed to identify, evaluate and help expand those programs that are working best to help young minority males – primarily black and Latino – increase their likelihood of staying in school, staying out of prison, being good fathers, and finding access to economic opportunity. Ten major foundations made commitments of $200 million over the next five years, in addition to $150 million they are already spending in this area. In a conversation prior to the announcement I…