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Perhaps it was a word said, perhaps it was a dream — but for whatever reason something occasionally comes along to “jar” or “shake loose” a memory about the past. Once that happens, it jars the memory of another and another to where, like puzzle pieces, the story falls into place. It happene…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Recently, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and Bummercloud in Chief, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed concerns over families gathering together for a traditional Thanksgiving celebration this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oh, for the love of modern technology. There is nothing like sitting in a restaurant and watching a woman (much younger than your are) toss their new cell phone across the room and with much frustration clearly stating “modern technology is so frustrating!”

OK, let’s get the obvious out of the way. 2020 was the year of COVID-19, also known as corona (minus the lime), the plague, the super crud or, as my dad calls it (and most other contagious illnesses), “the rooty-gootus.” But what else happened in 2020?

If there was a way for Texas to expand health insurance coverage to nearly a million of the state’s most vulnerable people, enhancing their access to needed care, I think we can all agree that would be a very good thing.

When I was a child and growing up in a small rural town, the nearest public library was 30 miles away. Periodically a book mobile (a library on wheels) would arrive at the school and we could “check out” books.

What is wrong with our World? Look around, and you will see suffering, tragedies, sorrow, evil and death. Why is the world such a mess? Perhaps it is because man is polluting the world, or maybe it is big government overreaching and enslaving the citizens. On the other hand, it could be unco…

Now that we are well into the month of December, my three teenage daughters have provided me with their extensive Christmas lists — both electronic and hard copies — in triplicate. Full of the typical objects of adolescent desires like designer clothing, electronics, jewelry and luxury vehic…

Thanksgiving has almost forever been my favorite holiday. The pace is right, the faces are familiar and relaxed, and — for those of us not charged with weaving the crust atop the pie or deviling the eggs — there is simply no pressure.

One television viewer may cheer for or yell at game-show contestants and another television viewer may cheer for or yell at athletes or the referees of their competition, but both viewers would probably admit that their responses at home do not really make a difference to the outcome of the …

It is the holidays, with winter fast approaching. There is nothing any better than a good book to read or to give as a gift. Publishing houses scramble to get the latest print edition into the marketing place and all boast of having the latest bestseller. Requests for an interview with the a…

When Kenneth Smart hired me to be sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald back in 1987, I assumed he did so because he found someone willing to work 80-hour weeks covering sporting events for basically enough money to keep gas in the truck … to cover more sporting events.

If you had a roof over your head on Thanksgiving this year, you were blessed. If you had food on the table, you were blessed, and if you were acknowledged somehow and sometime throughout the day by family and friends, you were blessed.

I’ve always taken great pride in the tender care I give to my cell phone. Until recently, I could boast that with all of the various cellular devices I’ve possessed through the years (dating back to the first Motorola bag phone my dad gave me during the Early Iron Age), I’d never once had so…

In our family, it’s usually one of my two driving teen daughters who violates social distancing guidelines with her bumper. Recently, though, I experienced my own embarrassing accident on my morning commute to work when my SUV skidded on the wet roadway and struck a curb dangerously close to a Sonic Drive-In. (At the time, I may or may not have been daydreaming about the SuperSonic Breakfast Burrito–literally bursting with golden tots.)

After watching the daily COVID-19 coverage on CNN, I’ve found that the best way to overcome lingering thoughts of despair, hopelessness, and Chris Cuomo is by going on a brisk walk around our neighborhood with my wife. Not only do we get some exercise, but it also gives us a chance to vent about the worries and frustrations of living with three teenage daughters during a pandemic, which makes us feel depressed and hopeless again, but at least we’re exhausted and sweaty.

One of the precious few escapes from the soul-sucking stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has been bonding with our couches and sweatpants while watching scores of movies. Whether we’re streaming one of Robert De Niro’s talented portrayals of characters who enjoy shooting people in the face, or dusting off our fossilized VHS players so that we can see the original, untainted Star Wars trilogy–before George Lucas tried to turn it into a digital effects-laden pile of Ewok manure–movies have a way of transporting us to galaxies and murder scenes far, far away

You won’t see any greeting cards celebrating it, and it’s not likely to be on your calendar, but in just a few weeks, National 401(k) Day will be observed. And this type of recognition may be warranted, too, because 401(k) plans have become key building blocks for a big part of people’s lives – a comfortable retirement. Are you making the most of your 401(k)?

I’ve known people who say that they are not religious—not Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim. Sociologists of religion would classify such individuals as “nones.” The Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life came out with a study last year that found Protestantism and Catholicism in rapid decline in the United States while the religiously unaffiliated portion of the country is growing exponentially. My own denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), has shrunk by more than half since 1980. Last year the Southern Baptist Convention saw the largest percentage drop in church membership in the last 100 years. Are we headed to a place in our country where religion is all but obsolete? Are we becoming a religion-less society?

