Published July 26th, 2017 by

I was looking at photos and video from our trip to Maine in July 2016. I wanted to paint these girls playing on a float on Blue Hill Bay in a way that would communicate activity and the passage of time. I decided to create a series of five small paintings in a left-to-right timeline depicting the girls in different positions on the float as they moved from one side to the other, in order to look at a crab they found. But, I was unsure if it would communicate what I wanted — and, that was the downfall of this project.… Read the rest

Published June 29th, 2017 by

I spent a couple hours arranging my upcoming book and, so far, it looks like I’ll have a 175-200 page general Introduction to the Baha’i Faith for Christian Readers. Actually, I’ll try to make it accessible to any reader, but it will be written from my perspective as an Evangelical Christian — I’ll be presenting the material in a semi-autobiographical fashion. There are a couple of reasons for this approach, but the most practical consideration for presenting this material to someone new to the Baha’i Faith is where we find ourselves in history — we are entering in on the “ground floor” of Baha’i history and development as a distinct religion.… Read the rest

Published June 27th, 2017 by

Back in 1988, I received my first promotion to become the Postmaster at Camptonville CA. In 2014, I would become the last Postmaster of Camptonville, but that’s another story and another post. This one’s about the failure of musical education in the United States.

I needed a radio for my small rural post office with a good adjustable antenna to pick up stations from the Bay Area. It was June and I went to the local Long’s Drug Store (now, CVS), because they sold consumer electronics at the time. I found a ghetto blaster that looked promising: it had an impressive telescoping antenna, tone controls, headroom, and a cassette player.… Read the rest

Published June 22nd, 2017 by

I’ve been wanting to return to the blog and have a number of posts in the queue — strange that this will be the first one published since back in March. It’s not a subject I felt compelled to write about in the past, but Denise and I just finished watching the Grateful Dead documentary, Long Strange Trip, on Netflix

We were real live Deadheads for a short time and this film pulled back the curtain to reveal why we never felt that compatible with the band’s following and eventually lost interest in the Grateful Dead, a band we enthusiastically embraced almost 50 years ago.… Read the rest

Published March 15th, 2017 by

I knew Winston Churchill was a painter, but only recently heard of his essay, Painting As A Pastime. Former President George W. Bush credited this little book with both his deliverance from “sitting on the couch, eating potato chips” in retirement and awakening in him a newfound passion for art and painting. I thought I’d read the essay online, but The Estate of Winston S. Churchill has a tight hold on the former British Prime Minister’s massive collection of writings and correspondence.

I read the reviews and found this gem on Amazon.com “used” — it was actually new and I picked it up for about the price of a sugary, dairy-based corporate coffee drink.… Read the rest

Published February 11th, 2017 by

So, you are concerned about children in poverty, consumerism, nutrition, and the harmful effects of fossil fuels on the environment? Why place your hope in politicians, administrations, and government institutions that swerve back and forth with each new Congress or administration? Try doing what we do: buy stock and become a shareholder in some of the more progressive corporations on the exchange. As a shareholder, you have rights and the ability to move those companies in the direction of positive social change.

This constructive way forward to influence culture and policy came to me through exposure to the divestment movement and its questionable effectiveness.… Read the rest

Published February 10th, 2017 by

This week, I began a series on how to go forward in a positive way for Americans living with President Trump’s administration. One of the most contentious issues over the past year has been the public funding of women’s health and Planned Parenthood, in particular.

This is a controversy I know a little something about. First, Denise and I have been committed to women’s health in a substantial way for decades and I’ll discuss that a bit more when I share our practical solutions for remaining committed, regardless of which way the cultural and political winds are blowing. Second, I researched the public funding of Planned Parenthood back in the 1990’s, while engaged in a dialogue with Maine Representative John Baldacci (D) — later, Governor Baldacci.… Read the rest

Published February 9th, 2017 by

These are contentious times: A couple days ago, I began a series of posts with the aim to reach across the divide and seek practical solutions to issues most of us are concerned about. I’d like to talk about one practical step I’m taking to positively impact the natural world we all share.  I’ll begin with a sketch of my environmental philosophy.

First, I’m not freaked out about a change in command at the EPA. The agency was started years ago by President Richard Nixon and has been going back and forth between Democrat and Republican administrations for decades. If you’re concerned, perhaps this article by a man who was a former special agent and director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division will ease your mind a bit.… Read the rest

Published February 8th, 2017 by

It’s 2017 and President Obama is free to enjoy a well-deserved season of relaxation — being President of the United States has to be one of the most difficult jobs on earth!

I didn’t vote for President Trump in 2016 nor do I plan on casting my ballot for him in 2020, if he’s a candidate. So, I have some sympathy for those who were disappointed back in November, but little patience for much of the hysteria that has followed his inauguration.

I plan to move forward in 2017 in much the same way I planned to if Secretary Clinton had won the election and have done through past administrations.… Read the rest

Published January 19th, 2017 by

Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns

Let me begin my post about this book with one of the endorsements from the back cover:

Offenses will come. It’s a given. Unpacking Forgiveness wisely prepares us for the aftermath. Grieving the loss of our six children in a van accident and then being reminded of that loss throughout thirteen years of subsequent battles forced us to search the Scriptures concerning the issue of forgiveness. Chris not only has confirmed answers that we had found but has thoroughly sorted out what it takes to be right with God and man.

Read the rest