• SOUDER: The folly of campaign promises – and those who believe them

    I ran across the following fictional account some time ago, and though the point it makes can be applied at any time, it seemed especially appropriate now. Here is the story:

    While walking down the street one day, a corrupt senator (sorry for the near redundancy) is tragically hit by a car and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

  • A confession of true colors

    There is a confession that I must scrape from my heart and address publicly for the first time. I do so with temerity and humility, because this is not something you or I like to admit. I ask your acceptance and beg your tolerance, because only recently did I come to understand this blemish on my character.

    I come from a heritage of mixed colors.

    There, I’ve said it, and it wasn’t easy. I don’t even think my parents have realized this, that my history is not as clear as I had grown up believing.

  • CHARLTON: An example that the wrong people get most attention

    Sometimes, it’s what doesn’t make the news that is most newsworthy, and conversely, what makes the news that is the most inconsequential.

    Take, for instance, the amount of attention given to Miley Cyrus. Not that I seek to offer her any more notoriety, but are her exploits really deserving of so much attention? I think not, mostly because that is the intended purpose – to draw attention and keep her in the eye of the media.

  • Reading is right the thing to do

    The author Tracy Gayle uttered some frightening words the other day: Nobody reads anymore, she said. They have their phones in front of them. She is in position to see this literary loss far more clearly than most of us: She teaches kids to read for her living and tries to sell the novels she writes for her soul.

    As reality-pounding as that assessment was, it was only the last of a series of jackhammers that have cracked my soul in recent days.

  • SOUDER: A trip to the farm and the ‘good old days’

    On an early October day a few years ago, my wife and I loaded the kids up in the old front- wheel-drive sleigh and headed to the country for what we hoped might be the start of a long-standing, old-fashioned family tradition – picking apples.

  • This ridiculous shutdown hits close to home

    There is uncertainty in the land today. Our mighty government has struck out.

    That means different things to each of you. It means something entirely different to me today than it did in 1995, when such stupidity ruled.

    That’s because I realized that a shutdown could have meant my son wouldn’t get paid this week.

  • CHARLTON: There’s lots to like about Pope Francis

    I have found, like many others, much to admire in Pope Francis. I believe that Francis can set an agenda that will affect change not only within the Christian world but in the larger world as well, where there are certainly many changes that need to be made.

    One of the most important agenda items for Francis is his emphasis on caring for the poor. From the first moments of his papacy, Francis made a point to eschew many of the regal trappings of the papacy and, in doing so, made a powerful statement about his very real concern for the poor of the world.

  • The real question about football

    It’s a question that first resonated in my life 40 years ago and now has roared back with full force:

    Why do people allow their children to play football?

    It’s a question I asked myself when I first became a father, and now that the game has grown far more powerful than its rules and equipment can manage, I hear it amplify from a whisper to a shout:

    Why do parents allow their precious children to play tackle football?

  • SOUDER: Enemies…or possible future teammates?

    Sometimes our enemies are chosen for us. For example, growing up in Indiana as a huge Indiana University college basketball fan, it was just accepted that our primary “enemies” were Purdue and Kentucky. In fact, it was not unusual to see people wearing t-shirts that said, “My two favorite teams are Indiana and whoever is playing Kentucky” or a similar one with “Purdue” substituted for “Kentucky.”

  • Crotchety may in fact be an apt description

    Let’s begin with a cliche: Age is simply a number. Or another: You’re only as old as you feel.

    Or, as Mitch Albom suggested in his quirky The Time Keeper: If we didn’t measure time, would we know that it was passing?

    Those are thoughts at the top of my quickly crowding cranium because I recently had one of those landmark birthdays that give us pause and has us studying the mirror and dreading the horizon – and chanting it’s only a number, it’s only a number.