January, 2023



Over the last while, Lisa and I have made a concerted effort to slow down and move away from technology. There are many reasons for this. At the same time, our team has been working on the editorial schedule for 2023, and a shift has been made to build themes into the magazine when it’s good and appropriate. The irony is beautiful. My right hand surely didn’t know what the left hand was up to in this case because, months ago, we themed January’s issue around technology and how to keep the monstrous Hydra in check.

Our son Bennett celebrated his tenth birthday in November, and a few weeks ago, we heard an answer to many prayers come out of his mouth. Bennie is the sweetest little guy. Even though he isn’t able to say many words, he gets his point across using a variety of means. The technology of a speech app on his iPad is one way he lets us know what he wants or needs. So, we find ourselves in this tug of war where, in this case, embracing technology opens the door for something good. We have prayed for years that Bennett would learn to speak more. And then, when I was tussling with him one evening, he suddenly said, “NO WAY!” Let me tell you, it was so clear that we all just froze. We asked him to say it again, and then we all exploded in praise! It was a wonderful moment, and he is now proudly walking around the house with a hearty “NO WAY” in his back pocket, looking for reasons to let it rip!

Back to the first point, technology claims to make us better able to “multitask.” I think that’s a joke. In my experience, when I try to multitask, I do many things poorly! I want to become a “single-tasker!” For me, being a “single-tasker” means focusing on one thing at a time and doing it to the very best of my ability. My desire is to truly be where I am in that moment, with the people I am with every second of my day. When I fail, I will take a step back, slow down, and refocus on being present.

The theologian Walter Brueggemann said, “Multi-tasking is the drive to be more than we are, to control more than we do, to expend our power and our effectiveness ends. Such practice yields a divided self, with full attention given to nothing.”

Today, I dare you to be fully present, put the screens away, and live in authentic community like Jesus and his disciples did. You never know, you might just hear a massive “NO WAY” shouted for the first time!

As always, may you find joy in the simple things.

Plain Values Publisher


Limitless Progress – Update #6

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The other night Marlin was playing with the boys after dinner, as they often do each evening. Marlin asked Bennett a question and Bennett replied with a confident, “No way!” We froze. Our eyes grew wide, and we looked at each other in wonder. Marlin asked him to say...

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