On Becoming an American

On October 1st, 2008, in Kansas City, MO., I was sworn in as naturalized citizen of the United States. I was born in the Netherlands. My parents immigrated to this country when I was still quite young, but they decided to wait on becoming citizens until after my brother and I were 18. They wanted […]

How can we call Good Friday “Good”?

There are two kinds of death we face in this life.  There is physical death, which Jesus experienced in his crucifixion on a cross at Golgotha.  And there is also a spiritual death, which was aptly described by Evanescense in their hit single, “Bring me to Life”, Wake me up inside, wake me up inside; […]

39 Years With The Same Person – and Why I Am Happy About it

I stumbled across a video of woman who was talking about the death of the institution of marriage as presently constituted.  She was stating (quite emphatically) that being limited to one person till death do us part is no longer a relevant or helpful view of marriage.  It needs to be replaced by the more […]

Retirement-ish

January 14th was my last day.  I walked out of the church office for the final time.  The office was empty.  I had given away many of the books, the others were packed-up and placed in storage.  My pictures were also stowed away in boxes and headed to the home office.  I walked to my […]

Christmas Reflections 2021

I have gotten into the habit of listening to the Christmas Carole, Mary, Did You Know? at least half-a-dozen times during the Christmas season.  I am particularly fond of the Pentatonix version. Part of what I love about this Christmas classic is that there is a profound question presented to us through it. The question […]

The Hard Conversation (you know you need to have)

The holidays always present us with many interesting relational dynamics.  Most of them are good.  It’s great to reconnect with family and friends and share in the all warm-fuzzies surrounding the holidays.  But, if we are going to be completely candid, there will also be situations that will be seriously uncomfortable – perhaps even scenarios […]

Gratitude 201

My family wasn’t always excited about it, but every Thanksgiving everyone who ate at our house had to write-up a gratitude list that they’d share around the dinner table.  I insisted on the writing part, because it always felt like the spontaneous sharing led to the same recycled list we share every year – I’m […]

Welcome to the Struggle Bus

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is […]

Pas·tor

…one who walks alongside in faith to provide spiritual perspective When I started the conversation with the team helping me establish and articulate my personal brand, they asked me to describe myself.  I instinctively said, “Well, I am a pastor…”  As soon as those words left my lips, I knew I had a communication challenge […]

Black·sheep

I have chosen a black sheep as my mascot.  Typically, when that term is used to describe a person, it suggests they are a problem child, they don’t really fit in, and they are usually a bit of an oddball and a ne’er-do-well.  I check all those boxes, both before and after my conversion. Some […]