• Fred's Blog

    A Cautionary Tale

    Every morning when my father stepped inside his office he looked directly at a wall with six portraits and below the pictures was a mirror. When he was younger he had carefully picked six individuals with specific character traits he wanted to emulate and weave into his life. He added the mirror to help him determine if he was making progress. I did not set out to do that but as I look around my own office I have pictures of several men whose character and examples I have admired and also been fortunate to have had as friends.  There is Peter Drucker, Lyle Schaller, Dr. Ben Fisch, David Hubbard,…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Ring Will Break Your Heart

    Thirty years ago we convened a group of friends from around the country and they became the “Dream Team” charged with thinking about the possibility of what would eventually become The Gathering. We spent two days filling up newsprint sheets and hanging them on the walls of the hotel conference room. Following all the usual steps of brainstorming and strategic planning, we asked great questions and speculated about customers, values, niches, and brands. Still, just one thing remains for sure in my mind – our common desire that we do not become an “elite” group or what one team member called “a Bohemian Grove for Christian donors.” In the years…

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  • Fred's Blog

    The Ghost in the Machine

    William Bridges wrote  “Transitions” 35 years ago and reading it helped me think about the difference between “change” and “transition.” It did not seem like much at the time but the distinction is important. Change happens all the time, and it doesn’t matter if it is small (switch grocers) or large (death of a spouse or a loss of a job). On the other hand, transition is psychological and is a process whereby people gradually accept the new situation and the adjustments that come with it. What matters most is making the transition from one thing to another. Every transition has three stages: The ending, the wilderness (or neutral zone) and the new beginning. To make a…

  • Fred's Blog

    A Closer Walk

    Marilyn and I often pass each other walking in the mornings. She comes out her front door and turns to the right going up the hill as I am coming down from my home. Sometimes we only wave and smile as I am always listening to something on headphones and distracted. Other times I stop and briefly ask how she is doing. She doesn’t have the same compulsion to make this time well spent with podcasts or NPR. She simply walks her course every morning in silence. Her husband, Frank, died several years ago after a long bout with cancer and a host of other complications. Even though she now…

  • Fred's Blog

    A Guide to the Perplexed

    Many years ago, a friend and I set up a new fund for our giving to ministries. While both of us had our favorites, we wanted to do something other than simply write checks to those select few. We started looking for a way to create categories for our giving, thinking that would give us some guidance and diversity. After a search, we landed on Matthew 25 and the parable of the sheep and the goats. It looked like there were six acts of showing mercy (hunger, water, strangers, clothing, sickness, prison) that made the eternal difference and, wanting to be on the right side, we chose to name the…