June 2009

Leading in the Lands of the Free

My seven-year-old son is on a freedom kick. Whenever we talk about a country (and this is often, since he and my five-year-old daughter are also on geography kicks), he'll ask: "Do they have freedom there?"

I love that he asks this. Because when the answer is "yes" it gives us an opportunity to talk about what cool things and amazing opportunities ...

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Weary of the Gender Wars

I grew up in the faith while "Onward Christian Soldiers" was still regularly sung at church. However, due to the Viet Nam War, it lost its appeal as we were bombarded with the images of war on the nightly news. I learned very quickly that war is costly: two members of my church youth group were killed within months of each other.

Then, through my reading of ...

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Why Don't We Feel Like We Have Enough?

In late winter, a new Salvation Army store opened with surprising fanfare in my mid-Michigan hometown. At the Grand Opening, bargain shoppers started lining up outside in 30 degree weather at 7 a.m. and patiently waited two hours for the manager to unlock the doors. When he did, it took 20 minutes for the crowd to file inside.

Throughout the day, shoppers again waited ...

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How to Take a Compliment

While checking my children into the nursery at church last week, an acquaintance of mine approached. "Susan, this is who I've been telling you about!" she exclaimed, pulling her friend behind her. She turned to me with a big smile. "I've been telling Susan all about you, how you're so good at speaking. You are the best teacher!"

I froze, ...

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Leaders Should Consider Twitter

Though it's been around for three years, Twitter hit the main stage of American culture when Oprah decided to write her first tweet. Though the site was excelling before the Oprah nod, more people are on Twitter today than ever before. So why should you consider signing up?

1. By Signing Up for Twitter, You Can Avoid the Blank Stares. In our modern age, there are some ...

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Wondering Why We're Sent

When I walk into a roomful of strangers, I engage in what is, at best, a self-imposed test in discernment; at worst a superficial gamble. I scan the women to whom I will be speaking and instinctually begin an imprecise version of memory, flipping cards in a lame attempt to match the earnestness of their smiles with the state of their souls. I do it with pretense, albeit ...

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Seeing Yourself in Scripture

As friends and I met for dinner to enjoy pictures of mutual friends' wedding, their four-year-old joined in the fun. At one stage I asked this child which picture was her favorite, and she quickly pointed to one saying "This one!" When I asked why, she pointed again and said the name of her best friend. Her parents and I strained our eyes to have another look. ...

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Leading in a Complaining Culture

One of the most taxing things one encounters when mothering a three-year old boy is the whining: the use of an annoyingly complaining voice. One would think - and many experts assert - that if a child is never given the item for which he whines and is always required to rephrase his request politely, the behavior would eventually be extinguished. But no such luck in our ...

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Confessions of a Finite Follower

"How long will it be before I am better?" I asked a trusted mentor and advisor. He thought for a moment and replied, "If you are really careful, I expect you'll be somewhat recovered and almost back to normal in about eight months." I blinked in disbelief. Eight months? It was not the answer I wanted or expected. A week, a month, at most, but eight ...

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