All stories

The waste of love

By on Oct 23, 2018 in The World Together | 0 comments

I wake up with a dark hole of emptiness eating through my chest, and it takes me a second to realize why.

My little girl is gone. The child that I loved from the minute I set eyes on her is gone. I still remember how she felt sleeping heavily in my arms that first night, her chunky bandages awkwardly propped against me. When she woke and stirred in my arms, I said, “Sweetheart, I’m going to take you to my house to get better. Is that okay?”

She nodded and nestled her head in my chest again. Will and I brought her home to the bed waiting for her, a new white bed with navy and white chevron sheets.

As the days passed, her body healed and her sadness healed. Will held her and sang to her. I rocked her and carried her next to my heart, sometimes taking her around the block for a bit of fresh air. My other children played with her, teaching her how to hold kittens or make mud pies.

Taking care of her was hard – harder than I expected. The tantrums and triggers were not easy to deal with. But I loved her so much. I indulged her with the chocolate milk she liked so well, just because I enjoyed seeing her perched on her stool, chugging down the milk with a blissful expression on her face.

Slowly I built her trust. Whenever I had to leave the house, she would ask me, “Mama, are you going to come back?”

“Yes, child, I will come back,” I always said.

Then one day she left, and I never showed up, because I couldn’t. I didn’t “come back” as I had promised.

I can’t get it out of my mind that I betrayed her trust. That year of loving her feels wasted. All the love I had could not keep her safe.

I message my sisters. “I am so DONE with foster care.” Because I really am done. I see how little the system cares about anybody.

The sense of loss I feel is hard to describe or rationalize. She isn’t my biological child. She didn’t die. The house is beautifully quiet now without all that screaming. But I had worked so hard to bond with her. Sometimes loving was easy, other times it was not. I feel wrung out and spent.

I am done with foster care.

Just done.

But then I hear about a small girl with strawberry-blond hair who stands by her caseworker and silently cries while the caseworker tries in vain to find her a place for the night. My heart lurches. Maybe I’m not done.

I think about the empty bed with its smooth, chevron-patterned sheets. I think about the chocolate milk in our fridge, and the empty chair beside me at the table. I think about my family gathered around me, people who are imperfect but tenderhearted nonetheless.

The little girl finds another home. But I realize that this thing called love is impossible for me to get away from.

Love is not a transaction, where we receive the value of what we gave. Love by nature empties itself, just as Jesus gave himself on the cross.

“Love is never wasted,” people say, which is true in a sense. Many times the working of love is slow and unseen, but nonetheless powerfully present, affecting both the giver and receiver.

Yet I see now that loving is a certain kind of wasting. It’s a life-blood being poured out recklessly without guarantee of gratitude or reception. “Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus said. How much of His love has the world received?

I think about the waste of love, and about the strawberry-blond girl waiting for a mother and a home.

I know in my heart that I am not done.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

CS Lewis, The Four Loves

Rosina Schmucker lives in Medicine Lodge, Kan., and has Amish-Mennonite background. She blogs at Arabah Rejoice, where this post first appeared.

African evangelist shares ‘new and beautiful life’ in Christ

By and on Oct 22, 2018 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

MILANGE, Mozambique — The spirit of evangelism is a fire in Laston Bissani Mitambo’s bones.

Humble and quiet in disposition, Bissani commands attention when leading a church, sing­ing and dancing with a vigor that belies his nearly 60 years.

Brethren in Christ evangelist Laston Bissani Mitambo with his wife, Carlotta, and their family. — Mennonite World Conference

Brethren in Christ evangelist Laston Bissani Mitambo with his wife, Carlotta, and their family. — Mennonite World Conference

“I love for other people to know this same Savior who gave me a new and beautiful life,” said Bissani, national evangelist for the Malawi Brethren in Christ Church, a member of Mennonite World Conference.

He has planted many churches in the Palombe District in Malawi and in the Zambezia Province of Mozambique.

Born in Malawi in 1959 and trained as a tailor, he received Christ in 1986 when the words of a street preacher moved him to repentance and salvation.

His brother introduced him to a BIC congregation, where he grew in faith.

