• Fred's Blog

    The Long Goodbye

    Earlier this week Carol and I had dinner with three other couples, and the four men got around to talking about their relationships with their fathers. Last week, I wrote about an issue that occupies the minds of friends young and old. I think this is the same. For some of us it is a complicated and often unresolved issue, and for others it is a source of continuing support and encouragement. That is why I decided to post something from the past today. I hope you don’t mind. Virtually every time I mention my father in a blog people will comment about how interesting he must have been. Some…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Unexamined Life is Worth Living

    According to Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I suppose that is right for the most part. However, is it possible to have an over-examined life? In the last several years, I have been in conversations with people young and old about what it means to do something meaningful with their lives. For the young, it is mostly a question of how to invest their future years in a fulfilling and purposeful career – or series of careers. For many, this leads them to nonprofit work or social entrepreneurship as they have serious doubts about the value of either a corporate career or “menial” work. For the older,…

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  • Fred's Blog

    This One is Yours

    A few years ago a friend and his wife lost their son to suicide. I attended the service and then wrote a blog that expressed how I felt about their tragedy. Shortly afterwards, my friend asked me to work with him putting together a small conference to help families who have experienced the pain of mental illness. I thought about it for a few days before telling him that this issue was not my “sweet spot,” and it would work best if he found someone for whom it was a passion. We saw each other periodically over the next two years. He repeated his request each time, and I always responded with the same answer. It was just not for me. One night as I was getting into bed, I was startled to hear a voice in my…

  • Fred's Blog

    Crossing Over

    The church service before I taught Sunday School this week was not to my taste. It’s hard for me to believe God finds this edifying. The music was too loud and hands were raised throughout the worship center, perhaps tentatively at first but then accompanied by a little swaying and pointing toward the ceiling. People started to move their lips. I have thought about recommending we have a special section at the back for people so inclined. Furthermore, we’ve switched from offering plates to those velvet bags to keep you from seeing what other people are putting in. And the large screens make the service feel more like Cinemark than…