By Joel A. Hess

Lions don’t make good pets. Every year we read a story about some poor fool who wanted to have a wild animal as a pet. A couple of years ago, a woman’s monkey mauled her friend. I remember trying to have a raccoon as a pet. It didn’t work out for either of us. Then, of course, there are pythons sneaking in the neighbor’s bushes, alligators in New York sewers, and from time to time a Lion leaping over his owner’s fence and rambling down Highway 131. Wild animals don’t make good pets. Yet we can’t help trying to domesticate them.

By Scott Keith

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25

When I’m not traveling for work, I like to spend as much time as possible in the mountains at our little cabin in the woods. Quite simply, it recharges me. The work needed to keep the place up, starting the fire in the morning, the slower pace of life, and the natural beauty all bring me a sense of calm and peace that I don’t always possess when I’m “down the hill.” I have always thought of the mountains as home, and so whenever possible, I follow the well know mantra uttered by Jon Muir: “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”

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.