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The Hollander Files

Clannish, insular immigrants who refuse to assimilate ... large families and achieving kids who quickly overshadow other residents ... loyalty given to foreign, even adversarial, governments ... houses of worship where foreign languages are spoken ... dominating clergy who browbeat their people ... houses of worship set afire by arsonists. It is time for us to awaken to the reality that our American institutions are in danger from these foreigners who persist in bringing their un-American ideas with them, and…

In Praise of Quitting

There’s a billboard out by the highway featuring a picture of John Wayne in all his western glory with the caption “Don’t Much Like Quitters, Son.” It’s one of the omnipresent “values” billboards that line our motorways. Every time I see it, I’m filled with questions. I probably shouldn’t take billboards so seriously, but I can’t help myself. Wouldn’t John Wayne have lived a longer, healthier, happier life if he’d been a quitter? What does it say about our culture…
October 31, 2018

Please, Don’t Pray for Me

When my daughter was seven months, I took her to the local aquatic center. She loved the splash zone so much that she lunged for the water when I finally carried her out. We proceeded to the locker room to put on our dry clothes. I set her down on a bench and reached for her diaper bag. In that split second, she rolled over and flopped onto the hard concrete floor. I heard her skin smack and saw her…
October 31, 2018
CultureInside Out

Thanking God for Bob’s Bar

A couple of Fridays ago, some friends and I took the hourlong trip to an off-the-beaten-path dive bar in Nebraska – Bob’s Bar, in Martinsburg. It’s not much to look at from the outside. Even when you get in the place, it’s not that great – a pool table, a bar and some tables shoved together in the back. The plates are mismatched remnants of what seem like 1950s tableware, and the giant fan blowing in the back means quite a bit of…
October 31, 2018
As We See It

I Believe in Hairy Legs

On a hot, humid summer afternoon, my sons, then  4 and 7, came rushing, breathless, to ask me to watch the praying mantis they caught in our weedy flower garden eat the cricket they just put in its cage. It was one of those days. The past week had been exceptionally busy. The lawn and garden desperately needed attention. The laundry, accumulated over the past week or more, needed to be done. I had work to catch up on, and…
September 1, 2018

Becoming a Church that Learns

Future Faith FUTURE FAITH – TEN CHALLENGES RESHAPING CHRISTIANITY WESLEY GRANBERG-MICHAELSON FORTRESS PRESS, 2018 261 PAGES (PAPERBACK) $18.99 The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson has dedicated his adult life to understanding how the church relates to a Western culture that appears less and less interested in the gospel and its core values. Granberg-Michaelson is in a true sense both a global citizen and follower of Jesus. With the publication of Future Faith – Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century, he…
September 1, 2018
Inside Out

The Hinge in the Lord’s Prayer

hos en ouranō kai epi gēs One of the greatest joys of teaching Greek is having students memorize parts of the New Testament in its original language. My favorite is reciting the Lord’s Prayer together each time we meet. We do so standing up – as did our early Christian ancestors when they recited it three times daily. Then, sitting down, we discuss it in detail, luxuriating in this tightly packed prayer which Cyprian said “omits absolutely nothing but includes all”…
September 1, 2018


When the kitchen table becomes a confessional and the combat with demons in the heart hears conversation turn toward tired despair, How many more years, Lord?; I’ve tried to overcome, my spirit scrambles to defend motivation by considering itself a hero from Homer, say god-armored Achilles, some mother’s son once immersed in immortal streams who might famously vanquish the mightiest foes with a blade whetted true upon the Word and protected by a shield of faith, but then I remember…
September 1, 2018

The Active Voice

After Camille Pissarro’s Haymaking at Éragny   Pissarro clumped, sculpted, plowed his oil paints to produce this hayfield: fertile pigments mixed, molded, together like squelching mud to cultivate such an agrarian landscape sown with greens, blues, yellows, browns; his passion raising pregnant berms with color on this canvas. Here, between trees, a breeze combs through wheat-sheaves where a woman works a pitchfork in the grasses, ordering, processing, a year’s plenty beside fellow peasants, harvesting what’s needed for unseen hungry mouths…
September 1, 2018