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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Lord, I give thanks for the things you brought me through in 2014. I give praise that these events, decisions, trials, struggles and problems did not consume me like a fire. This was my fear. Thank you for preserving me.

As the New Year approaches, it’s easy to think there is some merit in the turning page of a calendar. Would you deliver me from the idea that I can only start anew once a year? Would you help me see that right now, today is my opportunity for a fresh start because of your grace?

I thank you for coffee and cream. I thank you for the laughter of children. I thank you for the kindness of animals, the comfort of a gentle dog, even one with a weak bladder. I thank you for the shaky handwriting of an aged mother. And for new ideas that seem to spring up like thieves to whatever it is I’m trying to write.

I thank you for conflict because it is in the midst of relational struggles that I learn the truth about myself. I am shown what I most care about when I’m confronted with someone else’s viewpoint. Will I succumb to always having to be “right?” Lord deliver me from myself and supplant a listening heart.

I thank you for the warm embrace of those who love me. I thank you for children who still believe I am special simply because I am their father. I thank you for a wife who is willing to grow and love more deeply after 32 years.

Thank you for those who seem to believe I am going too slowly in the wrong lane.

Would you help me to be more consumed with the plight of others than with whatever it is that wraps me up today? Would you give me hope so that I might pass it on to those who have none? Make me more concerned with what you think of me than what my greatest critics think. And thank you that I have critics.

Deliver me from the pursuit of success as an end in itself, for what is success other than an artificial determination by someone who can’t see the totality of life as you can? I want to be a success in your eyes, not my own or anyone else’s. Help me redefine success by your measure.

Also, deliver me from the need to be satisfied and happy with the stuff of earth. This is not what I need. Make me complacent about things and more alive to people and hearts. Open my eyes to the hurts and scars I can’t see.

Make me an encourager. Help me give wings to others’ dreams. Shod my feet, even when I’m not sure how to shod, with readiness for the gospel of peace. Where there is division, help me sow unity. Where there is hurt, help me give a healing touch. Where there is anger, help me give understanding. Where there is pain, help me give comfort.

Above all, help me, O Lord, get out of your way. Do what you want in me, to me, and through me. And about those critics, I’m having second thoughts concerning my thankfulness regarding them. I think I would rather have you break a few of their teeth, so that I might be able to give a healing touch.

Somehow, I think I should just let you take care of the critics in your own way, in your mercy and grace, for now that I think about it, I have been a critic at times in the past year. And I would not want you to break my teeth.

O Lord, help me be less critical this year. And thank you for intact teeth.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
Being thankful is swimming upstream. It’s breaking out of the normal existence and routine. Here are the top eight things that prevent my heart from beating to the thankful drum.

1. Busyness. You can’t be thankful when you have no time to reflect on reality. And the reality is, there is much for which to be thankful. Every breath is a gift. Every laugh. Every meal, no matter how meager.

2. Fear. Constant worry and angst about the future, the past, world events, politics, finances—it all crowds out the things that are. And truth is, there are problems in the world and in my life. But there are also a multitude of reasons to be grateful.

3. Self-sufficiency. If there’s one thing that will keep me from being thankful, it’s the thought that I’m in control of everything that happens and I have to scrape and scratch and claw for everything.

4. Excess. When I am captured by the trinkets and toys offered for sale and all the add-ons to those trinkets and toys that I need in order to enjoy them fully, I fail to see what I already possess. That which I crave possesses me.

5. Poverty. When I have very little, I can become resentful of those who have more and become bitter. I have not experienced this much in my own life, but the taste of it made me realize how easy it is to compare and become envious.

6. Regret. If I allow the mistakes and hangups of my life to define me, I’ll miss the progress that’s been made.

7. Circumstances. If I could only get past this financial hurdle, this job, this school, this relationship—all of the struggles of my life are propelling me forward. I can give thanks even for the negative things because these are pushing me forward to become the person I was meant to be.

8. Lack of Faith. Faith is not believing hard about something that isn’t true. Faith is seeing evidence of the truth and trusting that what I see is not everything that is. You can’t be ultimately thankful in life without someone to whom you can give thanks.

Being thankful is a full-time job because we have been given full lives, beating hearts, breath in our lungs and sunshine. Take a look around you right now, wherever you are. You can see a hundred reasons to be thankful. And beyond that are a billion more.