“I was also itching to share the message of God’s love,” Bissani said. “I shared the gospel whenever and wherever I could.”

After he completed studies at the Evangelical Bible College of Malawi, the Malawi BIC Church sent the newly ordained pastor to Mozambique in 2003 to grow the Malawian church in the Zambezia Province.

“It is not always easy to reach some of the areas,” said Bissani, who has slept on the streets or in the bush on his evangelistic travels. “I have lost some of my belongings to thieves.”

He travels alone or with an assistant.

“We spend three or four days doing door-to-door visits, then a crusade,” he said. “We leave someone leading the preaching point and follow up whenever we can.”

At one point, the Malawi BIC Church had no more funds to support church-planting work. What would Bissani do back home? He wanted to carry on evangelizing in Mozambique.

He remembered that the Apostle Paul was a tent maker. Using his skills as a tailor, Bissani could support his family while he did the work the Lord had called him to do.

Bissani now receives a quarterly allowance from the BIC Church that complements what he earns from his tailoring business.

His wife, Eniles, died of cancer in 2009. In 2010 he married Carlotta, a recent graduate of a four-year Theological Education by Extension course. She has become his partner in ministry. They have one son together, in addition to his eight children with Eniles.

Bissani’s dream is to start a Bible school in Mozambique to train many leaders “so that it will be easy to pass the baton.”

With support from the BIC Church in Mozambique, Bissani trains church leaders who come to Milange for seminars on leadership, salvation, the Holy Spirit, Christian life, evangelism, church planting and ecclesiology.

After 16 years of sharing the gospel and planting churches in Malawi, and another 15 years in Mozambique, he says he’ll retire when God tells him to.

“I find much joy in bringing people together who have come to know Christ,” he said.

Watson: Questions about marijuana

By on Oct 22, 2018 in Columns, Latest Issue, Watson: Gathering the Stones | 0 comments

This November, four states will vote on legalizing marijuana: Utah and Missouri for medical use and North Dakota and Michigan for adult recreational use. If all four proposals pass, the national total would reach 32 states with medical laws and 11 with recreational laws. A 2017 Gallup poll found almost two-thirds of Americans supported legalization. Earlier this year, Canada approved full legalization.

Hillary Watson


Churches rarely discuss marijuana. Here are a few questions to guide the conversation a church could have.

Is marijuana consumption safe? No drug is completely safe, not even the most popular and least regulated drug: caffeine. Our perception of safety is culturally influenced.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid drug overdoses killed 63,000 Americans in 2016. Alcohol-induced deaths were 33,000. Marijuana deaths were zero. (All these numbers exclude drug-related auto deaths.) This spring, a small number of deaths were linked to contaminated synthetic marijuana — contamination that could have been prevented by regulation.

Medical marijuana gained popularity precisely because patients found it safer and with fewer side effects than traditional pharmaceuticals. Seniors are the most rapidly-growing medical users, relying on marijuana to ease arthritis, chronic illness and general pain. Of course, safe for adults does not mean safe for children. Frequent use among children and teens can reduce memory and learning (though marijuana is still safer than some other drugs, including alcohol).

Are U.S. marijuana laws just? The United States has the highest prison population in the world; one in five prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. Black and brown people are arrested for marijuana use at higher rates than white people, though white people have a slightly higher rate of use.

In Matthew 25 and Luke 4, Jesus suggests the Roman government was unjustly incarcerating individuals and that disciples should advocate for justice and the release of captives. Jesus calls us to oppose state-run, punitive, retributive justice systems.

Is marijuana consumption honorable? As Christians, we’re taught that the body is a temple. We ought to care for our bodies as holy places. Drug use that lowers inhibitions or causes blackouts does not honor the holiness of our bodies. But some Christians read John 2 as Jesus’ endorsement of moderate consumption among a safe and celebrative community in the spirit of trust and — I can’t emphasize this enough — moderation.

Will legalization improve our communities and lead to flourishing? States with full legalization still have problems with illegal marijuana production.

Legalization creates a secondary illegal market, where medical-grade marijuana is processed and shipped to outlawed states. Ironically, one solution to this problem is legalization in every state.

