I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

I have regrets. Lot’s of them. I would love to go back and change stuff. Lots of stuff. Every sinful action. Every stupid decision. Every insensitive comment. I regret them all.

Whenever I read or hear a celebrity say “I have no regrets,” I cry “Balderdash!” I probably use another word, but why add to my list of regrets?

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Go And Tell My Brothers

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I never tire of hearing the story of the resurrection. It’s the story of my salvation. Without the resurrection I have no hope and my life has no meaning. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

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Carp, Creepy Crawlers, and Crazy Eights

When I was in growing up in the western part of Hobart, Indiana, I didn’t have many friends. There were a couple of kids I more or less hung out with, but my only real friend at that time was my brother Artie. It’s odd how you never think of your brother in those terms when you’re growing up, but we were together all the time,  having fun, being silly, wholly dedicated to driving our parents insane.

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Introducing LMW

There’s a new auto maker in town and it’s taking the country by storm. LMW (Lemming Motor Works), whose namesake is the legendary suicidal rodent, is poised to introduce a complete line of cars this fall that should give the Big Three automakers (Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota) a real run for their money and hopefully, for them at least, with lots of your money. LMW has been laboring for the last five years, has run through millions of dollars of venture capital, and twice before suffered through abortive attempts to roll out an economical line of automobiles, only to be plagued by poor design, even poorer workmanship, and devastatingly bad financial decisions. At one point this analyst even suggested that the car maker might be intentionally self-destructive.

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I purchased Ragman and other cries of faith a few years ago. At the time I was searching for good, Christian authors not named Lewis, and happened upon a review of a book written by Walt Wangerin, Jr. Wangerin is a Lutheran pastor presently teaching at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. For many years, though, he pastored an inner city church in Evansville, Indiana.

Wangerin sounded like just what I was looking for, so I ordered Ragman and read the title story, which also happened to be the first piece in the collection.

I didn’t like it. It’s a short allegory about Christ’s substitutionary atonement, and I didn’t like it. As an allegory I thought it was too heavy handed and clumsy. It was obvious. Maybe even a bit corny. So I put the book away, sorely disappointed.

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The Angry Trooper

In the late 1980’s when our family was living in New Mexico, I spent a lot of time in Colorado, either at Space Command Headquarters in Colorado Springs, or at the IBM facility in Longmont, which was just down the road from Boulder.

It was at this time that I learned what wonderful vehicles rental cars are. You can do things in a rental car that you wouldn’t dream of doing in your car. I’m not sure exactly what makes them different, but it is a fact.

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The Swamp

I grew up on Maitland Street on the west side of Hobart, Indiana, about a half mile from the Gary city line. I never knew it until much later, but this was the “bad” part of town. I find it odd that, although I was well aware that we did not have much money, I never once was conscious of being poor or of living in poverty. The simple explanation of this, of course, is that at that time, probably up until I was in high school, I was not once conscious of anything. But I eschew simple explanations, even if they might be correct. I prefer to attribute it to the fact that, while my mom and dad were quick to remind us that we did not have money for many of the toys and luxuries we saw in commercials on television, I never heard them say to us or anyone else that we were poor. They were humble, yet proud folks.

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Another Day, Another Test

How do you feel about tests? I, for one, hate them. I’ve always enjoyed learning and going to school, but I have never enjoyed taking tests and would rather do without them.

The same is true in my life as well. I don’t like trials. I am upset when things go wrong. I wish things would go smoothly. I’ve often heard the words, and often uttered them myself, “Why can’t things be easy?”

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A Childhood Passion

Judging from the relatively few clear memories I have, I lived my childhood in a haze. It wasn’t even a purple haze. It was just a haze. It seems like I spent most of my time daydreaming. There were lots of things I wanted to do— become an astronaut, drive race cars, become a brain surgeon—but there were very few things I loved to do. Of course, we did the normal things that kids did back then, such as play outside until dusk, ride bikes, climb trees, break bones. But there was nothing that I could really call a passion.

Except baseball.

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I recall seeing pictures of World War II concentration camp survivors when I was a small child. Horrified, my young brain could not process the images of men whose bodies were just skeletons covered with skin, men whose eyes bespoke unimaginable suffering and immeasurable sadness. The pictures frightened me, sickened me, evoked a deep visceral reaction that remains to this day. I am being quite literal when I say that I can’t imagine what it was like to live through it.

In Night, Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel tells us. Late in 1944, when it appeared that the Allies would be victorious in World War II, Wiesel and his family were displaced from their home in Transylvania and moved to Auschwitz.

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