May you overcome these hurdles to a thankful heart today.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I had a professor in college who taught me a lot about journalism. He taught from the overflow of his life as a reporter. He taught how to interview. He taught the difference between writing for the eye and the ear. But there’s one lesson he never taught, and for that I will not be able to forgive him.

I’m convinced Bos could have been a big fish in a big pond. He had the intellect, the charisma, the wit—the whole package. But for some reason he chose to stay in Huntington, WV and report relatively small stories, until big ones found him. He hung his hat at WSAZ-TV and hung his heart at home with his family.

Bos was one of the most contented men I have ever known. He was giving. A lot of people are talking about what a father figure he was to them. He was a mentor, a confidant, a friend, and you always had the feeling you were the most important person in the room to him. How did he do that?

When I was in high school, Bos was a judge at a forensics competition. I was a junior in high school. I can’t remember much of the competitions, but I do remember his score sheet. He gave constructive criticism throughout, but in big, bold red letters, at the top, he wrote, “Hey, you can write!”

I kept that page for many years and I can still see it in my mind. Every morning when I get up to write, those four words are in my head. Bos Johnson believed in me, and that was important because he was a man you could believe. Integrity. He shot straight. Authority. He said what he needed to say and then stopped. He knew how to use a pause in a lecture or an interview. And he was one of the few people who really listened.

Bos showed us that journalism wasn’t just about getting the story. It wasn’t even about getting it right. That was important, of course. Facts and the inverted pyramid and all that. News is change. But news always concerns people. And people mattered to Bos Johnson. Maybe that’s why so many students loved and respected him. And viewers, as well.

There are a few people in life who are irreplaceable. Bos Johnson was one of those for me and I will never forget his kindness, generosity, voice, laugh and smile. But Bos left out one lesson in the syllabus. He never taught us how to live in a world without him in it.

Monday, October 27, 2014
I said it loudly and with conviction. I said it to my dog. But I didn’t hear the irony until later.

Tebow, our Morkie, was perched in his favorite spot on the back of the couch, scanning the movement of everything outside. A bee buzzed past the window and he barked. The plants outside waved in the wind and he barked. He thought someone was at the door and he barked. He barked at the sound of his bark.

“You don’t have to bark at everything,” I yelled.

I berated him, brow-beat him, looked sternly at him and rolled my eyes as if I were saying, “Come on, get with the program.”

“I’ll take care of the bunny in the yard or the wind or the truck going past without a muffler. If you see a rattlesnake or an intruder, you can bark, otherwise, I’m good. You don't have to bark at everything.”

Then it hit me, this must be how God feels about me.

There’s some issue that’s pressing, that has me all wrapped up. Somebody cuts me off in traffic or rushes ahead in the only open aisle at the grocery store and I have three items and they have 300. I get frustrated with a candidate's commercial or bone-headed play. And I bark.

I like to sit on my couch and bark and think I’m doing something. It makes me feel better to bark.

But life is not just about making me feel better. So I’m trying to learn from Tebow and save my bark for things that count. I don't have to bark at everything.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I wept at the grocery store. I walked inside and was transported to the street where my grandmother lived more than 45 years ago.

It was the smell, of course, that did it. The electric doors opened and I was assaulted with the candy aisle directly ahead stocked full for Halloween. I stopped, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes and I swear I could see it. I could see her.

Mrs. Quintroll (sorry if I'm not spelling that correctly) was an ancient woman when I was a child in the 1960s. White hair. A will of a wisp. Her teeth were always so white, but I had no concept of dentures back then. She wore sweaters in the summer heat. I'm sure she had to dance around in the shower to get wet.

The store was her house, just the front room, and she sold bread and milk and other sundries. But it was what was behind the glass cases in front that drew me.

My mother would park in front of my grandmother's house and I'd ask to go to the "ten-cent store." She'd smile and hand me a dime and off I'd go, like a Lewis and Clark bar. This was before the days of worrying abut child-abductions, or, perhaps my mother was hoping someone might relieve her of her duties.

The store had a screen door that squeaked and I remember wooden floors and a cool, basement-like feel. I do not remember anything about the rest of the room, I can only tell you what was behind the glass cases in front. At just the right viewing height for a round, chunky kid like me was a treasure trove of candy.

