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Dear Brock Turner


I’ve been hearing your name a lot lately. I can’t scroll through my feeds without seeing all the outrage directed toward you. You’re everywhere. It’s like you’re famous, but for all the wrong reasons.

I heard what you did to that woman behind the dumpster as she laid unconscious. I heard the judge presiding over your case thought a longer sentence would’ve had too severe an impact on your future. I heard your dad wrote a letter about how exhausted, anxious, overwhelmed and depressed you are from this firestorm you created. He says you aren’t even eating your favorite steak anymore. Must be a really tough time for you, huh? I even heard it was like pulling teeth to get the “authorities” and Stanford to release your mugshot.

I have to say Brock, it must be so reassuring to know someone has your back. It must be comforting to know you have a few advocates in high places. The elitist force field of privilege and entitlement that surrounds and buffers you must seem impenetrable. But Brock, know this. No matter how many shortened sentences you get or how much public relations damage control is done on your behalf, there’s one thing your daddy’s money will never be able to buy and that’s a clear conscience. You see Brock, you didn’t just make a mistake that night. You made an unconscionable mistake. You didn’t just make an error in judgment. You made an incomprehensible error in judgment.

To be honest Brock, I don’t care about your sleepless nights. I don’t care about how you’re not eating like you used to. I don’t care about whether or not you finish your degree. And I care very little about the reputation you will seek to repair as a result of your egregious and abhorrent behavior. Brock, you’re cowardly. And now you’re a rapist. It appears you have no moral compass and lack any spine to step up to the plate and begin the long and arduous road of healing and forgiveness. You simply are unwilling to do the heavy lifting. You’ve yet to even apologize or show any kind of remorse. You blame everything and everyone but yourself. Your blindness and inability to see any wrongdoing in this situation is nauseating and gives me zero confidence that you won’t do this again.

What’s so sad is you feel as if you’re the victim in all this – you’re not. You are the victimizer. You are the assailant. You are the damager. She’s the real victim in this nightmare. Her courageous letter is the primary reason why I’m writing this. Her strength overshadows your weakness. Having a young daughter myself, I can’t even begin to imagine how I would handle something like this.

How can you not own up, take responsibility, and be accountable for the choices you made that night?

Here’s a crash course for you on how to treat women. No Stanford degree required. Ready? Women are meant to be honored, valued, respected, elevated, and fought for. Not objectified, taken advantage, minimized, or violated. Read and re-read those last two sentences over and over and over again until it sinks in.

Now, I want to be very clear. I don’t write these words mindlessly pointing my finger at you. Typically, I’m not a judgmental, accusatory person. I write this letter because there was a time in my life when my head was so far up my ass that I needed words like these. And I got them. My marriage was on the rocks. I was risking everything and choosing myself over my family. But a friend reached out to me with a letter, kind of like this, and it changed the trajectory of my life.

As angry as I am at you Brock for what you did, I wholeheartedly believe you can be restored. I believe in forgiveness. I believe in unconditional love. I believe in second chances. But you’ve got to put in the work. You’ve got to face the most brutal facts of this situation and own them. You’ve got to acknowledge the irreversible damage you’ve caused and commit to making things right in any way you can. You’ve got to be honest with yourself. You’ve got to pay your debt to society and find a redemptive path to walk down. It’s not too late.

I think of Ray Rice, former Baltimore Raven who punched his wife in the face in an elevator, who now speaks to Ravens rookies about domestic violence. I think about Eric Smallridge who was drunk driving when he killed Megan Napier. Today, because of Eric’s remorse, brokenness and the forgiveness of Megan’s mom, Eric travels the country speaking to high schoolers about the dangers of drunk driving.

You are not a lost cause Brock.

You can right this ship, but there’s a heavy cost to pay.

My prayer is that you’ll eventually be willing to make that payment.


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The 3rd Alternative: Revised and Updated

Apple or Samsung?

Donkey or elephant?

Honda or Toyota? Read more




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3 Words That Change Everything

What’s your typical response when someone cuts you off on the road? Do you speed up beside them? Curse at them? Flip ’em off?

How about when someone close to you hurts you or betrays you? What’s your reaction? Do you quietly sit back and take it or do you try and get even? If you’re honest, you probably choose the latter option. It’s the option that’s always available. Unfortunately, it’s the option that’s almost always chosen.

