Precious Book and Angel Band

the author as a little girl with her sister, mother, and grandmother

When my kid sister (Jenna) and I were very young children, Grandma Lena Henry (1884–1966) had pet names for us. I was Precious Book. Jenna was Angel Band. Whenever our family pulled up to our grandparents’ home for a visit, Grandma would be waiting on the porch. Then she’d shout across the yard (and into the next county!), “Here they…

Read More

Ezekiel vs. the Dark Side

old map of Babylon

Kids (and adults) look to sports stars, world travelers, movie/cartoon characters, or military figures as their heroes. Bible heroes don’t often top the list, but if we read their contexts carefully, the elements of a great adventure—exotic settings, danger, rejection, races against time, supernatural “interference” (good and bad)—are all there. Consider Ezekiel. Back story: Assyria, under the vile King Sennacherib,…

Read More

A New Name—and It’s Free!

kaimyo on wooden stakes in Japanese graveyard

When we lived in Japan, we learned that one aspect of a Buddhist funeral is that the priest creates a name (kaimyo) that is assigned to the dead person for use in the afterlife. There is also superstition that if the deceased isn’t given a proper send-off, he becomes a wandering spirit, who might possibly come back to commit mischief.…

Read More

How Silly!

rusty lock on old door

I talk a lot about the trendy but biblically erroneous teachings on new spiritual technologies. The suggestion that we can finally unlock the “secrets” to a full life of faith capitalizes on our culture’s desperate search for purpose and prevalent “fear of missing out” (see more on those topics here and here). But not only is it dangerous for Christians…

Read More

Keep an Eye on the Door

soldier in hat and sunglasses

Several years ago I was meeting my cousin Lafe for dinner. Having arrived at the restaurant quite a bit early, I took the side of the booth that faced the door so I could wave when he arrived. He came in wearing a cap and sunglasses with small lenses, looking—as I’d thought so often before—like the perfect poster guy for…

Read More