Pixie sticks. Caramel chews--I think they were called pinwheels. Tootsie Rolls. Jawbreakers. Smarties. Mary Janes. Kits taffy in the little squares. Tootsie Roll Pops. And the holy grail, Wax Lips. Oh wait, and the wax bottles of juice or soda or whatever they were. Licorice, too, but I would never waste a good dime on licorice.

I can't recall every type of candy, but I remember the smell of the room. It was the odor of every childhood dream. Mrs. Quintroll would stand behind the counter, a bony hand outstretched, and I'd hand her my dime. She'd squint at me over her cat-shaped glasses and ask, "What would you like?"

One piece at a time, I would select my choices. A Tootsie Roll Pop--grape, please. And a red one. Two pinwheels. Two Smarties.

My mind whirred with the speed at which I was choosing. I was closing in quickly on the ten-cent mark and I had to leave room for the Wax Lips. There was a fair amount of anxiety involved with this procedure because I didn't want to choose unwisely. And the overpowering smell of the candy almost lifted me off the wooden floor.

You have four more cents left," she said, pulling out the little paper bag where she placed my candy. She called it a "poke." On the radio I would hear a song, someone singing about "poke salad" and a girl whose mother was working on a chain gang. I can't even talk about her granny.

I chose four more pieces, including the Wax Lips, and she handed me the paper sack. I thanked her and went skipping down the lane to my grandmother's place.

I don't remember when they closed the store. I don't remember Mrs. Quintroll dying. I was oblivious to much of life going on around me. But that smell brought a wave of emotion and memory I had buried.

I went back to that little town not long ago and took some pictures of the street, my grandmother's house (pictured below), my uncle's wood-shop, the graveled lane that is now paved. It's all so much smaller than it seemed growing up.

And the smell of the candy is somehow sweeter.

Friday, August 29, 2014
So much to say.

In 2008, we took a hit. A big one.

I never wanted to own a house again.

We moved to Arizona to get better--we thought we'd be here for three months. It's been five years.

We've been talking, dreaming about owning a house. I've wanted to give Andrea a place where she can plant and blossom. But renting has been our lot in life.

Until mid-July when our rental became bank-owned.

So we were forced to either rent or buy.

We looked and looked.

There was a house on an acre, a little further out than we wanted, but no homeowner's association. It was all electric. When I first saw it, I swear this is what I thought, "That's our house."

We looked at it, but it didn't feel big enough to house all of us AND my office. So we kept looking.

It wasn't until after the ultimatum about the rental that we gave it another try.

And here we are. In the house I thought was our home. After five years.

We're stuffed in here like Who's down in Whoville, but it's our house.

Yesterday the phone company was supposed to install all the fancy connections for my radio show. We have diligently pursued this for a month, calling, making sure things were on schedule. When they didn't show up, I called. They admitted it was their fault, they messed up. I spiraled down, disgruntled, and then heard David Jeremiah talk about thanksgiving and being grateful. So one thing didn't go well.

Some might be tempted to say that Satan has thrown a wrench in things. I choose to look at it that God has allowed us this little hiccup in order to test us. Do we really believe he's in control? If so, he can use even a mistake by the phone company.

We're trying another creative approach to the program for next week. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. But we'll be diligently trying. Good things come to those who keep trying.

Monday, July 28, 2014
Keith Green. Photo by Eseymour at en.wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Thirty-two years ago I was in Germany on a missions trip with Greater Europe Mission. I was living with a Canadian family, the Boldts, struggling to understand German and to find my place in the world.

In that world of Airmail, before the Internet, before email, cell phones and instant information, the news somehow reached me that Keith Green had died in a plane crash in Texas. I believe it was on the radio, perhaps an English language news broadcast, but I remember the disbelief I felt. This couldn’t be. It couldn’t be the same Keith Green I knew. I sang his songs at our church, sort of under the radar. I remember letting my pastor hear "The Lord is My Shepherd" and him being okay with it until the guitar part.

I was one of those people who sent a check to Last Days Ministries for $6, I think, and received a copy of So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt in the mail. I read every one of the Last Days Newsletters. I learned how to play "I Want To Be More Like Jesus" in B-flat, for crying out loud, that was how committed I was.

