Jesus Loves Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is gone. But I remember when she was alive in my family’s kitchen.
As a boy, I was awestruck by the power of a Sony radio. My parents kept it high on a shelf, up next to all those red and yellow cookbooks and the potted green ivy.

Once I reached a certain age, I was allowed to touch the radio. My fingers stroked its walnut wood casing. I experimented with those clockwise and counterclockwise movements, exploring a world that went far beyond my small Indiana college town.

There, in the kitchen while helping my mom with the dishes, I heard a voice hit a frequency of celebration that only a soul lost and then found could reach.

Surrounded by the toil of clean and dirty dishes, I fell in love with The Voice.

Whitney Houston.

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Coffee With Gary

I met Pastor Gary Miller last week at a nearby coffee shop. Isaiah 30 came up. He said he would be preaching on it next Sunday. That might be why our conversation centered around the battle imagery.

Either way, we gathered around a kind of flagpole, confessing our rebellion and oppression.

We talked about the difficult paths. Those behind us. And those ahead.

Here, Gary turns and leans his back against the brick wall. His white hair is long, tousled over like a prophet’s. He keeps that dark jacket on, but not because he’s anxious to leave. He simply sat down and wore what he came here wearing.

Gary is that kind of guy.

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Even If China Attacks

James runs past the front door of our church to find his coat. He sort of skids when he looks up and sees Jesus standing outside the tomb.

James slows, then stops, and pivots long enough to find the holes in the feet, and the ones at the wrists. He soaks up the image in the painting, quietly, without the help of adults. And then he’s off running again.

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Thumbs vs. Voices

In a box somewhere in the basement, I have a button with a bold proclamation on it.

“I’m Thumb-body Specia!”

Everyone in my class got one, though maybe I’m the only one to have kept his all these years.

I don’t know if my self esteem got the intended boost or not. But I did get a shiny button.

And then I think of a friend from my college years. Ken still had a smelly gym locker full of contempt for the state of public education. “Teach students to have self esteem? Come on! Teach them how to Continue reading

“Prepare Ye The Way”

Photos by Lynne Zehr

A large crowd gathers downtown to share a time of waiting. Surrounded by the soft glow of downtown store marquees and Christmas lights, friends and strangers come to huddle and sing around an unlit tree.

These friends and strangers, it turns out, all play an important part. They’re on a rescue mission, whether they know it or not.

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Wide Awake

I was in a coma for about a week. People often ask me if I remember seeing anything. Maybe a white light? I don’t. But I’ll always remember the waking up.

My car accident took place 19 years ago this week. Suddenly, my brain was swelling, and the doctors were talking about drilling.

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Writing With My Stronger Hand

A blank page is often black and full of clouds. And when the veil of watery voices rolls across the moon like a dark tide, the writer in me struggles toward the light.

But the fog is thick and filmy, and there is no speaking or writing in its haze. A pale glow sinks, or settles, far beyond the margins, drowning out any light with negative self-talk, shadowy and opaque.

Telling me that I’m trapped. Not good enough. Even guilty.

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