Year: 2017

Dollars and Scents

Dollars and Scents

One of the features of the new tax reform law is doubling the standard deduction – and that is a good thing. The increase will be a genuine benefit to many middle-class families. However, it also means there will be less incentive to itemize deductions for giving and likely as well that charitable donations will suffer as a result. Much of the tax advantage of giving for 30 million people wh ...[Read More]

You Too?

You Too?

For some time now I have been questioning if philanthropy is one of those words that has either lost its traditional definition (love of mankind) or should never have been used to describe giving in the first place. In fact, I wonder if our using “love of mankind” is possible or even desirable. Yes, there are numerous examples where giving springs from sincere feelings about the poor or a genuine ...[Read More]

One Way Or Another

One Way Or Another

Discoveries made through a mistake, battles lost by a sudden change of wind, unintentional inflection points in a life through a wrong turn. The history of our world is full of them. In fact, the closer we study major shifts the more likely we are to see they often hinged on seeming unimportant choices that made the outcome radically different. What if Archduke Ferdinand’s driver had not accidenta ...[Read More]

Making the Church Great Again

Making the Church Great Again

More often than not when people long for the earliest church they have in mind an ideal that never existed. Almost from the beginning, it was tested with schisms, false teaching, infighting, jealousy, greed and celebrities with fans. I say almost because there actually was a short time – a matter of days – when things went smoothly. It’s likely those few days that people have in their ...[Read More]

The Next Phase

The Next Phase

Looking back now, it is difficult to believe in early 1972 I was singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in a choir for one of Arthur Blessitt’s crusades in Boston. You might remember Arthur as the man who carried the wooden cross around the world on foot. He logged 38,000 miles and visited 315 nations. A new Christian and like so many others, I had been swept up in the adventure of it. In June of th ...[Read More]

Brace Yourself

Brace Yourself

Today is Thanksgiving and tomorrow is Black Friday. We know the majority of all Americans will be shopping over the long weekend with 20 percent shopping today and 70 percent tomorrow. More than 43 percent will be shopping on Saturday (Small Business Saturday) and another 48 percent on Cyber Monday. The holiday shopping season has begun and the expectations from retailers and online merchants are ...[Read More]

Unfaithful To Holy Things

Unfaithful To Holy Things

When I was on the Board of “Christianity Today” a number of the editors were concerned the adjective “evangelical” was losing its distinct meaning. The term had gradually become a label used in polls for voting segments in political elections. As such, it was no longer a theological term but had, over time, morphed into a broad demographic label that had little to do with theological distinctives. ...[Read More]

The Long And Winding Road

The Long And Winding Road

As a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Roger Thurow came to Tyler asking questions about hunger and what was being done locally. Now a senior fellow with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Roger had been a journalist covering, among other things, global food and agriculture for thirty years in Europe and Africa. While he was here, we had some time in between his interviews and ...[Read More]

What Matters

What Matters

I love the art of Andrew Wyeth and his family – father N.C. and son, Jamie. Last week I made my first visit to the Brandywine River Museum with friends and sitting in front of Jamie’s portrait of Shorty, a local railroad worker and hermit posed in an elegant wing chair, I started thinking about two sons of slaves who became great artists and builders – perhaps the most famous in the Bi ...[Read More]

If I Could Parlay With Pachyderms

If I Could Parlay With Pachyderms

How many times have we heard the phrase, “Come, let us reason together”? Like many, I’ve thought if only we could sit down and be rational about our differences, we could come to a reasonable understanding. After all, we are mature adults, right? We all want what is best. Well, it turns out that reasoning out our differences is a very small part of coming to understand what they are and how we res ...[Read More]