A Father’s Literary Blessing: a review of Ben Palpant’s Letters from the Mountain

Dear One, a father desires to share some of his hard-earned convictions and half-formed ideas with his daughter, whom he hopes will come to terms with her gifting and calling. He longs for her faith journey to culminate at the peak where the 360-degree view will undo her, where she will weep for sheer joy, where she will laugh with exhilaration. These letters are my attempt to reach out over the miles and clasp your hand as you climb. To whisper encouragement in your ear as I did when you were young. To spur you on toward love and good works. To remember our story. To lean my forehead against yours and give you my blessing: from the humble to the humble, to the glory of God. Amen. If there is one thing I did right as a father it was to pass on to my children a love of [...]

A Father’s Literary Blessing: a review of Ben Palpant’s Letters from the Mountain2021-12-02T10:37:24-05:00

Portrait of a Writer as a Young Boy – my writing life, the first 15 years.

I have been a writer for almost 50 years now. My first essays lacked originality but made up for it in word count. I will not trade baseball cards in class... I will not trade baseball cards in class... I will not... 500 sentences. 4000 words. Long-hand. I’ve learned many lessons in writing through the years and they started right there in 3rd grade. You must suffer for your art. Ask my sister and she’ll tell you l’ve shortened this to a life motto, “You must suffer.” It was in 5th grade that I learned how delightful it was to write about my favorite subject. Me.  The Autobiography of Tony E Roberts was part mythic, part statistic recounting of my early athletic prowess. I remember it best for the cover - an huge orange baboon in the lotus position. In his book On Writing Stephen King says, If you don’t have [...]

Portrait of a Writer as a Young Boy – my writing life, the first 15 years.2021-11-03T06:40:12-04:00

Why I Write in Less than 500 Words

I was a pastor for almost 20 years.  A big part of my job was to take the sacred Word and inspire people to do good things.  To do this, I did a lot of writing (over 500 sermons,  300 e-devotions, 200 newsletter articles, countless pastoral letters). Then I left pastoral ministry. Why? For many reasons, some of which I'm still sorting out. Essentially, God had another ministry in mind. For the past decade I have served an author with A Way with Words publishing, an outreach of Delight in Disorder Ministries. People ask me, "Do you write exclusively about faith and God?”  My answer is “Yes and no.”  Yes, because I believe all good writing carries with it sacred a sacred duty to "speak the truth in love." Since we are created in the image of God and creation reflects God’s good order, when we write faithfully about any [...]

Why I Write in Less than 500 Words2021-02-06T07:39:23-05:00

Was He Only Dreaming? MLK Day Today

In the fall of 1975, I opened my fresh new Language Arts textbook and found that some pages had been cut out.  I walked up to my teacher’s desk and his response was,  ”I did that.  It was a story about that King fellow.  I don’t want you reading about some nigger who went around stirring up trouble.” Yesterday, I was talking with an elderly woman who didn’t realize today was a holiday. “What holiday is it?” “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday,” I replied. “I swear.  What do you have to do to get a day named after you?  He didn’t do nothing.” This morning, I was talking to a man in his 70s about King’s legacy. “I know he preached non-violence,” he said, “but as soon as he’d finish his speeches, blacks would go around breaking into stores and stealing stuff.  I don’t care what the history books say.  I saw [...]

Was He Only Dreaming? MLK Day Today2021-01-18T09:29:58-05:00

From Mental Illness to MBA by John Witcher

Living with a mental illness is very challenging and can be very frustrating.  In 1994, when I was diagnosed, the culture surrounding mental illness was much different.  Many of the support groups were not as easy to access, due to technology limitations.  The internet was not as user friendly, if you had it at all.  When you were the person in the room with a mental illness, you typically kept it to yourself, and it was suggested that you do not disclose. With the help of organizations like NAMI, SARDAA, APSE, Vocational Rehabilitation, KEY and many others, mental health is becoming something that is easier to discuss, when in the past, it was not.  In 2017, I received an MBA with honors, from IndianaTech.  I remember, in the 1990’s, when I was considering going back to college, I got a great deal of pushback.  I heard countless times, that it was a crazy thought.  Then, I approached my [...]

From Mental Illness to MBA by John Witcher2021-01-06T07:32:34-05:00

What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.

I’m been on quasi-sabbatical, letting go of some of my busyness to make room for God’s business in my life and ministry. For over a year now, my time has been consumed by my When Despair Meets Delight book and, while there are still things to do to “get it out there,” my mind can now mostly pivot to my next book, my next project, my next dream to pursue. It has been said of writers that there is nothing more terrifying than a blank page. Starting over is daunting for anyone, particularly when it seems we are starting from scratch. We can fool ourselves into believing we have to magically discover the one right thing to do out of an infinite number of wrong choices. This is the Enemy’s convincing lie designed to paralyze us from faithful action. I am devoting this season of transition to discerning prayer. I’m [...]

What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.2020-10-18T22:04:10-04:00

How Our Thorns Make Us Better, Revisited by Lamar Hardwick

The following post was first posted on September 2, 2020. I am republishing now because there has been a significant development in the life of the author. Lamar has been diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. He is taking an indefinite sabbatical to pursue treatment. This will no doubt change his life in many ways, but he is facing it with the same courage for which he is known. Lamar has been posting prayers for strength to rally his "fight club" as he faces this battle. This one is from yesterday -- Good morning fight club. It’s another great day to fight! Pray this with me “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but [...]

How Our Thorns Make Us Better, Revisited by Lamar Hardwick2020-10-12T03:39:40-04:00

Neither to the Left Nor to the Right: My Story, My Message, My Mission

Recently, I've been receiving an influx of subscribers and followers. Many of these have been drawn to my blog and pages thanks to an ad I ran recruiting loved ones of those who battle brain illnesses to be interviewed for my next book. I have currently conducted 30 interviews and have many more in the works. My book will be a celebration of the terrific, tenacious love that hangs on, sometimes by a thread that is threatened to be cut off. As a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I can testify that if it weren't for loved ones advocating for me when I was most sick, I would most certainly be homeless, helpless, hopeless, even dead. For those who are new as well as those familiar with my work, I thought it would be good to revisit my story, my message, and my mission. My Story In 1995, I was [...]

Neither to the Left Nor to the Right: My Story, My Message, My Mission2021-08-31T19:50:19-04:00

Perfect Humility: A Quietness of Heart

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)   Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing [...]

Perfect Humility: A Quietness of Heart2020-08-30T10:51:17-04:00
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