PUB CHATS

Cool River Pub is a safe place, a community. Those who gather here are invited to share the honest expression of ideas, impulses, and inspirations. And, the house rules invite (and enforce) good humor, respect, and generosity of spirit. 

The Monks of Tibhirine

Why would anyone choose to live in a place of mortal danger? And if and when that danger’s noose tightened into a choking death, why would anyone refuse to leave that place? Those very serious questions crouched in the corner of my mind as I read John W. Kiser’s The

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Life After Loss

Over the past 18 months I’ve been working in a laboratory of loss. Through our son Paul’s death, my participation in a study of education in American, my knee replacement surgery, post-surgical recovery and rehab, relocating, political realignments, and global immigration dynamics, I kept being drawn to the issue of

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The Taste of Silence

What do you do when a lightning bolt explodes out of a clear sky, blowing your body, soul, and spirit apart? Do you collapse into a pile of smoking rubble? Escape into chemicals, fight to regain control, choose suicide? Or, surrender to the One Who “directs the steps of the godly” and “delights in every detail of their lives?” (Psalm 37:23 NLT).

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Paul and the Mountain

Several years ago, knowing I would probably never hunt again, I decided to give my shotguns to my sons. So on Christmas morning, with all our family opening gifts in our living room, I went downstairs and gathered my .410, 20-gauge, and 12-gauge. When our son Paul saw me coming

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Do You Have an LSO?

Today’s aircraft carriers are small towns (Pop. 5000) that exist only for the purpose of moving their 4.5-acre airport and 80 jet fighters anywhere in the world. But there’s a huge problem. That airport is too small for what it must do. So fantastic (and frankly weird) machines must compensate.

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“Excuse Me, Barista, May I Live Here?”

Washington, DC, summer of 1994. From the muggy blanket of heat and city sounds and odors, I stepped into a new and magical cocoon of coffee aroma, cold air, quiet greens and charcoals, and Sinatra’s velvet crooning of “In the Wee Small Hours.” They called the place “Starbucks.” This was

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When You Cannot See and Do Not Know

Imagine that you’re riding a high-speed train. From your seat you gaze out the window at the screaming blur of images. But then you get up and walk to the rear of the train, where you stand on the platform. From there you can see a flowing river of steel

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Mother Antonia’s Great Adventure

In 1994, when a full-scale riot broke out, the 5-foot-2 Mother Antonia walked through a blizzard of bullets, her face aglow. Eyewitnesses said she never stopped smiling. Armed only with love, she saw the riot come to a peaceful end. Prison was to her what a basketball court was to Michael Jordan. The zone.

She once said, “Happiness does not depend on where you are. I live in prison. And I have not had a day of depression in 25 years.”

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Living on the Roulette Wheel

I went to visit an old friend in his new home a few days ago. I found “Fred” sitting in a semi-circle of 12 other people gazing at a TV. The others drooped, drooled, gaped or groaned in various depths of indignity. But Fred, true to his nature, sat tall

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