A Man Called Otto (Revisited)

It’s an unforgettable film with a timeless message

If your first name is Otto,
if the world thinks you’re strange,
can you hope for redemption?
Can your selfish ways change?

Can the losses you’ve suffered
create space in your heart
for the lost and the lonely
who are God’s work of art?

Though your life’s not worth living
(or so it may seem),
can you find renewed purpose
in a dying friend’s dream?

Can a cause to believe in
find you reborn within
though your past has been littered
by anger and sin?

Can your first love be kindled
though you grieve for what’s gone?
Can God’s grace and forgiveness
find you singing a song?

While your days may be numbered
and the end is at hand,
can you serve where you’re needed
as the Good Lord has planned?

That’s my prayer for you, Otto.
That you live while you can.
That you seize what you’re given
and die a loved man.

View a trailer of A Man Called Otto here:

With Thoughts of My Dad

From the time I was three I wanted to be like my dad

When I sit at my keyboard,
the sick are consoled.
Those troubled in spirit
are suddenly whole.

The grieving, encouraged.
The worried, relieved.
When I type “in the Spirit,”
God’s will is achieved.

If I asked how I learned how
to uplift the sad,
I know what to answer.
I credit my dad.

You modeled the comfort
the Scripture affords
when you translate God’s truth
into everyday words.

I miss you, Pop!

** I wrote this wee verse (based on the accompanying photo) for my pastor-dad as my Fathers’ Day greeting in 1999. The photo pictures me as a three-year-old sitting at my dad’s manual Royal typewriter in his church office in 1955. My dad passed away on November 4, 2008 at the age of eighty-two.

Robbed of Life

Another mass shooting finds us hugging our kids and looking to God

Uvalde grieves.
We all grieve
for children robbed of life
at Robb Elementary.

Children who came to school in a bus
and left in a hearse.
Could anything be worse?

It’s hard to imagine.
It’s hard to comprehend.
It’s hardly elementary.
It’s complicated.
It’s evil.

It’s a duplicate snapshot
of our wounded nation
that continues to hemorrhage from the inside out.

It’s a faded photograph
of a broken hearted country
still unable to breathe
on this second anniversary
of another
senseless act of violence.

It’s an image
that violates the value
with which those
made in the Creator’s image
were born.

Imago dei.
You and me.
In Uvalde and everywhere.
A human being
one with another.
A human being
enraged by violence.
A human being
open to the voice of God.

Speak, Lord, Your people are listening!

Weeping with Those Who Weep

Who can you comfort today?

While slaloming through daily commitments,
other’s expectations
can get in our head
and crowd out our confidence.

As a result, we miss a gate.
We make mistakes.
We question our competence
and replay our regrets.

We temporarily forget that CHAMP
is spelled with an A and not a U.

We long for a shoulder to cry on
and hear someone who believes in us
remind us what we are capable of.

We need to know we’re not alone.
We need to realize that others understand.

And once we realize that the thrill of victory
and the agony of defeat is a common to our race,
we need to be at the finish line (or before)
to comfort those in pain.

Who can you comfort today?

“Rejoice with those who rejoice.
Weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15