There was something about his voice—it wasn’t just the songs he sang or the lyrics, there was more behind them. Call it passion, fervency—there was just something about Keith Green that made you sit up and listen.

Years later, while working at Moody Radio, I would interview Melody Green and others who knew Keith and worked with him. They described a passionate guy who wasn’t always easy to get along with. He was headstrong and opinionated. And God used him to speak to a generation. Foibles, faults and all that hair, God took his songs and words and reached into hearts.

Today is the 32nd anniversary of Keith’s death and the others on that plane. On the program today we’ll talk with some of his friends and ask a provocative question: If Keith had not died in 1982, what would he be doing today? How would God have changed him, used him? (And if you don't hear it live, you can visit the Chris Fabry Live! website to listen to the podcast or stream.)

This brings a question for you and me—what have we done with the 32 years Keith didn’t have? What will you do with the time you have left?
Friday, June 27, 2014
For my fellow writers, here is a proven, 16-step, easy process for marketing your book on Jeopardy! Increase invisibility with this simple, straightforward approach to creating buzz for your novel.

Step 1 – Have your wife ask you to go to the store for paper towels and a few other things. In the Walmart parking lot, notice an old, beat-up RV and think, “I wonder who’s in that thing.” Keep thinking about that as you wander inside.

Step 2 – Once you get inside, look at the old guy who is greeting you and smile at him, and then glance to your left and notice the “Missing Children” posters on the wall. Notice one composite photo, massaged to show what she would look like at age ten.

Step 3 – Notice a little boy, alone, wandering around in the store and ask the question, “I wonder where his parents are?”

Step 4 – Get home and put the paper towels away and wander to the bedroom where your wife and daughter are talking, sit on the bed and say, “I think I just came up with a really good story.” Stephen King says not to tell that story to anyone, but go ahead. Tell them, “A little boy is riding around with his dad in an old RV. He wanders into a Walmart one day and looks at the missing children pictures and sees himself.” Have your wife and daughter say, “You should write that.”

Step 5 – Change the little boy to a little girl and pattern the whole story after Les Miserables, where Jean Valjean rescues Cosette from the Thernadiers.

Step 6 – Chew on the story for months. Let it percolate. Figure out what happened early in her life to get her in that RV. Figure out the backstory of her father, the man who drives the beat-up RV.

Step 7 – Name the man John Johnson and think that’s really cool.

Step 8 – Go to a writer’s conference with the goal of getting something really good for your story about this little girl. You need a name for her, a nickname, something that would be key to tie her to the land where she was born. Sit in a lecture given by Dave Lambert where he talks about the importance of place in novels and doodle things from your childhood as he talks. Write down the words June Bug, because you remember tying a string to a junebug and trailing it like a kite. Look at the page again. Stare at it. Then, suddenly, realize you have her name. It’s right there in front of you. And write the story.

Step 9 – Have your kids get progressively sicker and sicker and discover the home of your dreams, the place where you think you will live the rest of your life, is killing you. Vacate the house with only the clothes on your back. Lose just about everything but your cars. And keep writing.

Step 10 – Use the pain of all you’re going through to inform the characters on the page. Have the little girl who lives in an RV go through the same feelings you do as you write and edit the book in a pull-along camper your neighbor lends you.

Step 11 – Write the last word and weep.

Step 12 – Send the book off to the publisher. Go through the editing process. Change some things, massage, tweak, and then let it go.

Step 13 – See the book published to some good reviews. See sales that are okay but not fantastic. Wonder about your little girl.

Step 14 – Five years later open your email and see a friend telling you she just saw your name on Jeopardy!

Step 15 – Wonder how Alex Trebek came across the 5-year-old novel and try not to complain that he mispronounced your name.

Step 16 – Sigh and hope people who haven’t read this joyful creation that came from such pain will find it and enjoy it half as much as you did writing it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014
He was walking back from the lake with a fishing rod and a lure and two dogs running by his side. An inmate two years younger than me. He was 19 when he was sent to prison, so he’s spent more time inside than out. He was 19 when he committed some crime. Probalby took someone’s life. I didn’t ask.

“Catch anything?” That’s all I really wanted to know.

He shook his head. And from the look on his face, it didn’t seem that important.

