A painful reality of 2020: The year our family stopped going to church

A few weeks after we moved to a new city this winter, COVID-19 hit, leaving us to “attend” the online service of a church we had been visiting for about two months. It didn’t work. We didn’t even know the music leaders on the screen. Now these people were propped up on our kitchen table, earnestly looking at us through our iPad, inviting us to join in with congregation-less singing. And while I truly admired the effort they were making to provide a meaningful Sunday morning experience, we just couldn’t connect with it. Church felt like watching a locally produced,…

Thank God for that Awful Lady in the Lexus

The other day, I was just minding my own business, trying to get to work, when a woman in a black Lexus brought out the worst in me. I was trying to park in a garage in downtown Washington, D.C., which is a challenge. I have little time to get to the garage after dropping off my daughter at school, and if I’m a minute late, the price goes up from $14 to $21. Time is of the essence.

Check out these podcasts featuring interviews with Raquel and me

If you have enjoyed reading what Raquel and I have written, here’s a chance to hear us share our thoughts and interviews. Enjoy! [And I also need to apologize: Something happened to the original post that was linked here (“My appearance on a morning show horrified my wife”) and I can’t get it back. It has been so frustrating! But you should definitely check our our podcast interviews below.]

My siblings died — and my dad sang this song

The phone rang and my mom answered. She never imagined the horrific news my grandfather was about to share: My dad’s two children from his first marriage had died in a plane crash.  Scottie and Rhonie Rogers (ages 10 and 14) were last seen with their mom and stepdad on July 5, 1981, when they took off in a light airplane en route to Florida for a vacation. The plane never made it there. The newspaper reported that the plane was flying through a thunderstorm when it plunged from 11,000 feet to 4,000 feet. It dropped off the radar and…

A lesson in prayer from kicking my daughter out of the kitchen

It was my daughter Layla’s ninth birthday last week, but if you’d asked her, it was more like her birthday season. Five months ago, Layla not only started talking about what gifts she wanted for her birthday— she began developing a meal plan for the big day (donuts, a Lunchable, and tacos). Layla deemed the day before her birthday, “Birthday Eve.” She went around talking about it to anyone who would listen, including a Target cashier, who thrilled Layla by correctly guessing that she was turning nine.

Watch the Focus on the Family interview with my wife and me

I was a little boy living in the town of Petal, Mississippi, when I first heard the Focus on the Family Broadcast. I heard it at home while we were getting ready for school, driving around in the car, or on a cassette tape my mom had ordered because she was particularly moved by one of the shows. Actually being on the show, which has about seven million listeners every day, was not a prospect I considered. Well, it happened. …

The story of two dads, two boys, and one Father

The other night I had a dream about my dad, who died over two years ago. I was in the fellowship hall of the church we attended when I was a boy, and I (as an adult) called his cell phone number. This was odd because I knew he was dead and wouldn’t answer the phone, but to my pleasant shock, he picked up. “Hey-lo!” Dad said in his twangy Arkansas accent. My heart leapt. I hadn’t talked with him in months — I thought I couldn’t talk to him anymore. “Hey, Dad!” I said, but then I looked up…

A racially tinged comment about my wife — a lesson in forgiveness

I was at a holiday party talking with a friend when I overheard a woman behind me say the name of my wife in a conversation. I naturally started listening in and then realized that the woman, a friendly acquaintance, was talking about Raquel’s ethnicity. “I’ll tell you what,” said the woman snidely with a laugh, “she looks like a Mexican if you ask me!” (Raquel is Puerto Rican).

COVID lockdown: Marriage lessons learned from my wife cutting my hair

“Honey, I really don’t want a COVID-19 hairdo,” I said. “You have to help me out. It’s looking rough.” My wife furrowed her brow and looked at me out of the corner of her eye. “I can’t cut your hair,” she said. But I had no other choice. My barber is out of commission and buzz cuts make me look like I’m 12. That left me at the mercy of Raquel and a pair of unused clippers.

Take a break from COVID coverage — there’s wonderful news in your Father’s eyes

One time when I was about eight years old, I was outside with my dad when I heard a bird chirp a three-note melody: “tweet-tweet-tweet.” I looked over at my dad and said, “That bird’s singing a song,” and then I imitated it with a whistle — “tweet-tweet-tweet.” My dad’s face warmed; he gave a soft, kind smile; and his eyes twinkled.