• Fred's Blog

    An Abiding Interest

      If David Brooks and Frederick Buechner do not know each other, I wish they did because they have at least a couple of things in common. Buechner once told an interviewer that he is “too religious for secular readers and too secular for religious ones.” Both Brooks and Buechner share an abiding interest in the world around them. David describes it as “paying attention” as he walks around New York, travels and teaches at Yale. His ability to find both the obscure and the familiar and hold them up in fresh ways is what keeps people coming back to his columns and books. Frederick Buechner writes about “listening to…

  • Fred's Blog

    Till the Cows Come Home

      I have had the privilege of learning from many wise older men throughout my life, one of them being Peter Drucker. Peter and I worked together through my role with Bob Buford and Leadership Network. For the first 12 years I was around Peter, I spoke only when he asked a question. Otherwise, I listened and took notes. In 1996, Peter and I spent a day together talking about the future of The Gathering. He was especially interested in our focus and what we hoped to accomplish. And if you know anything about Peter, you know that all discussions lead back to results. Peter and I met again to…

  • Fred's Blog

    To Give Yourself Away

      Most of us are first made to read Shakespeare before we have enough life experience to even partially understand it. It wasn’t until I was teaching King Lear in senior English at Stony Brook – and had a daughter of my own – before I realized that King Lear was so much about his relationship with his daughters and his desperate attempt to pass off responsibility without giving up privilege. It was the tragic tale of a father demanding love and honor – things that could only be earned. Years went by and I didn’t reread King Lear until much later when I was co-teaching “The Wise Art of…

  • Fred's Blog

    David Brooks: A Holy Friend

    Dr. John Stott’s last bit of advice to his assistant before he died was simply this, “Do the hard thing.” “Uncle John” believed that choosing the easy trail, the road most taken, and the path of least resistance can only end in mediocrity – even if it comes with praise. I experienced firsthand John Stott doing the hard thing. He arrived late at night from London to talk with a group of pastors the next day. I met with John to let him know we designed the meeting to allow him the freedom of no preparation; he had only to reflect on what he had already written. When I told…

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