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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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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What’s Cooking?

Freedom takes a long time to bake, doesn’t it? And its smell fills our homes like a slow-roasted turkey or ham.

But it starts out raw. Yes, even like a carcass.

For centuries, God’s people had been starving in a desert of their own making. They hungered for liberation. They craved a table set for a king.

But once He arrived in Bethlehem, the meal didn’t look too much like a feast. In fact, He seemed to embrace the confinement of a wooden trough, a place setting for an animal. Not for royalty.

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Lord, I’m Listening to You, Too.

Lately, my wife and I have listened to problems fall down and stack up around us like walls of Lego blocks. So if we can’t see over them right now, could we at least listen to something different?

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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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Rubbing My Eyes

I’ve been bludgeoning my students for years. It’s a hard lesson, but they’ve got to learn it.

“Look for the good,” I tell them, again and again, until they’re good and bloody.

So why am I so passionate in wielding this aphoristic club? Partly because, once upon a time, those daily swings of grace finally provoked me to get out of a pit. That movement first began with a single Post-it note nailed down to my desk at school. I determined to jot down a few good moments for which I could be thankful. In the beginning, I discovered them slowly.

One or two words at a time.

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