Legalizing marijuana can lower the prison population, especially for people of color who are disproportionately incarcerated. It can increase safety by reducing contamination. It can ease the symptoms of aging for some seniors and allow them to engage more energetically in the community. Does that meet the definition of flourishing? It is a topic worthy of discussion in a congregation.

Hillary Watson pastors at Shalom Community Church in Ann Arbor, Mich. She blogs at

Bible column: Blessing for the bold

By on Oct 22, 2018 in Bible, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Many Christians I know cannot stand Jacob. In technical terms, he’s what’s known as a “grade-A slime ball.” He steals from his brother, lies to his father, tricks his uncle and sleeps with his true love’s sister. He’s ambitious, conniving, manipulative and, let’s face it, everyone hates to see a cheater win.

There are many obvious reasons to dislike Jacob. But I’ve also come to suspect there’s a more hidden reason why Jacob rubs many of us wrong. Far beneath the surface of conscious thought, we’re maybe just a little jealous.

Meghan Good


Growing up in the church, it seemed clear to me that good Christians weren’t supposed to want much for themselves. If you did, you weren’t supposed to admit it out loud. Ambitions are prideful, and competing desires lead to conflict. The course of Christian virtue is to sit down, shut up and be content with what you have.

The trouble is that hidden desires have a way of building pressure. Unspoken resentment and envy build up over years, turning relationships toxic, leaking out the sides of life in increasingly passive-aggressive responses.

Jacob appears to be a man who was born hungry and not that good at disguising it. He wants power. He wants leadership. He wants flocks. He wants Rachel. This hunger, and his unapologetic efforts to seize the things he wants, proves to be a constant source of conflict in his life.

Jacob struggles with the people around him for his own blessing. It’s hard to watch, not least because many of us identify with the other side. We imagine ourselves as Esau or Laban, for whom Jacob’s gains mean loss. We wonder why Jacob should be rewarded for breaking the unspoken religious code of settling for what you’ve got.

Here’s the thing — there are plenty of valid critiques we might make of Jacob’s methods. We might grieve the collateral damage of his restless struggle for more. But the one thing Genesis never condemns is Jacob’s core desire for blessing. Because blessing is, in fact, precisely what Jacob and his entire family were originally chosen for (Gen. 12:1-4).

The real turning point of Jacob’s story comes in Gen. 32:22-32, on the night when he finally realizes his lifelong struggle for blessing has been a struggle with the wrong source. Jacob has struggled to seize from his brother what only God truly had to give.

In the end, Jacob receives as a free gift of God the blessing he’s always longed for. Only then is he finally able to reconcile with his brother and the two of them live together in peace.

I wonder sometimes if our harsh judgments of Jacob don’t reflect a deep misunderstanding of God. God desires to bless, beyond all we can ask or imagine. God has good plans for our flourishing.

In relationship with such a God, passivity and indifference are not necessarily virtues. In Jacob, God finds a strength and passion to delight in. The challenge for Jacob is learning to direct his hunger toward the best kind of good.

Blessing doesn’t have to be stolen from others when you finally come to understand God is offering it as a gift. Because God is generous and full of abundance, life is not a zero-sum game.

There is a place in the divine story for bold, hungry people who have come to see that the thing they are looking for lies not in their brother’s hands but only in the hands of God. When that realization happens, the struggle can shift from a struggle for the blessing of one to a struggle for the blessing for all. Perhaps this is the redeemed possibility that God sees in Jacob’s life.

Meghan Larissa Good is teaching pastor at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, Ariz., and author of The Bible Unwrapped: Making Sense of Scripture Today, published this month by Herald Press.

Trust not in division

By and on Oct 22, 2018 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 1 comment

From church divisions to political mudslinging, trust is in short supply. Mennonite Church USA’s Southeast Mennonite Conference voted Oct. 5-6 to leave the denomination. The U.S. election — finally mere weeks away — is a referendum on President Trump’s polarizing approach to governance with ads pitting neighbor against neighbor.