Lake Killarney, Angola LA
Time moves slowly inside prison. The clouds roll lazily past. Time is like a mosquito, it’s always there buzzing in your ear but you can’t quite catch it, can’t quite squish it. And the mosquitoes are big in Louisiana.

One dog was named Sissy. It jumped on him and the other dog, wet from the early Sunday morning dew. He tried to corral Sissy, but there’s only so much you can do to a dog that is free to roam.

“What do you do here?” I said, knowing that each inmate has a trade they try to perfect.

“Welding. Right over there by that tractor is where I work every day.”

He told me about himself, where he was from. I asked if he had been at the Returning Hearts celebration. Another shake of the head.

“That dog right there,” he said, pointing at the smaller black dog with a collar, “he came here as a mutt. Just another dog. But he’s one of the best cow-dogs we have. Had no idea what he could do, but he just took to it.”

He was talking about the dog and talking about more, I suppose. He could have been a man out for a stroll on a Sunday morning. He could have been a fisherman just wandering for a good spot.

And as he walked away and the dogs followed, it struck me that you can’t lock up everything.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
We live in a “What Happened Next Was Amazing” kind of world. This is the headline they put on videos to get us to ask, “I wonder what amazing thing happened to that journalist who laid down beside a sea otter?” Did the otter bite the man’s head off? Did it act like a dog and beg for a treat?

This happens every day. If I see one more “Amazing” thing, I’m not going to get anything done. What happened next, after this little boy stood on the railing beside the man-eating lion’s den, well, you’re just not going to believe how amazing this was!

We fall for the “amazing” because we want our lives to be “amazing.” We click because inside our hearts is a place that pulls us toward something we want for ourselves. We were just walking down the same road one day and POOF, something amazing happened that changed our lives and no one will believe.

But amazing usually doesn’t happen to us. We live from day to day without amazing. With the regular grind of life. And we then start to redefine amazing. “That was an amazing cup of coffee. That was an amazing boiled egg. Your dog is amazing, he chases his tail.”

I’m unwilling to redefine amazing to lift the mundane to extraordinary. But I’m also unwilling to chase after amazing as if it will fulfill my every hope and dream. Because what is really amazing is that we’re alive. We’re breathing on a planet filled with possibility and hurts and dreams and pain. And we have the ability to make a difference in someone’s life today. To speak truth and live love. And to let someone else do the same for us.

Stop watching someone else’s amazing. Click on your own.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
She says she is coming home tonight. There is still time to do more laundry and clean. But first, we worship. Then we'll wash. And prepare Tebow for the big event.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
So that's where you went. Florida. To see your dad for his 89th birthday. And your brother. You all look radiant. Have fun at the beach!!

Friday, April 18, 2014
The house was quiet. No rustling around in the kitchen. No laundry going. I cleaned out a full lint trap. Colin was 100. The bird has no water. There's a crack in the tube, I think.

Tebow stretched and ran from room to room, then crawled up on the chair at my feet and gave up.

It's cloudy, almost like creation knows something. The air is cool outside. No bus running at 7:00. No sound of the annoying Pilates woman on the computer. No one making soap. No one wearing the plastic shield over their face. And there is a lot of water in the filter. I'm talking a lot.

These are the things I think about on day 2.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Day 1.

Took her to the airport. Watched her walk inside with the rolling suitcase. Got back in the car and turned on the radio. This is why I don't listen to the radio, I get angry.

Went home to work and supervise. Dog wouldn't leave me alone. Looked at me with those pleading eyes. "Where is she?"

Walked around in a stupor. All the life has gone out of the house. Is there a reason to live?

Went to the mailbox and found a Kohl's coupon. She would have loved this.

But she's only gone till Sunday.

Still, that's a lot of laundry.

Let Kaitlyn drive home from the gas station. Didn't get to tell her about it. She would have loved to hear about how terrifying it all was, not because Kaitlyn drove poorly, she did fine. Terrifying because she's growing up. And we're growing old.

Dog still clingy.

Day 1 coming to an end.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
My thesis is this: Living at the level of outrage is counterproductive to the authentic Christian life. If outrage drives your life, you will not be able to follow Jesus, you will more likely live in a constant state of frustration rather than peace and contentment.

I’ve noticed something about Christians lately. We live for the next outrage. We’re looking for a place to stand, a place to sink a stake in the ground, to show righteous indignation. To change the culture, change a person, change the world, and the so far the world has been resistant and Christians are frustrated.

