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Sweetwater Research

There is a scene in the film Wayne’s World, where Wayne and Garth are using some very amateurish background video effects to pretend as if they are traveling the world from their basement studio. They pretend to go surfing in Hawaii. They visit Broadway to see a show, and then Texas to join a cattle drive. […]



When I was in college, way back in the last millennium, I had the great fortune to be cast as a Jet in West Side Story. Role of lifetime, right? I was billed as “Big Deal, ” and I had one line during a scene that the Sharks and Jets meet to decide where they […]


The Rule of Law

Rules are important.Yes, they can be a burden. And yes, a relationship built on only rules will never amount to much. God says so in both the New and Old Testament, chastising legalism in both epochs:These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far […]


Picking Your Battles

As a history buff, I am fascinated by the American Civil War.  The strategy, the human drama, the movies and books, the stark and memorable war photography.I especially like all those daguerreotypes with sepia tones and the stoic expressions necessary when one had to sit still for so long in uncomfortable clothing.=But the reality of […]


See Me

Who doesn’t want to be seen and heard? To be liked and thanked? Who among us refuses to accept gratitude?Raise your hand if you find yourself belittling and scoffing the attention of those you respect and admire.Now, everyone take your hand down…except Joaquin Phoenix.Appreciation is universally accepted, encouraged and, if we care to admit it, […]


It Hurts to Become a Man

A young Whetstone “cowboy” was limping after a full day‘s work. He had just completed our scaled-down version of a “cattle drive, ” which entailed a 6-hour day in the dusty heat, waving his hat, stomping his boots, and doing his part to herd about 20 cattle into a shoot to get their shots. He […]


Breaking Ground

For the first time, we have 12 boys at Whetstone Boys Ranch. 12 sweaty, energetic, hormonal, emotionally-charged boys. 12 boys to serve, love, teach, mentor, counsel, feed, support, discipline, challenge, comfort, and console.This has been the plan for this campus since we opened in the fall of 2011. 12 was the magic number.12 tribes of […]


Chimpanzee off the Square

There is a chimpanzee off the main square in downtown West Plains.  You heard right.  A chimpanzee.  Actually, there are two.  There are two chimpanzees that reside in a giant outdoor cage attached to a Victorian painted lady.  It’s quite a spectacle.You should hear them during a storm.  It’s like something out of Julius Caesar, […]



Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. Maybe I had too much caffeine during the day – quite likely since I’m having to stay awake while grading AP essays all day in Louisville right now…about Middlemarch. Maybe I stayed up too late with my good friend Matt Logsdon, talking about culture wars, Brother Lawrence and the […]


Open Doors

Maybe you have read Blue Like Jazz.If you haven’t, make a point of doing so.Soon.Donald Miller’s honest approach to faith is so thoughtful and refreshing that his insight and voice will stick with you long after you finish.This weekend in Lexington, I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Mr. Miller speak in person. Unlike […]

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