One of the precious few escapes from the soul-sucking stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has been bonding with our couches and sweatpants while watching scores of movies. Whether we’re streaming one of Robert De Niro’s talented portrayals of characters who enjoy shooting people in the face, or dusting off our fossilized VHS players so that we can see the original, untainted Star Wars trilogy–before George Lucas tried to turn it into a digital effects-laden pile of Ewok manure–movies have a way of transporting us to galaxies and murder scenes far, far away

Warning! The following column contains what some readers may consider to be objectionable (and absolutely accurate) gender stereotypes! Offended parties should try traveling on a long distance road trip with six female persons–five of whom are deep in the throes of hormone-inflicted teenagehood–and then grow a big, swollen, hairy sense of humor. (Actually, they might want to grow the humor tumor before travelling.)

My wife and I recently accepted this challenge on a trip to the beach with our three teenage daughters and two of their friends. We all needed a change of scenery from the COVID-19 crisis in our hometown so that we could experience it in someone else’s hometown. As the sole representative of the dude denomination in an SUV laboring under the strain of enough luggage and snacks to supply the next SpaceX mission, I couldn’t help but take a few notes-to-self for future forgetting.

First, when traveling with a group of mature, even-tempered young ladies, you should avoid trying to determine why they are constantly giggling. Giggling is apparently a complex linguistic tool used by groups of teen females to express an array of emotional responses to external stimuli, most of which emanate from a cell phone screen. If you dare to inquire about the exact source of their giggling, your query will be met by a few seconds of stunned silence, followed by an explosive burst of even more frenzied giggling. A suggestion by you that the giggling might be in any way related to the hairy-legged variety of teenage male will result in acute spasms of convulsive giggling that could require medical attention (for you and the gigglers). In other words, just try to ignore it–and good luck with that!

Another strategy to ensure a more harmonious environment among the travelers is to refrain from insisting that everyone listen to decent

music on the vehicle’s sound system. For example, a high-quality 1980’s music playlist will evoke subtle groaning from most of the teenage passengers, followed by the insertion of expensive wireless earbuds that will allow them to ignore your pleas that everyone join in on a rousing chorus of “Rock Me Amadeus.” Instead, it’s just best to open your musical horizons to the vapid refrains of current teen heartthrobs like Harry Styles, The Weekend, Shawn Mendes and something called Marshmello. Allowing the teens to control the music will make them more content and responsive, but you may have to resist flinging yourself out of the moving vehicle.

Along with enduring their insufferable music and chronic tittering, travelers with teen girls must prepare themselves for the incessant distraction of self-photography. In addition to abusing their iPhone SIM cards and risking lip sprains from making duck faces, fish gapes and model pouts, teen travelers also take reams of mini “Polaroids” and occasionally break out 35mm digital cameras that cost me more than their orthodontic work. They usually reserve group photo sessions to memorialize special occasions–like gas station restroom stops.

And speaking of restroom stops, there are few things more humiliating than being the only male in the car and requiring the men’s room while all six ladies could happily go another 100 miles before they have to “go.” Despite trying to limit my intake of Diet Dr Pepper to a gallon or so per trip, I always seem to be the one sprinting into a filthy convenience store for a bathroom break and then fighting the urge to purchase their entire display of jumbo pecan logs.

Once we reached our destination, we had a great time vacationing together, and I’m glad the girls could enjoy an escape from the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic for a few days of rest and relaxation–even if they did have to cover their duck faces with a mask. I’m also proud to

say that I didn’t buy a single pecan log for the entire trip and made it home with my humor tumor a little bruised, but safely intact.

On the basis of Holy Scripture, Lutherans believe, teach, and confess that Holy Scripture is Divinely inspired and therefore also that all that Holy Scripture says is entitled to the same faith and obedience that is due to God; that Holy Scripture effects things in people that far exceed human power, especially working faith in people; that Holy Scripture teaches everything people must know to be saved; and that Holy Scripture teaches everything people must know to be saved in language that can be understood by all, so that, for example,  members of congregations can judge the teaching of their pastors.

Several months ago, I spotted them. I noticed three white hairs growing near the front of my forehead. My initial thought was “oh no, this is the beginning of the end.” In contemporary culture, aging is not celebrated but is rather dreaded and resisted. Recent figures back up my claim. The global anti-wrinkle products market was valued at 20.25 billion in 2018 and is expected to increase by 5.7 percent by 2025. Such numbers reveal we have an unhealthy infatuation with youthfulness, and a distorted perspective on growing old. Sadly, the church has not been immune to our culture’s thinking on age. Many people believe that a congregation of young people and younger families is a sign of vitality while one made up of older adults is an indication of decline.

Warning! The following column contains what some readers may consider to be objectionable (and absolutely accurate) gender stereotypes! Offended parties should try traveling on a long distance road trip with six female persons–five of whom are deep in the throes of hormone-inflicted teenagehood–and then grow a big, swollen, hairy sense of humor. (Actually, they might want to grow the humor tumor before travelling.)

