• Fred's Blog

    Like One Familiar with the Way

    When my father became ill near the end of his life, he fought death as hard as anyone I knew – just as he had willed himself to overcome every other obstacle in his life. He often told us about his mother who would set chairs across the kitchen to hold her upright when she could no longer stand. She had drilled into him, “When nothing but your will says go.” As his physical condition deteriorated, my father’s will to beat death only grew stronger. His enormous spirit to persevere that had served him well for so long was not open to – or capable of – allowing him to…

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  • Bible Studies

    Easter 2014

    “It has always struck me as remarkable that when the writers of the four Gospels come to the most important part of the story they have to tell, they tell it in whispers. The part I mean, of course, is the part about the resurrection. The Jesus who was dead is not dead anymore. He has risen. He is here. According to the Gospels there was no choir of angels to proclaim it. There was no sudden explosion of light in the sky. Not a single soul was around to see it happen. When Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb afterward, she thought at first that it must be a…

  • Fred's Blog

    Not Fade Away

    I was 38 when I realized I was a misfit in my work. I was teaching in a traditional boarding school on the East Coast and working overtime to adapt – but unsuccessfully. It was no one’s fault. It was simply not the right place for me. During that time I discovered a book by Ralph Mattson and Art Miller, Finding a Job You Can Love. Their writings changed my life because the authors (who then became friends) showed me that God had designed me in a particular way to accomplish a particular kind of work. I could try to shoehorn myself into a job but there would be very…

  • Bible Studies

    Feed My Sheep: John 21

    Two fishing stories.  Book-ends really. The first in Luke 5:1-11 and the second in John 21  Luke 5:5-11:   5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.  4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep…

  • Fred's Blog

    “You Know It Don’t Come Easy”

    Many years ago when I was just out of the Navy, I spent a summer in Colorado working in construction. I met a carpenter named Jimmy, and although he wasn’t that much older than I was, he had an understanding of working with wood I had never seen – and haven’t since. Jimmy had been doing this so long that his work had become second nature to him. He was not an expert, but he was a craftsman. I think it was then that I decided I wanted to be the same – no matter what I did in life. I didn’t want to be a “knowledge worker.” I wanted…

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  • Fred's Blog

    The Not-So-Good Samaritan

    Like most of us, I’ve heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan all my life, and one thing has remained constant. The Samaritan has always been presented as a second-class citizen to the Jews and as undesirable and unclean as a Gentile. The Samaritan is always the underdog – the victim – and the object of scorn, derision and even persecution. So naturally, I’ve been trained to think of them as victims who did nothing to deserve the injustice they suffered. Isn’t the point of the story that it’s the people we least expect to be compassionate who reveal our hypocrisy? Isn’t it those who have been demeaned who show…