Whether you’re shouting an expletive at someone who just cut you off or you’re engaging in a knock-down, drag-out with someone you love, retaliation is never the answer. It’s never, and never will be, the solution that gets you what you’re really looking for. But it’s what we do. We’re wired for it. Our culture is addicted to it. You push me. I push back. Disagree with me. I’ll shoot you down. You insult me. I try and humiliate you. Wrong me and I’ll try and bury you.

When our ego is challenged, we seek retribution by any means necessary. Blow for blow. Tit for tat. Eye for an eye. Nothing is off limits. And it’s because of these flawed mindsets that we’ve become so entrenched in this seemingly never-ending cycle of revenge… a cycle that is literally killing us.

Even in the wake of the the senseless, horrific massacre that occurred last week at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, opinions and agendas are still being sought after more passionately than silence, unity, and reconciliation. We’re still more focused on words like race-baiting and gun control than we are with words like restoration and grace. We’re still more concerned with what our president is saying and the timing of his words than we are with what our lives are SAYING in response to these all-too-familiar tragedies. We share quotes by MLK and Maya Angelou about overcoming hate with love then not even a day later share things that are in direct opposition to what they spent their lives fighting and bleeding for.

So, what do we do? What ends this cycle? What brings about healing? What creates authentic, sustainable change? What is the ultimate answer?

I’ll let Nadine Collier answer that last question. She’s the daughter of Ethel Lance. And here’s what she had to say to the man who murdered her mother. “You took something very special to me. I will never be able to hold my mom again, but I forgive you,”

I FORGIVE YOU. Three words that changed everything.

She didn’t say, “I hope you burn in hell.” She didn’t say, “I hope you die for what you did.” She said, “I FORGIVE YOU.” How on earth do you utter those words to the man who took the life of your mother? How do you display that level of compassion in the midst of the most heartbreaking thing you could ever experience?


Nadine Collier, along with several other family members affected by this tragedy, chose to free herself from the shackles of hostility, aggression, and animosity. She chose to liberate herself instead of being imprisoned by hate.

The next time you clench your fist to hold ever so tightly to an offense, a grudge, or a wrong, may you be overtaken by a greater desire to open your hands to love and forgiveness. Because then and only then…will everything change.

“Forgiveness is not weakness; it is the power of God – the power of God to overcome evil by depriving evil of a host for retaliation.” -Brian Zahnd










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The Paradox of Restlessness

Have you ever felt anxious?  Impatient?  Uneasy?  Antsy?

Have you ever felt like life was Read more




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The 3rd Alternative

Target or Wal-Mart?

Donkey or elephant?

Nike or Adidas? Read more


The Tragedy of Trayvon

Marches and rallies have been organized. Campaigns have raised money. Hooded sweatshirts have been worn. Facebook statuses have been updated. And celebrities, athletes, and politicians (including our very own president) have all weighed in. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a theory.

Whichever side of the fence you find yourself on in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, one thing is certain, Read more

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The Little Boy with the Orange Water

A couple weeks ago, I came across the picture you see above.

One day, not too long after finding this picture, I had it up on my computer screen when my son Landon (4 years old) asked me, Read more

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The Fearlessness and Messiness of Dr. King

I have to be honest.  Writing a few words about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. feels a little bit like practicing to play one-on-one with LeBron James.  I feel inadequate and unworthy to try and encapsulate such an iconic figure in just a few paragraphs.  But I will, because it’s my way of saying, “Thank you Dr. King for your legacy.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world.  But instead of listing all of his exploits and accomplishments, which are vast, incredible and readily accessible, I will choose instead to focus solely on his mission.

Maybe you’ve heard this.  Maybe you haven’t.  But here is what Dr. King wanted to be shared at his memorial: Read more

tim tebow

Takeaways From Tebow

Let me introduce you to Tim Tebow.  You may have heard his name before. He’s the guy that last weekend completed an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play in overtime to help his Denver Broncos advance to the 2nd round of the NFL Playoffs. He’s the guy, that after the game, nearly shut down twitter with 9,420 tweets per second mentioning his name. He’s the guy everyone’s talking about. He’s the guy that just keeps winning football games and defying all odds placed against him.

So what is it about Tim Tebow that has made him more viral than a Justin Bieber YouTube video? What is it that’s driving Tebow-mania? Read more