Showing posts from December, 2023

Bah! Humbug!

When I worked in the newsroom in the 60s and 70s, Lo uis Cassels was one of my favorite news writers. A Washington Correspondent for UPI for many years, he later came its national religion writer. In 1959 he wrote a parable for UPI that will last forever. I was News Director of WJBL in Holland when I first tore that copy off our newsroom teletype machine and aired it. For the next 25 years my listeners, first in Holland and then in Grand Haven, heard me read this parable at Christmas time. This many years later, as the founder of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS, I traditionally share this beautiful story on Christmas Eve as my gift to you.   Now the man to whom I’m going to introduce you was not a scrooge; he was a kind, decent, mostly good man. He was generous to his family and upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn’t believe all that stuff about God becoming a man, which the churches proclaim at Christmas time. It just didn’t make sense, and he was too honest to pretend ot

The gift of books for kids of prisoners? One that keeps on giving!

Interesting things happen when you put a couple of authors together.   It gets even more interesting when both authors are from the same town, and both also have a history of serving churches as organists.   Jan emailed me the other day to share information about a project that she and her husband love and support. It’s called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.   In 1995, Dolly Parton launched this new program to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. The program caught fire…a fire that spread not only throughout this country, but four other nations as well. In this program, gift books are provided, free of charge, to children from birth to age five!   Knowing that Jan loves our work and has a heart for prisoners, I asked her about the possibility of expanding the Dolly Parton progra

Forgiveness: A Christmas Gift!

“I said some pretty unkind things about you!”   I was chatting with an old friend the other day…his words caught me off guard.   Here I go, starting my blog post in the middle of a story. Let me back up.   I had a wonderful and unexpected visit in this 2023 holiday season, and it happened at a most unusual place and unusual time: in a church, following a funeral service!   I had been asked to play the organ for a memorial service for a very good friend, and I’m always happy to do that.   At the conclusion of the service I played a short postlude as the attendees left the sanctuary, only to spot an elderly crippled man coming up the aisle toward the organ. Even with two canes, he was having difficulty walking. He waited until I alit the organ bench, then reached out to shake my hand. Indicating that he and I were acquaintances left me blank…I was forced to admit that I didn’t recognize the face.   Long story short…it was the face from an earlier chapter in my life, when I wa