On Holy Ground

Blog

By Alex Rodriguez

Nearly 20 years ago, I donned a police officer's uniform for the very first time. I spent the first few months riding with other officers. Then one day, it was my turn to solo. I recall having a healthy balance of nervousness and excitement. I was excited to be on my own. I was a full-fledged officer and could now make decisions without having to ask my partner. On the other hand, I did not have a partner in the car with me. The years of wisdom—which I had learned to rely on—were gone. Now I was on my own. That was a bit frightening. 

Activity or Achievement?

Blog

By Jean Boonstra

I tackle the flower beds that line the driveway, pulling up weeds and trimming dead leaves and flowers. I then move, systematically, to the flower beds lining the front walk. I give the flower beds on the south side of the lawn some extra careful attention since they border our neighbor's pristine green grassy lawn. I spend the better part of an hour in the front, before moving to the back yard. I'm far less thorough back there. I usually assess the area of greatest need, tackle it and head back inside knowing the back yard really deserves a dedicated day of my time.

The Tragedy of Refusing to Live Free

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By Shawn Boonstra

Nevermind that he was a deposed conqueror, and nevermind the fact that any one of us would have found the home utterly massive and luxurious; Napoleon complained about it until the day he died. 

His cries were loud enough that the British government feared that word would spread to France that Napoleon was being mistreated. They started construction on New Longwood House, an even more luxurious property.  

I Hope Next Month Is Better!

Blog

By Alex Rodriguez

After several days of fasting, an IV, and a boatload of meds, I was up and somewhat going. I don't think I've ever been so glad to be heading home. I was looking forward to spending time with the family and getting 100% healthy. But as soon as I walked into the house, there she was. My little girl saw me and ran into my arms. I loved every moment of it and yet I cringed. My kids had spent the week at Vacation Bible Experience and I could tell my daughter was getting sick. 

Born a Citizen

Blog

By Jean Boonstra

In Jerusalem, Paul tried to blend in with the crowd. The ominous words of warning likely echoed in his head as he approached the temple. Inside, he got away with being there for a while. These were the days before a person of interest popped up on handheld devices and big screens on every corner. Paul almost got away with his visit, until some in the crowd recognized him from his travels in Asia. These men protested Paul's presence voraciously. 

The "Neck Verse"

Blog

By Shawn Boonstra

In the medieval legal system, the penalties imposed on clergy were far more lenient than those imposed on the rest of the population, because it was believed that clergy should not be subject to civil courts. They worked for God, so they were to be tried by an ecclesiastical court.  

The principle was known, legally, as the "benefit of clergy," and it could mean the difference between life and death. In a secular court, the charges brought against you could mean the gallows. The same charges in an ecclesiastical court might mean a slap on the wrist.  

I Just Need Friends

Blog

By Kurt Johnson

I call Ray regularly when I am traveling and stop by to visit when I can. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in Ray’s living room, catching up on life. We talked about baseball, the NBA playoffs and the upcoming Stanley Cup. He is an avid sports fan and can tell you names of players and the year and month they made a spectacular play. He is also a walking GPS regarding routes to take through some of the most beautiful wilderness country in the western United States.

Taking Back Your Dreams

Blog

By Shawn Boonstra

It probably didn't help that spring had not yet arrived; I tried to picture the tree with a full head of green leaves, but it didn't help. I was about to continue my walk when I noticed that the side of the trunk had split open, exposing evidence of a much younger tree that had been encased deep inside the coarse exterior over time. Was it an absorbed twin, or the younger heart of the same tree?

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