• Fred's Blog

    The Reef

    Listen to “The Reef” by Fred Smith   In “Where Good Ideas Come From” Steven Johnson uses the illustration of a coral reef as an example of a structure that is both fragile and still able to withstand the incessant pounding of waves and storms. He relates Charles Darwin’s first experience with reefs and his amazement they were able to withstand the violent surges of water. “The ocean throwing its waters over the broad reef appears an invincible, all-powerful enemy; yet we see it resisted, and even conquered, by means which at first seem most weak and inefficient…Yet, these low insignificant coral-islets stand and are victorious: for here another power,…

  • Fred's Blog

    A Hand in the Flood

    Listen to “A Hand In The Flood” by Fred Smith   The Bible reminds us, “With a strong hand and an outstretched arm His love endures forever. We are safe in His hand and with His firm hand He is with us when we pass through the waters and when we pass through the rivers that threaten to sweep over us and overwhelm us.” I love that strong hand and outstretched arm. Especially when life is overwhelming. Mike Gerson’s stunning sermon on Sunday at The National Cathedral reminded me of an incident in my own life.  Not depression but fear. A few years ago, I was in just such a river…

  • Fred's Blog

    The Arena

    Listen to “The Arena” by Fred Smith   Long before being appointed Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos in an interview spoke about something she had learned on a trip to Israel with her husband, Dick. There is a particular area between the foothills where Israel lived and the coastal plains controlled by the Philistines.  The site of many battles, it was a highly contested territory. However, it was never held permanently and so became the place where two cultures co-existed in tension. Called the Shephelah, it was a dangerous place to live. In the interview, Dick and Betsy described their desire to do just that – to live in the…

  • Fred's Blog

    If I Were Rich

    Listen to “If I Were Rich” By Fred Smith   “If I were rich, I would tell them exactly what I was thinking and not hold back. I would ask the hard questions. What could they do to me?” Like my friend, which of us doesn’t say that to ourselves now and then?  Of course, there are people who have enough confidence or lack of experience being rebuffed who are able to say what they are thinking without considering the consequences. That is why Doc Martin on PBS is one of my favorite characters.  His personality is gruff, to-the-point, and completely lacking in bedside manner. His total absence of filter means…