The Boston Globe reported half of Americans said they trusted each other in the 1980s, and by 2017 that number dropped to about 3 in 10. Is the church doing better or worse? “Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time” (Prov. 25:13), trust is refreshing because it’s hard to find.

In a society ever more connected through new technology, we’ve never been further apart. Trust is ebbing, but for hope, we can turn to a handful of Mennonite Brethren churches in Uruguay.

A charismatic group of church plants started by the Assemblies of God is looking to join the more traditionally restrained Anabaptist group. After about 80 percent were opposed, several months of intentional conversation swung things around to only about a 10th of Uruguayan MBs remaining uncomfortable.

Division is easy. Anonymity and distance don’t take work. That’s what fuels divisiveness, polarization and anger. Communication takes guts.

Understanding isn’t forbearance, it’s grace — something more divine than mere piety.

If there is shared faith in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, liberal nor conservative (Gal. 3:26-29). As post-Christendom steams along, surely the benefits of uniting around the values Anabaptists hold in common outweigh any concerns about risks taken by erring on the side of love and inclusion.

Be warned: Creating trust comes with side effects. University of Missouri sociologist Eileen Avery found people who perceive neighbors as trustworthy rate their health better than those who don’t. Members of some kind of community tend to have a lower risk of stroke and heart attack.

Be selfish about your health and open up to other people more. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

Rights before birth

By on Oct 22, 2018 in Latest Issue, Letters | 2 comments

In “Pro-Birth or Pro-Life?”, the definition of “pro-life” as given by the writer — that it “ap­plies to the rights and respect everyone should be entitled to after birth” — is false. A human being has rights even before the journey outside the mother’s body. A person does not achieve or earn those rights by being able to “survive to term.” A person is a unique being right from the start. There was much written about immigration and gun laws, but there is no respect for human beings if we allow killing by abortion. In fact, winking at abortion screams so loudly that it is hard to listen to anything else. It is unbiblical to suggest that a person earns humanity by surviving to term.

Connie Buller
Blair, Neb.

What men can do

By on Oct 22, 2018 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

Men care about the statistic that 1 in 6 women will experience sexual assault. Men know it may be their mothers, wives, daughters, sisters or nieces who have been or will be attacked.

What are men to do? Keep the communication doors open. Assure that you can handle anything she wants to tell and that you will support and seek justice for her. Blaming her or threatening revenge may silence her.

Men who have sexually abused or harassed others have choices of how to respond:

1. Deny, deny, deny.
2. Yes, I did something, but boys will be boys.
3. I’ve evolved. I’m not the same guy as in high school.
4. I realize that what I did was very hurtful.
5. I realize the woman has had to live with this violation of her body and spirit all these years.  I’m sorry.
I can act:
6. I can ask her to forgive me.
7. I can ask for forgiveness and try to make this wrong as right as possible.
All men can affirm:
8. I will raise my children to respect others.
9. I will show respect for all at work, home, school, church and social activities.
10. I will make good choices, for the civility and sanity of myself and the world.

Harry Neufeld
North Newton, Kan.

Hurtful discussion

By on Oct 22, 2018 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

It’s upsetting to read that in 2018 the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches is still discussing whether women can serve as lead pastors (“MBs to Gather for Study on Women in Ministry,” Sept. 10). As a woman, it downright hurts. To think that God would not grant people of my gender the spiritual gifts to lead both men and women in a closer walk with Christ is incomprehensible to me. If people want to point to Paul’s words that women should submit to male authority and be quiet in the church, I can point to Paul’s claim in Galatians that “in Christ there is no Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

But I don’t want to play that game. Women have not only been denied the chance to share their leadership gifts throughout church history, but the church has been denied the benefits that we could bring. My childhood years at a “progressive” Mennonite church on a college campus were not much different; I remember the first woman in a ministerial role could — in true churchspeak — be “commissioned but not ordained.”

Last year Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary President Sara Wenger Shenk spoke at my church in Wichita. The obvious gifts she brings to the job spoke profoundly to me; at the same time, I felt grief for all the years that such a person would have been denied the opportunity to use those gifts. Women are tired of being an “issue” to discuss. Accept the leadership we can offer. The church will reap the blessings.