My wife and I recently accepted this challenge on a trip to the beach with our three teenage daughters and two of their friends. We all needed a change of scenery from the COVID-19 crisis in our hometown so that we could experience it in someone else’s hometown. As the sole representative of the dude denomination in an SUV laboring under the strain of enough luggage and snacks to supply the next SpaceX mission, I couldn’t help but take a few notes-to-self for future forgetting.

First, when traveling with a group of mature, even-tempered young ladies, you should avoid trying to determine why they are constantly giggling. Giggling is apparently a complex linguistic tool used by groups of teen females to express an array of emotional responses to external stimuli, most of which emanate from a cell phone screen. If you dare to inquire about the exact source of their giggling, your query will be met by a few seconds of stunned silence, followed by an explosive burst of even more frenzied giggling. A suggestion by you that the giggling might be in any way related to the hairy-legged variety of teenage male will result in acute spasms of convulsive giggling that could require medical attention (for you and the gigglers). In other words, just try to ignore it–and good luck with that!

Another strategy to ensure a more harmonious environment among the travelers is to refrain from insisting that everyone listen to decent

music on the vehicle’s sound system. For example, a high-quality 1980’s music playlist will evoke subtle groaning from most of the teenage passengers, followed by the insertion of expensive wireless earbuds that will allow them to ignore your pleas that everyone join in on a rousing chorus of “Rock Me Amadeus.” Instead, it’s just best to open your musical horizons to the vapid refrains of current teen heartthrobs like Harry Styles, The Weekend, Shawn Mendes and something called Marshmello. Allowing the teens to control the music will make them more content and responsive, but you may have to resist flinging yourself out of the moving vehicle.

Along with enduring their insufferable music and chronic tittering, travelers with teen girls must prepare themselves for the incessant distraction of self-photography. In addition to abusing their iPhone SIM cards and risking lip sprains from making duck faces, fish gapes and model pouts, teen travelers also take reams of mini “Polaroids” and occasionally break out 35mm digital cameras that cost me more than their orthodontic work. They usually reserve group photo sessions to memorialize special occasions–like gas station restroom stops.

And speaking of restroom stops, there are few things more humiliating than being the only male in the car and requiring the men’s room while all six ladies could happily go another 100 miles before they have to “go.” Despite trying to limit my intake of Diet Dr Pepper to a gallon or so per trip, I always seem to be the one sprinting into a filthy convenience store for a bathroom break and then fighting the urge to purchase their entire display of jumbo pecan logs.

Once we reached our destination, we had a great time vacationing together, and I’m glad the girls could enjoy an escape from the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic for a few days of rest and relaxation–even if they did have to cover their duck faces with a mask. I’m also proud to

say that I didn’t buy a single pecan log for the entire trip and made it home with my humor tumor a little bruised, but safely intact.

“Travel is a gift you bring home,” says Peter Egan

Egan is a gifted writer, not at all what you'd expect from a guy who writes for a motorcycle magazine. More than a motorcycle writer, he's an essayist who includes motorcycles in his essays.

Many things can be self-taught.

I’ve known people who taught themselves how to sow sweaters. When I was a theological student, I met a woman who taught herself how to read biblical Greek in a matter of a few weeks. My wife’s uncle was a successful investment firm manager by day, but self-taught wood worker by night. He got so good at woodworking that if you walk into a brewpub in Milwaukee today, you will likely sit at a table that he made.

The latest controversial removals of secular historical monuments and memorials have me thinking about reminders of history in the Bible, where physical tokens were intended to remind God’s people both of what were arguably bad events and of what were arguably good events.

I'm happy to admit I'll take advantage of freebies when they're available and the accepting is honorable. When free is not an option, I'm not too proud to take the really good deal.

In recent years, we’ve been hearing a lot about the possible demise of shopping malls in America, and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation seems particularly dire–especially for us nostalgic dweebs of the 1980’s who depended on malls for our embarrassing fashion choices and futile dating rituals. Well, I say it’s time to take a stand, and I’m proud that my three daughters (and my Visa card) are doing everything in their power to keep malls alive and me in debt.

I don’t know about you, but the next time I hear someone refer to the “new normal,” I think I might scream into my middle daughter’s unacceptable new bikini bottoms that I plan to confiscate and turn into a coronavirus face mask. If adjusting my daily activities according to COVID-19 protocol is now the norm, I’m ready to declare myself an official freakazoid, which is how most people (especially my family members) see me, anyway.

Every human life is equally created by God the Father through our biological parents, objectively redeemed by His Son Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and subjectively sanctifiable by the Holy Spirit’s work through His Word and Sacraments. And so, every human life is equally valuable to God, as every human life should be equally valuable to us.