Month: July 2018

  • Small Churches Can Plan for a Healthy Future

    Small Churches Can Plan for a Healthy Future

    I like my doctor.  Even with all the needles and probes, I trust that she’s using the information she gleans through my brief discomforts to tell me something I need to hear. But I don’t always pay attention. For several years we had a little ritual over one persistent health issue: “Your cholesterol is high.” […]

  • The Soul of Place–Carson McCullers

    The Soul of Place–Carson McCullers

    “In the quiet, secret night she was by herself again.  It was not late–yellow squares of light showed in the windows of the houses along the streets.  She walked slow, with her hands in her pockets and her head to one side.  For a long time she walked without noticing the direction. “Then the houses […]

  • Little Houses and Big Truths on the Prairie: Caroline Fraser’s Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Little Houses and Big Truths on the Prairie: Caroline Fraser’s Laura Ingalls Wilder

    It takes a lot of work to uncover what really happened to the vast prairies of the North American Midwest.  You have to dig under Frederick Jackson Turner’s famous 1890 declaration that the frontier had made America what it was and now it was gone.  Pioneer famers, Turner said, had busted sod, felled forests, and […]

  • Revisiting a Letter to My Haitian Neighbor (plus Ry Cooder!)

    Revisiting a Letter to My Haitian Neighbor (plus Ry Cooder!)

    Maybe I was a little premature.  When I saw my Haitian neighbor leaving town awhile back, I wrote a letter assuming that his departure meant we were going to see a more general exodus from town.  I wrote the letter in frustration over the wretched condition of our immigration policies.  The Haitian community on the […]

  • Rescuing Hope: And Other Lessons From the Cave

    Rescuing Hope: And Other Lessons From the Cave

    Tuesday the news was filled with the spectacle of reporters crying. They weren’t alone. Maybe you shed a few tears yourself when you heard that 12 boys and their coach had made their way out of a cave in Thailand.  “We can take a breath now,” a Miami diving instructor said on CNN before choking […]

  • There’s Something Still the Matter with Kansas: Thomas Frank and a Sinking Society

    There’s Something Still the Matter with Kansas: Thomas Frank and a Sinking Society

    Thomas Frank is the kind of writer who gets trotted out when the national media wants to cast its distracted gaze on the hinterlands.  It helped that he wrote a book a decade and more back about his home state titled What’s the Matter with Kansas? After the 2016 election a whole lot of pundits […]

  • Fracking & A Fractured Land

    Fracking & A Fractured Land

    The Washington County Fair in 2010 should have been unalloyed joy for Stacey Haney and her family.  After all, Haney’s 14-year-old son, Harley, and his goat, Boots, took the Grand Champion Showmanship award.  Paige, her 11-year-old daughter, got awards for her two rabbits, Pepsi & Phantom, and for her Mexi-SPAM Mac and Cheese entry in […]