Ann Minter Fetters
Wichita, Kan.

History: At war’s end, a last gasp of violence

By on Oct 22, 2018 in History, Latest Issue, Preheim | 0 comments

One hundred years ago next month, on Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice brought World War I to an end, ceasing the four-year-old conflagration that resulted in 40 million casualties, unprecedented destruction and reshaped geopolitics. But while news of peace generated great rejoicing in the United States, hostilities continued against some Americans.

Conscientious objectors peel potatoes at Fort Riley, Kan., in 1918. — Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College

Conscientious objectors peel potatoes at Fort Riley, Kan., in 1918. — Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College

On that day, instead of being discharged from the U.S. Army, conscripted Mennonite conscientious objector George S. Miller was facing a court martial at Camp Dodge in central Iowa. He was found guilty of disobeying an order and cursing the American flag. Sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, he was released in 1919.

Meanwhile, at a victory celebration in Burrton, Kan., hyper-patriotic residents turned their attention to John Schrag, a Mennonite farmer who had staunchly resisted buying war bonds. Five carloads of men abducted him and unsuccessfully tried to get him to lead a parade through town. Schrag refused, and the American flag someone tried to get him to carry fell to the ground when he didn’t take hold of it. That enraged the mob, which doused him with yellow paint and prepared to hang him.

Schrag was saved when the head of the Burrton Anti-Horse-Thief Association, brandishing his gun, pulled Schrag away from the mob and spirited him to the town jail for his protection. Charges against Schrag were later dismissed.

The prospects of religious liberty, security and opportunity had beckoned Anabaptists from Europe to North America since the 17th century. And they largely found it. But the U.S. entry into World War I made Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites despised. In an article headlined “Middlebury Should be 100% Patriotic,” the Middlebury (Ind.) Independent declared COs “not fit to mingle with the vermin of the earth.”

A central problem for draftees was the absence of a clear directive for how the military should handle COs. Instructions were slow in coming and often ambiguous. Furthermore, they could be ignored. The result was an environment that allowed harsh militaristic attitudes and unchecked patriotism to assault religious pacifists.

Several hundred Anabaptist conscripts refused to wear military uniforms and perform military activities. The consequences ranged from vigilante intimidation, such as being rubbed raw by broom-bearing soldiers, to official courts-martial.

The most extreme incident was that of Hutterite brothers Joseph and Michael Hofer. They were court-martialed in June 1918 and sent to the federal prison on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. There they were brutally treated, including being chained in their cells in only their underwear and fed little food and water. In November, the Hofers were transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where they fell ill, probably from pneumonia. Joseph died Nov. 29 and Michael on Dec. 2, casualties of a war that ended weeks earlier.

In addition to Schrag, at least one other Mennonite was nearly lynched. In April 1918, a mob held John M. Franz, the pastor of Bethlehem Mennonite Church near Bloomfield, Mont., next to a tree with a noose hanging from a limb when the local sheriff stopped them. Instead, the mob forced Franz to buy war bonds and dispose of all of Bethlehem’s German-language books, including Bibles.

A number of other civilian Mennonites were painted yellow, tarred and feathered and subjected to other abuses, including vandalism of their properties. Three church buildings were destroyed by arson: Fairview (Mich.) Mennonite Church, Inola (Okla.) Mennonite Brethren Church and Eden Mennonite Church, also of Inola.

World War I prompted many to flee the United States for Canada. For the Hutterites, the Hofers’ deaths were affirmation of their previous decision to move en masse to Canada. In 1917-18, almost all Hutterites, about 1,000 people, migrated to the Canadian prairies. The only ones to remain were the residents of Bon Homme Colony near Yankton, S.D. Some colonies later returned.

Additionally, 600 to 800 Mennonites relocated to Canada. For example, 85 people from Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church of Inman, Kan., moved north in April 1917. The next month, three young men from Carson Mennonite Brethren Church, Delft, Minn., also went to Canada. They left with such haste that one young man’s fiancée didn’t find out until that evening at choir practice.

