King: Protection from chaos

Jul 27, 2020 by

It can be painful to watch my granddaughter, old enough to take so much in but too young to talk, use hands to communicate. Whenever she sees something to interact with, she waves. This includes cars and...

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King: Sourdough baker

Jun 15, 2020 by

It should be emphasized up front: the primary motivation was neither self-improvement nor altruistic baking for loved ones. It was fear of shortages. Along with family, I was out of the country when COVID-19...

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King: Getting through

May 4, 2020 by

Years ago after I had published some of her books, I slipped into a talk Mennonite author Katie Funk Wiebe was giving at a retirement community. Although I had long connected with Katie in relation to...

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King: See me

Mar 23, 2020 by

A blessing of six grandchildren is the chance to learn again a key longing of being human: “See me.” The ache to be seen is fundamental. It shapes us from beginning to end and through everything in...

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King: Proud to be an Okie

Feb 10, 2020 by

Actually, I’m not from Muskogee, Okla., where “we don’t smoke marijuana” and “even squares can have a ball,” as country singer Merle Haggard celebrated. Still I can imagine being from there as I...

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King: Surrender’s blessings

Dec 23, 2019 by

Though we’d just met when hospital orderlies called us each from waiting room to pre-op, she and I agreed: We didn’t want to go. Trained by a culture that prioritizes control over surrender, I asked my...

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King: One little letter

Nov 11, 2019 by

When I became a seminary dean in 2010, polls were showing that membership and participation in traditional Christian denominations was falling. As the decade proceeded, the unraveling gathered speed. In an...

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King: Day of endless kindness

Sep 30, 2019 by

Amid the tsunamis of cruelty drowning the planet, the day of endless kindness began as Joan and I watched Maine waves roll in for the last time. We unwrapped the breakfast sandwiches we had bought at the...

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The shocking neighbor

Aug 19, 2019 by

In the 1950s, dictator Fulgencio Batista and the rich and powerful of Cuba oppressed countless Cubans. On April 9, 1958, rebels against Batista called a strike. Batista fought back, including in Sagua la...

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King: Brightly beams mercy

Jul 8, 2019 by

When I was growing up in Mexico, a son of missionaries who saw Jesus as the light to share with those they believed lost, I listened for hours as round and round on the Wollensak turned the tapes on which Roy,...

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King: Good job!

May 27, 2019 by

The going was slow, but I was meditating on how fit I felt compared to when I started biking again the week before. Some sort of whooshing commotion blew up on my left. Before I knew what it was, I heard...

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King: Shall I tell the truth?

Apr 15, 2019 by

“Dad,” said the brilliant negotiator, “you have a choice. If you agree to listen to what I’m doing in college without judging or punishing me, I’ll tell you the truth. Or I’ll just lie about what...

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King: Ordinary oatmeal

Mar 4, 2019 by

When I was a child I liked cooked oatmeal. When I grew up, to echo the Apostle Paul, I put away childish things. Every now and then my spouse, Joan, an oatmeal fan, would urge me to consider the possibility...

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King: A broken heart?

Jan 21, 2019 by

Decades ago, discovery of a murmur alerted me that my heart will always require monitoring and more of it, plus potentially treatment, as I age. Recently while grandchildren raced hither and yon, seemingly...

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King: Yays and High Fives

Oct 22, 2018 by

Sometimes it takes someone who is 2 (“and a half,” she stresses) to lead the way. For 40 years, starting in our 20s, weeks after the arrival of our first daughter, our family has spent summer retreat time...

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King: Much more to love

Jul 30, 2018 by

As national flames flare over babies torn from immigrant parents, how public figures are treated in restaurants, naming a new Supreme Court justice, tariffs, taxes, environmental regulations and more, a...

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King: Chain saws and Earth

May 7, 2018 by

During maybe the latest spring since we moved to our current home in 1993, I worked on my chain saw, then riding mower. I learned about expertise and limits. I wondered about connections with Planet Earth as...

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King: Uncharted lands

Feb 12, 2018 by

There is a sculpture of Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea on a bluff above the Missouri River in Great Falls, Mont. As they point west, they seem to dream beyond the setting sun. They believe they’ll find lands...

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King: 18.6 gallons

Nov 20, 2017 by

When the vertigo hits, I fear it may be a stroke like the one that traumatized an uncle. I break the airport security I’ve just cleared. The doctor cheerfully says it’s just BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal...

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King: The sand fight

Aug 28, 2017 by

One cousin was already at the beach. When the other topped the dune and they spied one another, both galloped across sand and their different ages, 3 and nearly 5, arms outstretched. It was a thrill to watch,...

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King: Weaving the new

Jun 5, 2017 by

When our commencement speaker falls ill, we two deans at Eastern Mennonite Seminary become co-presenters. I prepare based on what I notice en route to commencement: Prisoners in Israel-Palestine go on hunger...

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King: Buying the field even when it’s idiotic

Mar 13, 2017 by

Even more unsettling than usual: the stories in the Feb. 25 New York Times. There is Srinivas Kuchibhotia, an Indian immigrant and his friend shot in a Kansas bar by a man who wants them out of “his” U.S....

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King: ‘A treaty between your love and mine’

Dec 19, 2016 by

In distress, my daughter who loves the music of Leonard Cohen phoned us just after the U.S. elections. Cohen, she said, was dead. I was reminded of the prior Sunday when Cohen’s just-released “Treaty”...

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King: A girl and her giraffe

Sep 26, 2016 by

Not to take sides but to reflect the conversation, a nation argues over whether to name its presidential candidates crooks, fascists, or worse. At lunch with a denomination’s representatives, talk turns to...

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Madison, Max and angels unaware

Jul 4, 2016 by

This is the story of how Cockatiel Max and Shih Tzu Madison enhanced the well-being of the church. My oversight caused it, but I later wondered if a larger oversight was also in play. For months Manuel, as...

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