Are we caught in consumer Christianity?


How can I sing a new song of deliverance to those who have no hope, if, at the same time, I insist on remaining comfortable among those who do?

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She’ll be comin’ ‘round the mountain


Okay, I keep dancing around this, but I’m not going to let it go. Blame it on my wife, Marti. She’s been saying something’s coming for some time now and I’ve been going, “Sure, sure.” But have you noticed how anyone who has either become a Christian during the Jesus Movement or experienced any kind of ministry during that time, cannot stop thinking about it? Like the scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where Richard Dreyfuss builds a model of a mountain in his living room and doesn’t know why — he just had to do it? Why does the Jesus Movement sit in the living room of anyone who experienced it? This is not ho hum, time marching on. Nor is it just a bad case of nostalgia. No … something really happened, and something’s coming back, and you can think I’m nuts, you can humor me, or you can join me, but that’s where we’re going.

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Jamaica in Chico



This was one of my most memorable Father’s Days. That comes as somewhat of a surprise because I wasn’t with my family. But I was with one of my children, so I felt like a dad. Chandler and I were in Chico, California, getting familiar with what, Lord willing, will become his home in the fall as he begins attending Butte College, about 12 miles outside of town, where a special training program sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has caught his eye. Chandler wants to be a game warden.

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An unorthodox instrument of God

by Marti Fischer


When wanting to get away with something without her husband knowing, my Mother-in-law often used to quote an old saying, “When the cats away,” she would say, “The mice will play.”  Well … while John is away from his desk, let me tell you a story about an orthodox instrument of God, someone you know very well.

It will not be difficult for people who know John and his ministry to imagine how uncomfortable John is with the intersection of independent ministry and entrepreneurship.

Consider the origins of John’s ministry. John was the son of the choir director of a well-known evangelical church in southern California, destined for ministry. He grew up with that bubble of destiny about him. In 1969, with a BA in Social Sciences from Wheaton College, in Illinois, and with the album “Cold Cathedral” to his credit (the first contemporary Christian album released in the United States), John was selected for the internship program at Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California, pastored by Ray C. Stedman, and focal point of the Jesus Movement in Northern California.

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Blessed are the weird


[Warning: This smile has been known to light candles, so be sure and check before you leave the room that you’re not leaving a candle burning somewhere, unless it’s in your heart!]

We’ve had some wonderful responses to the idea of unorthodox “Ben”s among us. John sent us this by Jacob Nordby: “Blessed are the weird people, the poets and misfits, the artists, the writers, and music makers, the dreamers and the outsiders, for they force us to see the  world differently.”

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Is there a “Ben” in the house?


[If you have missed the last few Catches, you will wonder who this “Ben” is. He is the main character in my novel, Saint Ben that we are bringing back for a re-release. To catch up, go to our website and scroll down to “Why Saint Ben?” and the next few Catches will summarize the story.]

And his smile will light a candle

That will burn in your heart.

                   – From a song I wrote about Chandler shortly after he was born

I suddenly realized we have our own “Ben” in the house. He’s way more spiritual than I give him credit for. He is a truth-teller, and he makes you into one too by the sheer force of his character. You can’t lie to him because the truth is laid bare the minute you look at him.

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Fear not

[Today, with the magic date of June 15 around the corner and things returning to some semblance of normal, I went back to the first Catch I wrote that mentioned the pandemic and it was this one, on March 10, 2020. Even though we have much to celebrate, fear is still knocking on the door so I decided I would publish it again so we could all check to see how we are doing a year and a pandemic later.]


Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened, but in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:14-15

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

There is one thing I have to say about the global crisis that is facing us related to the current coronavirus outbreak that seems to be uppermost in everyone’s mind right now. The most important thing for us as followers of Christ is, yes, to listen to the advice of experts: be wise, be cautious, be safe — all of that is common sense — but more importantly: Do not be afraid.

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‘Time to Get the News Out’


[If you are wondering what this Catch is all about, you have most likely missed the recent Catches that summarize the story behind my novel, Saint Ben. If so, go to and scroll down to the Catch for June 1, “Why Saint Ben?” and “Catch up” on the next four Catches.]

Getting the news out is a key element in the story of Saint Ben.

Jonathan Lieberman is a delivery boy for the Pasadena Star News, an afternoon paper six days a week with an early Sunday morning edition. Therefore it is Jonathan’s responsibility to get the news out 7 days a week. Ben assists Jonathan where possible, and like everything else Ben does, it becomes a serious enterprise — as if the real news of the day isn’t really news until Jonathan delivers it.

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