The dark clouds of World War I had several silver linings. One was a new interest in service. A number of conscripts from the Mennonite Church, while in military camps, felt compelled to remedy the ravages of war. After their release, they joined the American Friends Service Commission doing reconstruction work in France.

Other MC members made financial contributions to Mennonite Board of Missions rather than buying war bonds or supporting the Red Cross and the YMCA, which were considered to be aligned with the war effort. This led to the creation of the Mennonite Relief Commission for War Sufferers, which supported work in Austria, France, Germany and the Middle East. The MRCWS became one of the founders of Mennonite Central Committee in 1920.

Another positive outcome of the war for Mennonites was the eventual birth of Civilian Public Service. With tensions again rising in Europe in the 1930s, Mennonites, having learned from their World War I experiences, joined with the Church of the Brethren and Quakers to work with the federal government to create an alternative to the draft for COs. By early 1941, months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harber, CPS had been inaugurated.

Rich Preheim is a writer and historian from Elkhart, Ind. He is working on a history of Woodlawn Amish Mennonite Church.

King: Yays and High Fives

By on Oct 22, 2018 in Columns, King: Unseen Hands, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Sometimes it takes someone who is 2 (“and a half,” she stresses) to lead the way.

Michael A. King


For 40 years, starting in our 20s, weeks after the arrival of our first daughter, our family has spent summer retreat time in Maine. There we learned, at least temporarily, to give up TV, to read and read, to talk and talk, to walk the beach from sunrise to sunset and into moonrise. We savored the clear cool days we called “Maine days,” ocean so frigid you were brave to dip toes in, nights requiring at least sweatshirts. Sometimes we’d start a fire.

Now no fire for ages. Fewer sweatshirt times. And ever more days of people swarming not only up to the water’s edge but way in, the once-rare head of the hardy soul now almost too many for lifeguards to count.

Then this year: forecasters warned the jet stream would sweep tropical air up the East Coast for weeks. They were right. Clouds that looked like they started in the Caribbean (as they often had), in humid air to match, scudded on winds blowing atypically from the southeast. But oh! In Maine there would be Maine days.

With just the right twist of breeze and sunshine there was an occasional Maine minute or hour. But days? No. Especially not nights. Historically summer nights have often fallen into the 50s, even 40s. So air conditioners are rare. This year fans blowing gales across sweating bodies were no match for nights often stuck in humid 70s.

Meanwhile, the usual sweltering news blew in from everywhere, not least Washington, D.C.

In the middle of this we were monitoring our granddaughter at the beach as she sent that body aged precisely 2.5 years down to the waves but not quite in.

She flirted. She flirted some more. Finally: toe touched wave.

She raced back, hand high. “High Five, PawPaw! High Five, Grandma!” She liked our responses.

Back to the waves. Inches deeper. Race back. High Five. High Five. Two High Fives!

Again. A whole foot or two in. Back. More High Fives and Two High Fives than the world has ever known.

“Now say Yay, PawPaw! Say Yay, Grandma! Say Yay again. And again say Yay. And again. Again!” Then with a cut-it-out wave of both hands across chest: “No more Yay.” Start over.

The day and the news still sweltered. Yet hope had breezed in.

After Maine, Joan went back to consulting with organizations striving to provide behavioral health care amid economic, political and sociocultural thunderstorms. Often resourc­es for health-care versions of air conditioners are inadequate. Now what?

Joan tells the story of a girl, 2.5 years old, who teaches us how to say High Five and Two High Fives and Yay. Together she and the organizations look for the path. And often enough, toward the end of the day, as spirits sag and hope flags, someone will point out that this is going well, that this holds promise. Someone else initiates a call-and-response High Five. And Yay. Things perk up.

Sometimes even our ability to draw nurture from Scripture seems compromised as every study or sermon or text going this direction is challenged from another direction. But one Scripture seems right now to shout out its treasures as, to paraphrase Isaiah 11:6, amid the warring animals and people, “a little child shall lead them” in offering the Yays and High Fives.

Michael A. King is publisher of Cas­cadia Publishing House and blogs at He wrote this column in consultation with Joan K. King.