Homeward Bound

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WillowsWords01My daughter, Willow, is beginning to show a real aptitude for creative writing. As a person who makes his living as a freelance writer (although mostly writing non-fiction), I get to serve as her writing coach. Willow’s Words will be a new category here on the blog where I feature a piece Willow has written, and then what advice and pointers I offer up as her writing coach. The result will a kind of writer’s workshop where we can all learn from the experiences of young developing writer. Continue reading

Justice, Jesus-Style

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ss6I always get a little nervous when people start invoking the Old Testament in relation to justice or morality. The Old Testament can be a little tricky in this regard. I have heard people justify vengeance and retribution (including capital punishment) by pointing to Exodus 21:23-25: 23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (New Revised Standard Version). This is when I try to gently remind people that Christians are followers of Jesus. For those of us who believe Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God, then it is our responsibility to view the Old Testament through the lens of Jesus to make sense of it. Continue reading

How the Media Keeps Us Divided

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ss004Back in the 1980s a phrase popped up to describe how many news outlets approach their reporting:

If it bleeds, it leads

A lot of news outlets have a tendency to focus on gruesome and macabre stories. I think this is still true today, except that with our country being so deeply divided, what’s bleeding is the nation itself, and I believe far too much news reporting serves to maintain and worsen the division. Continue reading

Interpreting “Landslide” and Why it Matters

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ss003One of my friends on Facebook posted a link to an article about Kellyanne Conway’s life and rise to her current place of prominence in the nation’s political landscape. I didn’t know much about Conway, so I decided to read the article. I was interested in learning more about her. Unfortunately, I found myself pausing when I read the first four words of the second paragraph referring to the presidential election, where the article’s author wrote:

“In a landslide election…” Continue reading

Reflections on Politics

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ss002It is a curious time in the political and cultural landscape of the nation. I hear more and more people calling for unity and for people to come together for our collective sake, and yet the country seems more deeply divided than ever. Is this how things are going to be from here on out? The political pendulum has always swung back and forth between more conservative and more liberal approaches to government, but everything just feels more, I don’t know, vicious these days. Continue reading

I Was a Master Debater

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rr8Actually, my first foray into the world of speech and debate was on the speech side of the equation. There were literally dozens of different event categories in which one could compete. Kevin Tomb and I were in the Extemporaneous Speaking category. At a tournament, you walk up to a table with a bunch of slips of paper on it, randomly choose one, turn it over to see what current event topic is listed on it, take 30 minutes to prepare, and then deliver a 7-minute speech on that topic. Continue reading