The change we desire might be a political, social, or a moral cause, or even an individual heart, but more often our outrage is about something smaller. A movie. A book. What someone wore on a TV show. Lyrics to a song we find offensive. Someone cutting me off in traffic, even.

We become outraged because we care. Because we’re passionate. Because we want to make the world a better place. But at its core, our outrage has little to do with righteousness or justice and more to do with making the world like we want the world to be. In a sense, our outrage is not at the film director, the author of the book or the lyricist of the song, at the core, our outrage is at God himself for not doing things like we would have him do.

My outrage.

Usually what angers me most is what I see others do that I can’t stand in myself.

Outrage is easy. It comes naturally. Love is hard. I have to work at it.

Outrage is fear in respectable clothes. Outrage makes me feel better, like I’ve done something constructive. It feels like weeding life’s garden, but at its core it’s a visceral reaction that’s all about me and my desire to see things fall into place. I am outraged because life is messy and not neat like I want it.

As I wrote this, I was sitting at the front of a grocery store in a café with two baristas around the corner making caffeinated drinks for tired people. I was alone at a table in the corner with my laptop plugged into the wall.

A man approached and glanced my way. Then, moved into the line and finally returned with a drink and settled into a leather chair.

“Anybody say anything to you about being here?”

“No, should they have?”

“The other day I was here and the manager came back and told me I had to leave. She said I was loitering.” He held up his iced coffee. “This should buy me twenty minutes.”

The bile rose. Why would you have a café at the front if you didn’t want people to sit there? Why would they offer wifi? Quickly my mind wandered to the law. What are the rules for business establishments and people sitting in the same spot for extended periods?

This outraged me. How many times have I shopped here and bought hundreds of dollars worth of groceries? Why would a manager chase away paying customers?

So I prepared my speech for the manager. I was ready for her to come around the corner because my new friend said she was working the first register. Then, to make things more respectable, I bought a tall coffee, paid 1.95 to prove that I wasn’t just “loitering.”

And I waited.

I waited for her to see me, to find me, to accuse me. I waited for an altercation, all the while seething inside over times in the past when I had been similarly inconvenienced by someone insensitive to my needs. Like the guy at the repair shop who “fixed” my window the other day and charged me nearly $300. Only the window won’t roll down now. It’s stuck. I was outraged. I still am. I was outraged by his response when I called back to have them “fix” it again.

This happens every day, particularly on talk radio. Hosts fuel the sense of outrage by bringing up topics that inflame our sense of injustice. And we think that by having a strong opinion about a political figure or an issue that we’re doing something with the outrage. We’re giving voice to it. We’re outraged at the left or progressives or the President or the religious right or Westboro Baptist or what Pat Robertson said. We’re outraged at how unbiblical the film Noah is or we’re outraged at people who are outraged about it. Or that church is silent on this issue or that issue.

Last week, it feels like last year, World Vision made a decision that had people so outraged they canceled their support of hungry children in foreign lands. The issue was gay marriage and biblical authority. People who saw this decision by World Vision as good were so outraged that Christians would act this way that they called up to support children. Then World Vision reversed their policy. Some were calmed, others were outraged. And the cycle continues.

In the middle of that discussion I asked one of my favorite questions: What does love look like? With the World Vision decision, pre and post, what does love look like for the Christian who wants to follow in the footsteps of Jesus? What does it look like to live and love the people who made the decision, the people who chose to pull their support, and all in the middle?

When I asked that question on the air, a man wrote and called me an idiot. Twice in the same email he used the word “idiot” because I pondered what Jesus would do, how he would act, how love would move into the world. This man was outraged. I was soft on sin because I dared to bring up the issue of “love” when dealing with the hot potato of gay marriage.

At times Jesus was angry. At times he wept. Sometimes he simply listened and then responded with a question or a story or a riddle. But I would say the guiding force of his life was not outrage. God was not so outraged by the world that he gave his only Son. God did not give his only Son because he was so fuming mad. God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son.

I understand the man who was upset with me and called me an idiot because this is where I live. I live at the level of outrage. I live on the plains of Indignation. And I’m desperately trying to move to some distant town in the hills that is not as barren as this valley. It’s more comfortable to live with measurable anger and angst. The outrage fuels me, pushes me toward the next thing that ticks me off. Toward the manager in the café at the grocery store who will see me and tell me I need to move along, that I’m loitering.

