By Paul Koch

Sometimes in life we find ourselves looking around at the world in which we live, and we honestly wonder what has happened. It is difficult to recognize the world that we knew through younger eyes. Not that we’re overly innocent or blind to the slow creep of cultural changes but occasionally we find ourselves longing for a world, a country, and even a church that we no longer find around us. Recently we’ve watched the protests and marches on Washington as people fear for what might be happening to this country. We hear the slow roar of divisive rhetoric that deepens an ideological divide among the people. There are those who argue that walls and travel bans are un-American and will not be tolerated. Then there are those who are glad that our President doesn’t fit the usual political mold and will do the unpopular thing to protect the people. So, we watch the news and listen to talk radio and wonder what in the world is happening to our country.

By Joel A. Hess

How often have you been told by your wise friends, “It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.” Or as one of the originators of many pseudo smart sayings, Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” It sounds comfy, right? The saying is supposed to elevate the challenges of life so they don’t seem meaningless. The saying highlights the now-ness of life hoping to get people to embrace it rather than unknown future.

By Bob Hiller

This past week, I came across an article from Christianity Today entitled “Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters.” In it, author Christena Cleveland argues that the Western church has done a great disservice to the church by presenting Jesus as a white male. She argues that Jesus, as a first century Jew, would not have been a member of the powerful, white Roman class. Instead, he was a dark, olive-skinned member of a social minority.

By Paul Koch

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:19) This statement by St. Paul is a treasure. It gets to the heart of what this day is all about. If in this life only we have hope, then what’s the point? Why the celebration? Why all the joy and excitement? To worship a Jesus that brings hope in this life only is the type of Jesus that the world likes. He fits into boundaries of our expectation and He is easily controlled and contained.

By Joel A Hess

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.”

By Jaime Nava

Growing up we had some well abused “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. You roll stats by randomly choosing a number on the last page for certain abilities or something of the sort. Once that is done, you begin on the first page. From there things are off and running. You would get a few paragraphs and then you had to choose which path to take. It would tell you which page to turn to and start on the next branch of choices.

By Cindy Koch

“RUN!” Brian screamed. A startled pack of neighborhood children scattered across the dark foggy grass. I remember tripping over my younger next door neighbor, Andy, and skidding across the black damp lawn. Several terrified lengths behind the safety of the frightened group, I was exposed. Screeching tires pierced the deathly quiet night, and I knew they were coming for me. Trembling and clumsily finding my balance, I peeked over my shoulder to see how much time I had to hide. But just as I looked back, a rusty mud-stained Ford pick-up swung its evil headlights around that fatal house on the corner of my street.