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As we enter Summer, Minnesotans might spot our state bird (the loon), state fish (the walleye) or state flower (the pink lady slipper). Now, we can take notice of the newest addition in the state pantheon: the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), just appointed state bee by Gov. Tim Walz.

There is a group of birds that I find so very interesting and exciting. They are not tiny and colorful, or sing a beautiful song, but rather look plain and sort of familiar. In fact, they look much like a chicken.

There’s no denying the amazing religious pluralism in this country. Driving in our southwest suburbs, we not only pass churches and synagogues but mosques and mandirs. In spring, our neighbors are celebrating Easter (Christian) and Passover (Jewish), and they also celebrating Ridván (Bahai) …

I am no stranger to getting up pre-dawn, stumbling around in the dark and finding remote locations that I have never been to before. So, it was “just another day at the office” when I recently went to Wyoming and Colorado to visit an old friend, the Greater Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).

Ever since I first watched one, I’ve been fixated on short films. Each motion picture conveys a meaningful message, through mellifluous music, expressions, and very little dialogue (or none at all). However, short films are not set on the same standards as your typical-length movie.

Two weeks ago, a beached whale in the Philippines was discovered with 88 pounds of plastic in its intestines. This shocked; even by whale standards, 88 pounds is extreme. In February, a whale in Spain died with 64 pounds of plastic, netting and other trash in its intestines. In Thailand last…

According to preliminary estimates from the Office of Traffic Safety, the current count of traffic fatalities stands at 65 for 2019. At the same time last year, the corresponding number was 53, which was worse than the previous year. Review of data from 2017 to 2019 shows the fatality count …

Each month at the Senior Care Community where I serve as Chaplain, we focus attention on an essential value to uphold as staff and residents. This March the value proposition around which we rally is integrity. We raise questions like, “What do we think, say and do that gives identity to int…

Life after death is not a simple or easy concept to discuss. In fact, this topic will take two posts. Some of us believe that there is an existence after death and some do not. There is no guidebook written by those who have gone before us. A first step, I believe, is to set up the context a…

I’ve been thinking about conversations, especially the national conversation swirling around us every day. To say we are polarized stresses the obvious. To say the issues are complex is equally obvious. I have said before that I believe there are no political solutions to spiritual problems.…

In this day and age, it is rare to discover a new species of animal. It is not surprising to discover new insects since there are nearly a million species of bugs in the world. On the other hand, there are only about 5,000 different kinds of critters on the planet. So back in 2017, it was su…

He sat on the end of the front row, choosing the spot, he informed me, so he would be out of the way. He had a heavy burden, a walker that was fully laden. My mind didn’t register him as homeless, as it should have, given the amount of stuff he carried with him. Trudging down snowy sidewalks…

Ever since the fifth grade, when I watched a short horror film about a psychopathic gingerbread doll serial killer, I had had a severe fear of the supernatural. I would constantly find myself unable to sleep, afraid that there may be an evil spirit lurking behind my nightstand.

I was praying one morning last month, as I do every morning, and I couldn’t find my prayer book. We had had guests over the previous evening and had cleaned so well that my prayer book was in a different location. Instead, I picked up another book and opened to a random page hoping for inspi…

Now that the kids are older, and really throughout this column, a lot of my ideas are about handling behavior, holding yourself together as a parent, and in general managing the emotional side of this parenting gig. However, there’s also the practical side. And in over 20 years of doing this…

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