An Invigorating Retreat in Kansas City

Recently Milton and I had the honor of sitting down with several pastors in the Kansas City area to discuss Whirlwind. I can’t even begin to put into words how grateful I am for the ways in which this thoughtful group pushed us to further unpack our perspectives on this difficult biblical character. I’ve long realized that something good is happening when people are saying, “I never thought of it like that before!” and I found myself uttering this as much as anyone.

Furthermore, I was again reminded of how truly, well, brilliant, my co-author, Milton Horne, is. Once again I listened as he laid out what was happening in the lives of the Israelites during the time the book of Job was emerging. He has this gift of painting pictures as if he were actually there, taking it all in, wrestling with the sages. Milton and I have been working on this project for a long time, yet he still was able to help me grasp more deeply his contention that Job is not a book about suffering, it is a book about disinterested faith.

He pointed out to the group that the book almost certainly became important as the Israelites were returning “home” from captivity. Only the home they returned to was devastated. For most of their existence they had assumed their covenant with God insured that they would never, ever experience the reality they were now facing. Like Job, they assumed the covenant meant protection. Like Job, they had to have wondered just what the covenant was worth if life came to this.

The group pushed us in more creative ways than can be described here. But there is one key idea that I keeping turning over. I believe that ongoing spiritual transformation requires us to continually ask the question, “What if I’ve misunderstood what God is up to?” The group helped me to see that this is a lot easier question to wrestle with in a counseling office than it is in a sermon.



Valentine Dilemma

A friend sent me (Wes) these reflections on the state of her marriage as Valentine’s Day approaches. I share them here with her permission.

Valentine’s Dilemma

Standing in front of the reds, and pinks, and hearts and flowers I once again am faced with the Valentine’s dilemma.

Where are the cards for the women who are in struggling marriages?

The women who in fact do not love their husbands in a romantic way, but love them in the only way they know how, by continuing to be there for them and trying to respect and continue to move forward.

No we cannot pick from the friend section as being with someone you have committed to for life and gone through so many things with deserves more than a friend card, but the love and gushy goosh do not work either.

Does everyone in a relationship really stand in these aisles and find cards that fit their emotions?

I remember when I did, but I realize it was all in my head the love I had created for a man who did not exist.

He was just a human body for all my hopes and dreams, but as if the hot air was let out, there were none of them really inside.

Can I find new hopes and dreams in the carcass that sleeps in my bed?

Do I pick a thank you card because I am thankful for some of our times and the investment he has made in the relationship despite the pain it causes him?

Or what about a funny one, but that feels as if I am not being real to the pain and rawness of the relationship.

So once again I pick a card with a short amount of generalized words and hope, when it comes time for me to sign, I will be able to put some honest loving words on paper.

Sadness fills my broken heart and the dilemma was not solved this year but continues on….

Prayers for peace, my dear friend, as you also sit on Job’s trash heap.

Poetry from Abby Bland

by Abby Bland (student, William Jewell College)

Job sits

In his pile of ashes

Pile of ashes,

Skin bubbling,

Sackcloth burning,

Bound in the chains of his undoing.

And silent he sits,

He sits silent

As the sky

Waiting without whirlwind.

Leviathan whines and the earth shutters…

What is man that he must suffer

What is man

What is man that he comes from the womb and

God should notice

What is man that he may speak and

Ask what he is?

Whirlwind is now available as an Ebook.

Thank you to all of you who’ve purchased the paperback version of Whirlwind. The ebook has just gone up in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Milton and I would be glad to provide a signed copy if you’d like. Unfortunately, we cannot currently provide a book with both of our signatures since we live 691 miles apart! However, if you click on the “Order” tab above, you’ll see how to order a copy signed by one of us.


Whirlwind is now available!

Milton and I are so proud, and relieved to announce that Whirlwind has hit the streets! We are so grateful for the ongoing support and encouragement we’ve received from you. We will be even MORE grateful if you do us the honor of ordering a copy! 🙂 The ebook version should be available in the next few days….