The 51st Dragon

In 1919, Heywood Broun wrote a short story titled “The 51st Dragon”. It tells the story of a young awkward knight by the name of Gawain. Gawain fails miserably in all areas of knight errantry. In an attempt to help the boy, the headmaster decides that Gawain should be trained…

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Take Some Advice

I remember one winter when my wife, Becky, and I were going back to Indiana for a visit to her brother, Eddie, and his wife, Gayle. It’s cold in Indiana, very cold. And being native Californians, we wanted to know what to expect. So, we asked some of our…

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Johnny Be Good

I have always had more than a passing interest in our family tree. My mom used to tell us stories about our family, her side of the family, anyway. I used to listen to them. I enjoyed them. Who isn’t interested in their family? She would tell the stories,…

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Safe Harbor

The Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake in the world. It is 700 feet below sea level. It is about thirteen miles long and seven miles wide. It’s about 200 feet deep. That’s a pretty big lake. I guess that’s why they used to call…

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Carry Your Cross

One of the things that drive people crazy about religions in general, and about Christianity in particular, is this perverse need many followers have to suffer. For some reason, these fanatics have equated a letting go of the world with the need to wear barbed wire underwear. In Ireland, every…

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The Body

There is an old saying that we all know. You are what you eat. I never understood that statement, not really, until I had some health and nutrition classes in college. And even then it didn't really hit me. It wasn't until I started working out a lot that I…

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Three in One

I like to think of myself as a scientific sort of guy. I find science fascinating, especially physics and astronomy. And I like to think I have a passing understanding in most of the sciences, and well I should have, since I had to teach science to a bunch of…

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Fifty Days

Everybody likes a good party. I know I do. I don’t go to nearly enough. Let’s face it. People just love to celebrate. Just about every culture I know has some kind of harvest festival, a way to celebrate the gathering of food. And that carries over even…

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Rising

Today, according to the church calendar in the United States, is The Feast of the Ascension. This day we celebrate Jesus rising up to heaven. According to the story, Jesus, witnessed by his disciples, and about 3,000 others (Peter tells us in The Book of Acts), rose up into…

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Who Loves You?

A few years ago, I found myself driving to Bakersfield to see my mother. She was in a convalescent center. She had fallen the Sunday before and broken her pelvis. Now she was in a bed in a nursing center in Bakersfield, flat on her back. Now my mother could…

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I Am The Vine

Johannes Brahms was once invited to dinner by a noted wine connoisseur. In the composer's honor, the man opened one of his finest bottles. "This," he announced to his assorted guests, "is the Brahms of my cellar." Brahms nodded, carefully examining the wine - inhaling its bouquet, swirling it in…

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Sheep

I went to a quinceaniera once for a former student. In the Méxican tradition, when a girl turns fifteen, parents hold a quinceaniera, from the Spanish word for fifteen, quince. The tradition actually goes back to the Aztec culture, in which it was considered that young men and women became…

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Doubts

It's pretty easy to attack religious faith. After all, the stories you read in holy books are pretty far fetched. Those books are full of miracles and wonders and basically shit you don't see on a day to day basis. When was the last time you saw somebody walking on…

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Easter

Today, there will be no place to park at church. It will be standing room only. I will have a seat because I lead the choir, but Becky will end up smushed in a pew next to a well-dressed young uncomfortable woman, looking uncomfortable, only there with her young family…

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