Schadenfreude: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2018. Current events in pop culture, sports and politics have generated unpleasant if not repugnant stories of bad behavior. The news cycle seems to spew out stories of deceit, lies and abuse of power in what seems like a constant barrage daily. Within those stories, I will admit that I enjoy it when a person gets his comeuppance. Let's face it, we live for what we feel is cosmic justice. Schadenfreude is a German word for this fascination. The world roots for Karma and when we see it we cherish the effects. For example, the loudest cheers in a movie theater happens when the bad guy gets defeate

I have a Dream

This past Monday, our nation celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in order to recognize the wonderful civil rights leadership of Reverend Dr. King. The tremendous courage and convictions of Dr. King are brought to the public's attention each year on the third Monday of January, but the intentions of MLK reach far beyond a one-day illumination of his iconic efforts to establish equality, justice, righteousness and peace in the United States. Yes, Dr. King led the most renowned civil rights movement in our nation's history, but his vision, highlighted in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, encourages an ongoing ministry that reflects the ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As a minister, M

Embracing January

So every year around about now, after the kids are back in school or work, after the tree has been taken down and the decorations put away, I hear this familiar refrain from my wife Kathy, "I LOVE JANUARY!". I've always had mixed feelings about January. My Dad hated January and for good reason!! To my Dad, January meant enduring bone-chilling temperatures to feed and care for our herd of about 80 beef cattle. January would sometimes mean daytime temperatures well below zero, and with no buildings or hills and few trees to slow it down, the wind would sweep across the Nebraska plains, picking up the snow on the ground and depositing it back in the roads and paths that had just been cleared

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

The season of Epiphany begins this week -- the season of light. In the Eastern Orthodox church the day of Epiphany, January 6, is celebrated as Christmas day. We also know Epiphany as the Twelfth day of Christmas -- the day that all those Lords a-leaping, ladies dancing, swans a-swimming and partridges in pear trees are deposited on the front porch of someone's true love. Epiphany is the day the church has designated as the date of arrival of the wise men in Bethlehem after they had followed the star to the Christ child. For us in the western church the Christmas season is pretty well over. We have packed away the wrapping paper and the decorations and stored the leftover cookies in the

The Best Gift to Yourself to Start 2018

Throughout the holiday season and leading up to it, I would often make the casual, polite comment "I hope you have a good holiday." To me this was suggesting that people have the opportunity to be around family and friends and just generally enjoy each other's company. However, too many times my 'polite comment' was met with a story that there would not be contact with this person or that person because of some long-standing issue that created a sense of bitterness and separation from a friend or a specific family member or members. I have always wondered how we sometimes let the precious time we have on this earth be consumed with anger, hatred, animosity and negativity towards others who

© 2016 by First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso

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