Fred’s Thursday Blog

Alone Again

Don Miller’s first book “Blue Like Jazz” may be the most recognized of the several he has written but I have a special fondness for his book “Scary Close.” In it he chronicles his years of failed relationships, isolation and painful drama. Don is honest about his tendencies to manipulate, use and ultimately alienate people out of fear – fear of being honest about himself and with others. He ...[Read More]

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

It was Easter morning in Kenya and we were in a bus making our way from Kisumu to Kijabe. All along the road we saw groups of people walking and running to church. Some were singing as they went while others were almost skipping in anticipation of the service. There were congregations meeting in churches while others were simply clustered in open fields around a large cross planted in the ground a ...[Read More]

The Moment of Certainty

Years ago I taught Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to high school seniors. The central theme of the book is the alienation of the main character, Raskolnikov, from society. The isolated young man sees himself as superior to all other people and cannot relate to anyone. A loner, he considers other people only as tools to be used. Seeing himself as a Superman, a person who is extraordina ...[Read More]

Tell Me Less

Is it possible to be both generous and smart about it? Most of us would like to think so but some ongoing research suggests it may be harder than we realize. And while there may be things we can do to make sure our money doesn’t end up wasted, charity appears to be one area where we have to be extra careful not to let our brains get in the way. In other words, the old adage is true. “A little bit ...[Read More]

The Hidden Opportunity

I used to ask myself why one of my favorite columnists, George Will, was not reading my blog. Maybe I should use words like “obfuscate” or “bloviating” or toss in more references to baseball? It’s pride, of course. A growing family of reading friends could not make up for my being so exiguous to George. For anyone writing a blog or a column there are a number of analy ...[Read More]

The Living Years

There is no topic more widely discussed and fretted about in family philanthropy than donor intent. Horror stories (both true and fabricated) are floated by institutions and endowments warning parents there is a high likelihood that their children will abandon their values and wishes almost as soon as both parents have been laid to rest. The classic example is the Ford Foundation whose trustees, a ...[Read More]

Factories of Virtue

Every year (and sometimes more often) we read about the increasing speed of glacial melting, more species becoming extinct, square miles of the Sahara desert advancing and how many trees have been lost to deforestation. Along with those reports there is an annual study that records how many congregations have closed in the past years. The most recent Lifeway Research survey of 34 Protestant denomi ...[Read More]

Who Killed The Hat

When did men stop wearing hats? That’s a question asked by Russ Roberts in his book, “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.” It’s part of a larger question that concerns the dynamics of social change and how something as prevalent as men wearing hats can suddenly become a thing of the past. There is no one reason, of course. While some people have attributed the change to fashion leaders who influe ...[Read More]