The Most Biblical Show on Television

America is abuzz over an episode of the ABC Thursday night show, Scandal.

Most of you are likely not viewers of Scandal and this post isn’t a recommendation for the show. It’s not something most of you would enjoy watching. Scandal revolves around the life of Olivia Pope, a modern writers’ depiction of a fairy tale princess. She’s strong, skilled, independent, wealthy, fashionable, smart, politically savvy, and in love with the President of the United States, the ultimate prince charming. He, of course, is married, but that doesn’t stop their adulterous relationship from being the centerpiece romance of the series.

When I was downed by illness last fall, I binge-watched Scandal and was fascinated that it clearly portrays the ugliness of sin and yet has drawn a wide audience. (**This post is not an encouragement to watch this show.) I’m sure the writers had no intention of writing a biblical drama but that is exactly what they’ve done. There is more biblical truth in this show than is usually allowed on network television. It portrays the relentless allure of evil. The seduction of power. The addicting nature of violence. The hypocrisy of all humans, not just the religious ones. And the soul-less lives resulting from greed and the worship of self. Continue Reading →

If You Can Keep Your Head When All About You . . .

Fear talk rules the day.

I’m not afraid right now but that’s because I feel safe. I know where all my loved ones are and my little town isn’t likely to appear on a prime target list. So, it’s easy for me to write brave words. This is true.

What’s also true is that I don’t know what to do about the Syrian refugees. When one side speaks, I think they’re right until I hear arguments for the other side, then they seem right, too. Continue Reading →

Who Cuts Up a Three-Year-Old’s Blankie?

Lori 2016I’m afraid I won’t say things right in this post.

In it, I speak to children I’ve known – abused, confused, neglected, rejected, alone. But, I’m writing, too, to the broken children inside us all. I’m afraid I won’t say this clearly, but here goes.

It is no favor we do to love another. Even one we’ve stretched to love – an enemy, an offending neighbor, or a wayward child. God is love and so, to participate in love – to give or to receive – is a win. Either way. Continue Reading →

When Your Faith is a Punchline – Nevermind

I don’t like being laughed at, do you?

It’s one of our greatest fears and dislikes, to be the object of ridicule and mockery. It puts us back on the playground, feeling shame, fearing exclusion, desperately wanting to be like everyone else, safely standing with the crowd and not exposed, surrounded by mockers.

“Everybody’s laughing at me,” is a sorrowful cry from a child running home to Mama, a failed CEO huddled beneath her covers, or a disgraced politician avoiding the late-night monologues now built around his latest gaffe. Continue Reading →

How We Failed a Test of the Emergency Christian-Response System

board-361516_640Yesterday was a test of the emergency Christian-response system and we failed miserably.

We forgot that we are at war.

We forgot that Satan has strategies and that he isn’t stupid.

We forgot that deception fills the air like a noxious gas and we all inhale. So our minds must be so infiltrated by truth they serve as filters for these lies and when we exhale, we exhale only truth.

We forgot that it’s not our job to get people to like Jesus. It’s our job to build the kingdom of Christ and tell the truth so they have the opportunity to repent and enter into relationship with Jesus. Two very different things. Continue Reading →

The Gospel According to Jonah

humpback-whale-1033975_640I want revenge. Reprisal. Accountability. Comeuppance. Answerability. Retribution.

It’s hard for me to admit that but it’s true.

If I’ve chosen to follow the rules, made sacrifices to be obedient, then I want those who haven’t been obedient to suffer the consequences. I don’t like people getting away with stuff. I believe in rules, standards, and laws. I like order. I respect those who live within parameters that make the world safe, productive, and conducive to healthy living.

When I see people suffer because of other people’s choices, it eats at me. Especially when those who suffer are children. When children hurt, I want someone to answer for that. That sounds like wisdom, doesn’t it? And, it’s not wrong, it’s just incomplete. Continue Reading →

One Single Question Can Save Your Love

charlie-brown-1132276_640God is asking us to do the impossible.

In these days, these days of abusers, users, addicts, enablers, entitled mindsets, and anti-Christian worldviews, in these days He refuses to release us from the command to love.

How are we supposed to do that? Seriously, most days we look like chumps. Smart money in 2015 is not on people who love. The point spread of this generation falls to those who keep up their guard, hold their love close to their vests, invest love prudently in a chosen few that prove themselves capable of receiving love responsibly, and reciprocating by changing and loving in return. Continue Reading →

A Rhode Island Story I Hope Will Truly Scare You

Mercy Brown AThis time of year, around these parts, we tell scary stories. One of them is about Mercy Brown.

Mercy Brown was buried in Exeter, Rhode Island, January 1892. Two months later, she was exhumed. Her surviving loved ones dug her up, cut out her heart, burned it on a stone, mixed the ashes with water, and gave it to her brother to drink.

You see, Mercy’s family had died of consumption, one after the other, so townspeople theorized that one of them must be undead and had brought the curse of illness upon all. When they unearthed Mercy, her nineteen-year-old corpse appeared the least decomposed, having been preserved by the frozen New England winter. Her surviving relatives created the disturbing brew from the ashes of her heart and her brother drank it in the hope it would cure him and end the curse.

He died two months later because you don’t cure tuberculosis by drinking your dead sister’s heart. Continue Reading →

Go Ahead. Get Mad at This Post. I Want You To

bird-20475_640No one should have to walk on eggshells around people who can walk on water. That’s what I think.

There are Christians who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and then there are touchy religious people who take offense at every turn. Which we are is largely up to us.

For several months, I met with a group of writers who love writing but don’t follow Jesus. I learned from them and we enjoyed one another’s work.

One night, we discussed a scene from one of my novels. An older writer asked why I didn’t have the veteran detective swear. I summarized, again, the standards of Christian publishers for fiction. When I concluded, she looked at me with honest concern and asked, “Wow, exactly how fragile are you people?” Continue Reading →

Refuse to Accept the Wall

skyline-600001_640Have you ever wondered how Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound? Maybe he believes in the leap more than he believes in the building.

The young man sat across the table from me. He wore jeans, a black t-shirt, and a faded jean jacket. His eyes were slightly crossed and he struggled to speak. Beside him, his grandmother clutched her pocketbook and nodded encouragement.

“I need something impossible,” he said.

“Is that all?” I asked. “What’s this impossible thing?”

He had just graduated high school after spending his entire school career in a special classroom. “You know. I can’t learn,” he said, shrugging. His only plan now was to enter the military and in order to be considered for MP, he had to obtain a certain score on the entrance exam. Could our tutoring center help him reach that goal?

How bad could it be? I thought. Continue Reading →