20 Years Ago This Week…

Twenty years ago this week, Dave brought me home for Christmas. Except that he didn’t tell his parents we were dating. He hadn’t even told me we were dating. We had, in fact, been “hanging out” for about six months (yep, that’s months) and he had yet to declare his intentions. But there I was, at his parents’ house in Long Island. Let me give you some background: David McGee is one of the smartest guys I know. He is also one of the godliest. And he never makes rash decisions. He’s researched cars for close to a year before making a purchase. When he was choosing a seminary, he poured over pamphlets, spoke to every seminary graduate he knew, seeking advice. Whatever the opposite of “spontaneous” is — that’s Dave. And it’s a great thing. God made him cautious,...

Good Deeds

“Doing Good” is part of almost every religion, part of groups on every side of the political landscape; it is part of slogans and campaigns. It is everywhere. Christians don’t have the corner on the “Good Deeds” market. But we do have a reason for doing good that is different than anyone else’s. Or, at least, we should. In one of Jesus’ most famous sermons, he said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16) So why do we do good? To glorify God and point people to Him. But, sometimes, I think even Christians forget that. In fact, sometimes, I think Christians fall into the trap of thinking doing good for others means that good will happen to them. They take the idea of “karma” from eastern...

Sex and the Christian Teenager

Teens today are having sex. A lot. Studies indicate that at least half of all teenagers are sexually active in high school. Personally, I think that number is conservative. It is as casual a part of many relationships as the goodnight kiss was back in the “old days.” It isn’t a stigma, isn’t embarrassing,isn’t shameful. It is considered a natural part of adolescence, necessary, even beneficial. Those who disagree with this view of sex are seen as ridiculous prudes. We are mocked on TV shows, movies, even Broadway musicals. “What is the big deal?” They say. It’s a primal need, an itch that needs to be scratched. Monogamy in general is hopelessly out of fashion, even within marriage. So abstinence before marriage??...

Shut Your Mouth!

I have several talents I am grateful for, that I hone and try to improve, that I practice alone and with groups. But I have one particular talent that brings me far more shame than pleasure: speaking without thinking. I have used this talent in far too many places with far too many people to far too disastrous results. It’s not always end-of-the-world stuff. But it is always annoying at best and damaging at worst. When I was in college, my friends would laugh at me because, no matter what was being discussed, I’d have a story for it. Rather than listening to what others were saying, engaging them, asking them questions about their story, I sat waiting, mentally preparing for when I could speak and regale the group with my story. Looking back now, I realize how...

The Semester Exam Principle

“You’re going to test us over EVERYTHING we’ve learned this whole semester?” Semester exams are just a few weeks away and students who have barely said a word for the last few months are suddenly wide awake and quite vocal. “But why??” “We can use notes, right?” “You don’t mean everything do you?” I used to be super easy in my semester exams. It is a lot of material, and the students do have several other classes to keep up with, and, yes, you can successfully navigate life without being able to identify a predicate nominative or explain the theme of “Tell Tale Heart.” I have changed, though. Now, I do test over everything, and I do expect my students to be able to identify a predicate...

The WORST 4-Letter Word

There’s a new 4-letter word these days: a word that causes chaos in checkout lines and rages at red lights, a word whose very syllable makes us cringe in horror. We hear – or experience – this word and our entire day can be ruined. That word? Move small children away from the screen….           WAIT. Mmmm-hmmm. We used to have wait for stuff all the time. I waited for “Wizard of Oz” to come on TV (once a year, at Christmas, right after “Sound of Music”). I waited for cartoons on Saturday mornings. I waited to get my film developed to see what my pictures looked like. Later, I waited for Dave to get off the phone so I could get online. Then I waited for the dial-up internet to pop up on my...