PlainSpeech Messages | Find YOUR way to GRACE.

I recently read a message I’d given in 1984 and felt a mixture of embarrassment and surprise. Embarrassed because it seems inadequate now, and surprised by how much my worldview has changed. Twenty-five years from now, I might read these messages and have a similar reaction. I offer no guarantee that my work or words will endure the eroding effects of time. I can only assure you these thoughts have been helpful to me, and perhaps a few others, today. With that qualification, I offer them to you.

~ Philip

NEW!

On Being Awake

On Being Awake

After my mother died and my father got kicked out of the assisted-living center for smoking in the bathroom—now that right there is a sentence I never thought I’d say—I was carrying Dad’s mattress up a flight of stairs to his new apartment and hurt my back.  I...

I’ve Been Thinking About The Children

I’ve Been Thinking About The Children

Last Sunday was our first Mother’s Day without Mom, which I was dreading, until Joan told me to snap out of it. There are benefits of long-time marriages, and one of them is candor, knowing someone well enough to speak bluntly, and putting the hay down where the goats...

Life Is This Simple

Life Is This Simple

Chris Gautier and his men’s group stayed at our farm last weekend and phoned to report that a large family of mice had taken up residence in the house, so I drove down on Tuesday, stopping at Menards to purchase a variety of traps and poisons. It occurred to me, as I...

Kitchen Tables, Temples, and Where God Lives

Kitchen Tables, Temples, and Where God Lives

When Joan and I were first married, we needed a kitchen table but couldn’t afford one, so I went to the lumberyard, bought some wood, and made one. We ate on it for years, until I needed a table for my office, which is where it is now, stacked with books and papers....

Power and Character –  Easter 2018 (Matthew 28:1-9)

Power and Character – Easter 2018 (Matthew 28:1-9)

We drove to Georgia last weekend to see our younger son Sam and his wife Kelsea. We stayed at his apartment instead of getting a room at a local hotel. I never knew that staying at your adult child’s home could be so thoroughly enjoyable. I sprawled on the couch and...

The Myth of the Normal Family: Impulse Control

The Myth of the Normal Family: Impulse Control

Joan and I begin every morning eating breakfast and reading the newspaper. We’ve come close, several times in our 34 years together, to quitting the newspaper, most recently when they gave some wackadoodle his own weekly column. We tried not reading it, but it’s like...

The Myth of the Normal Family: Malleability

The Myth of the Normal Family: Malleability

Billy Graham was laid to rest on Friday in what was described as a private funeral service to which 2,300 people had been invited. I can’t speak for Billy Graham, but if my family invited 2,300 people to stare at me while I was dead, I’d haunt them to their graves. My...

Th Myth of the Normal Family: Self-Awareness

Th Myth of the Normal Family: Self-Awareness

For my tenth birthday, my parents bought me a pup tent and sleeping bag and suggested I spend more time away from home. “The fresh air is good for you,” my mother said. So I became a camper and spent the nights with my friends in the woods around Danville. There was a...

The Myth of the Normal Family: Accept Responsibility

The Myth of the Normal Family: Accept Responsibility

When Joan and I were married, we went on our honeymoon to Colorado, and on our way there stopped at the Harry Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.  I had grown up Republican, raised by a father who didn’t care for Mr. Truman and made no bones about...