I can live at that level, ready to respond with some snappy retort or file a lawsuit, or, like Jesus, I can move into that person’s life with kindness and understanding. I can ask myself, “I wonder why she would treat a paying customer that way? I wonder what’s going on that would cause her to want to expel the very people that pay her salary?” Is it because young people have vandalized that area or taken advantage of a place where employees can have a break? Is it because she’s as much of a control freak as I am and this little bit of authority makes her feel better at life? Is it because she has a bad marriage or no marriage or a child with a disability? What’s going on in her life?

Maybe I am an idiot for asking the question. Maybe I’m losing my passion for truth. Or, perhaps, I’m being moved along by something greater than my passion to make the world bow to me and my vision of what would be best. Maybe the fuel of my life is changing from outrage to compassion. Maybe I am being dragged, kicking and screaming, to live at the level of love.

I sat in the café and hour and a half and the manager never showed up. My coffee was gone. And so was cup of outrage.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
March 25, 1985. My wife gave birth to our firstborn and we stared at that little miracle with tears. Later that night, after they were tucked snugly in bed, I floated onto the Chicago streets. It was 3 in the morning but I wasn’t scared to walk home. I was a dad.

But things changed two days later. I pulled up to the hospital in our Plymouth Horizon, a gift from Andrea’s parents, and strapped Erin in and drove her home.

As our family grew, we needed a larger car. We bought a Ford Taurus station wagon with a rear facing third seat. Cloth, of course. Erin and Megan loved to wave at semis from back there.

It was that maroon Ford Taurus that we drove to camp one summer, and when Erin wouldn’t stop whatever she was doing, I can’t remember what, I pulled over and made her ride in the third seat with the sleeping bags.

Then came the Chevy Suburban. Near a dusty cornfield in Indiana I pulled over and pulled Erin out. (There is a theme here.) I spoke forcefully but I didn’t know her love language. From the open window came my wife’s worried voice, “Please don’t hurt my baby!”

Then came the 15 passenger van Erin hated. And another Suburban. And by this time, she was driving. Those were wonderful days as Erin found her unique path on the road. I remember the right passenger mirror of the Ford Escort meeting our neighbor’s mailbox and merges onto I-25 that left me with that queasy, first-time-you’ve-ever-looked-over-the-edge-of-the-Grand-Canyon feeling.

Then came her first car. I surprised her with a Honda Accord that was older than she was. And she loved it.

However, the most memorable car story with Erin came when she was 8 years old. My father had given me his 1980 Diesel VW Rabbit. This car sounded like a tank, rattled like one of his old tractors, and when it got below freezing the glow plugs wouldn’t fire. In cold snaps it sat for days. The fuel tank also shrunk and the gauge didn’t work so you never knew when you were running out of fuel.

I sold the Rabbit to a friend who had a paper route, Scott Borg. (Later, his customers would complain about the noise so much that he had to sell it.) I signed the title and waved as he chugged away. When I turned I noticed Erin’s puckered chin. She was crying as she watched the Rabbit leave.

“What’s wrong? What happened?” I thought she had fallen. Perhaps she left a doll in the backseat.

No. She was upset the Rabbit was gone. With further probing I realized this was not just a car to her. We drove to the library and ran errands in the Rabbit. This was the car she looked for as I returned from work, that woke her up when I pulled up at night. To her, this car was part of the family.

I took her inside and tried to explain. Another car would feel less like I was driving a jackhammer. Another car with fewer miles and a bigger gas tank will be a wonderful addition to our family. It’s not that we don’t like the Rabbit, it’s just that we need something else. It was time for the Rabbit to park in another driveway.

I tried to convince her, but she couldn’t stop the tears. There was a loss in her life, a hole only an old diesel Rabbit could fill. And once that thing has wedged itself into your heart, it is always there.
The truth is, she wedged herself into my heart. And now, after what seems like about a day, it’s time for a new journey. I will walk arm in arm with her and give her to someone who will love and protect and provide. I’m not scared of the walk. I am a dad.
Friday, January 24, 2014
This is where I grew up. My dad loved his tractor and the fields and the rolling hills.