Skip to main content


But I Had No Idea

Like most Americans, I grew up with some idea of what the birth of Jesus looked like: a hotel with a "No Vacancy" sign, a barn out back, three Wise Men outside, bearing gifts. I thought I knew what it was like, but upon further review, I learned that I had no idea. Jesus was most likely born, not in a barn next to an inn, but in the part of a house where the animals are kept. The Wise Men may not have shown up till Jesus was a year old, or older. There weren't 3 of them.
I thought I knew what it was like, but I had no idea.
And if you think we have no idea what went on, consider Mary and Joseph; though they had more revelation than any other human at the time, they had no idea what they had signed up for, and what their lives would be like as a result of being entrusted with this particular baby. 
I recently re-watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I love the Council of Elrond scene, the one in which several leaders, wizards, and soldiers discuss the need to transport the…
Recent posts


Like most who watched the Golden Globes this past Sunday, I came away with stronger memories of host Ricky Gervais' comments than who the winners and losers were. Gervais' remarks took many in the room by surprise, and resulted in stifled laughter, nervous facial expressions, and gasps from those in attendance.

His jokes were surprising because, when it comes to awards shows, there are some unwritten rules about what's acceptable, and the host broke most of them. But upon closer examination, the attendees' shocked reaction wasn't so much based on the particulars of the jokes themselves, but on the fact that he told them in that setting, in that room. This group of people thinks a certain way, and takes certain stances, on the topics Gervais joked about, and they're used to being around those who think the same way.

Of course, it's fairly easy to find another room full of people who hold opposing views on those very same topics. Sadly, there aren't a lot …

Book Review: Light From Distant Stars, by Shawn Smucker

Nearly 3 years ago, I watched a brand new NBC series called "This is Us", and its unique format got my attention. What set this show apart was its practice of devoting a large portion of each episode to flashbacks. This innovative method of storytelling allowed the viewer to see cause and effect: what happened to Randall at age 8 has shaped him as an adult and informed his attitudes, motives, and actions as a 37-year-old.

Unfortunately, the network's marketing arm decided to downplay this distinction, and instead focus on how many times the show could make viewers cry. Not to belabor the point, I'll just say that I really wish they hadn't. The best thing that "This is Us" brings to the table is its decision to alternate between depicting its characters today and back then, but the network decided to focus on something less substantive.

When reading Shawn Smucker's newest, "Light From Distant Stars", I couldn't help but draw a connecti…

My hopes for 2019

At the end of each year, Miami columnist Dave Barry, one of the funniest cultural observers of my lifetime, recaps the previous year in a humorous way. Barry's strength is pointing out our political posturing, our misplaced priorities, and the way we take it all too seriously. His recap of 2018 is a must-read and is located at
With no promises of being as sharp as Dave Barry, and not trying to be funny, I present to you my in-no-particular-order list of what I pray that 2019 will bring. Some of this is personal to me, and some is for all of us. 
1.I hope to be fully employed for all of 2019.  I'll just say this: 2018 was hard for me. And I'll leave it at that. 
2.I hope to go through 2019 without once seeing a link with the headline "Watch as (fill in the blank) DESTROYS (fill in the blank). This is almost always a link to a video where one person who takes a side in a contentious or di…

Reality Bites

Every year, December brings a few things we've come to expect: the local oldies station playing Christmas tunes a little too early; advertisements exhorting us to spend, spend, spend; complainers complaining about "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas"; and some smarter-than-thou guy on Facebook informing everyone that the Nativity scenes are all wrong. 

The latter person takes a certain satisfaction in being the one who sets everyone straight about how Jesus probably wasn't born in a stable, and even if there was a stable, the Wise Men (they weren't kings and there weren't 3 of them) weren't there anyway because they most likely saw Him up to 2 years after He was born. 

And the Little Drummer Boy? Don't get him started. 

If Facebook Guy is correct, it's likely that one day, in this life or the next, we're going to find out that the birth of Jesus was nothing like we pictured it. We were raised thinking it was one thing, and then our bal…

The deeper the root, the tougher the weed

My Saturday has been a busy one. This morning, I ran across a story about a film critics association's list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. Once I saw that "Schindler's List" was down the list at #74, I failed to take the rest of the list seriously. How could I?  I imagined having a one-sided conversation with whoever contributed to that list, whoever decided to rank the Schindler movie so low. Back when it was released, nearly every movie journalist said it was one of the finest films they had ever seen. It's regularly in the top 5 of lists like this one. There's a reason for that.

But I digress; let's get back to my day: after I read a few things, including that piece about the 100 movies, I went outside and did some yardwork, including pulling some weeds and some poorly-located rosebushes. Once I had done all the physical labor I needed to do, I showered, ate supper, and capped the evening by watching "Won't You Be My Neighbor", …

5 Things Making Liberals and Conservatives Look Ridiculous

As I have said previously, I'm pretty much done with partisan politics. I'm skeptical of those  who claim they're neither Republican nor Democrat, but in reality, they still see the world through one lens or the other. I won't try to tell the same lie: when I say I'm equally disgusted with both parties, I'm also making it clear that I lean strongly to the Right on most issues. 

Believing in principles does not necessarily equate to aligning with a party and defending the actions of that party's leaders or most prominent officeholders. In fact, it's just the opposite. I have a lot more respect for someone who's not afraid to call out members of their own party when necessary than I do for those who cheer for their team regardless of principle and regardless of basic decency.

If that's you, then perhaps you think that by not calling the extremists out, you're protecting your party, but you're actually hurting your cause, and the ideas you be…