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Tag Archives: Dean Nelson

On confident footing

When my father-in-law was in his final days, before he was moved from the hospital back home under hospice care, the nurses asked the family if they wanted a priest to visit with him. My father-in-law was a Protestant evangelical ...

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A single red balloon

red balloon

Picture this: Southern Ohio in the late summer, no air conditioning, sweltering heat, no breeze, and a 2-year-old with half of his body suffocating in a heavy plaster cast. Makes me sweat just thinking about it. It started out beautifully—my ...

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Living Bethlehem

My friend Don told me about a time during the Christmas season several years ago when he and his wife loaded their two little girls into their car to drive from their small Ohio town to spend the holiday with ...

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Grace at work — even in tragedy

Santana High School

When the National Desk of The New York Times called me several years ago and asked if I could hurry to a high school in San Diego that had experienced a shooting, my heart sank. One reason my heart sank ...

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Feasting on humble pie

Imagine if this had happened to you. It happened in a restaurant in Germany. The restaurant had high tables where patrons would stand and eat a quick lunch. A woman went into the restaurant, bought a bowl of soup and ...

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The high calling of selling dresses


A writer I know tells this story of a friend of his who was in a Nordstrom store in a wealthy Los Angeles suburb. The friend was on the top floor, where the most elegant dresses cost thousands of dollars, ...

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Tangerines as soul food?

All of us have probably had a meal that we remember for very specific reasons. It might have been for a birthday or anniversary, or to celebrate a great achievement. I saw a news item about one of the San ...

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Making a spiritual splash

There are lots of good reasons to go to church. For you it might be the sermons, the music, the community, the celebration of the sacraments, the participation in something believers have been doing for thousands of years, the children’s ...

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A wild lesson in pursuit

“Listen!” one of the men hissed. We had been standing around the campfire in northern Minnesota, toward the end of the two-week Boy Scout camp, doing what Boy Scouts usually do when standing around campfires. We threw stuff into the ...

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In pursuit of the whole road

There is a village in the Ivory Coast of Africa that has a custom I’d never heard of until we were walking toward it. I was there with a group of students from Point Loma Nazarene University, where I teach, ...

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