Thursday, October 06, 2022

 *Jack’s Winning Words  10/6/22

“When you give food to the poor they call you a saint.  When you ask why the poor have no food they call you a communist.”  (Dom Helder Camara)  Camara, a Brazilian bishop and a proponent of Liberation Theology, is one of my religious heroes, right up there with Martin Luther.  He was small in stature, but had a huge heart (especially for the poor).  The Church, at times, can be an enigma.  It talks about serving people as Jesus did, and, yet it sometimes honors what the world calls, “success.”  Do you have any suggestions as to what the Church might do to make it a more welcoming place?  …and do you have any suggestions for helping to meet the needs of the poor?  ;-)  Jack 

FROM WILLMAR REV:  I'm often found being that example of that “boy throwing the starfish back into the ocean” when it comes to the overwhelming task of 'responsible' (legitimacy vs. abuse) benevolent giving . .“Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.    “Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, ‘Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”   “The young boy paused, looked up, and replied ‘Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,’ the youth replied. ‘When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.’   “The old man replied, ‘But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.’   “The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled, and said, ‘It made a difference to that one!’” 0;-) ===JACK:  We each can make a difference...positive or negative.  This week I heard of someone who was discouraged from becoming a pastor, because she was married to an AG minister.  Sad, Sad! ===REV:   That reminds me of my experience over in East Detroit (now Eastpoint) before moving over to West Bloomfield . . . I often thought, as I would dare not say it out loud, I wouldn’t be attending that church if I were not it’s pastor . . . Very difficult it was for me those four years as the wealthy church treasure was the ‘go to person’ for any major decision to be made . . . No board meeting unless ‘George’ was present. Then I met Jack Freed of the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church and pastoral life then “got sweeter as the day went by!” 0;-)===JACK:  "There's so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us, that it behooves none of us to speak ill of the rest of us."  AG, Lutheran, Catholic or Jewish?  Does Jesus care?

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:   Once a month  we have Cafe Church when we sit around small tables for the service which is informal, discussions etc and lots of cake and coffee. The congregation is different for that service, also we collect food for the food bank===JACK:  What a wonderful way "to  do church!"  There are times when it's refreshing to take a break from tradition.  As long as God is invited to be a guest, I'm all for it.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  A thought-provoking WW.  Our whole society is trying to deal with this issue I think and terribly polarized on it.  In my opinion, we the affluent don’t really deeply understand our own needs and keep trying to grasp in the wrong places for our security—the golden calf spirituality one might say—we need to better and more successfully understand the gifts and faith the poor can bless us with but there seems to be so many obstacles and fears actually in poor people and rich people actually opening up to get to knowing each other authentically.  Money gets in the way of developing relationships—there is more in humanity than just fears of losing money or by someone cheating someone else out of their money.  Get down to the Soul of things, in my opinion, but materially, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, socially, ethically, religiously, nationally hard to do.  Thought-provoking WW, Pastor Freed.  No easy answers, God must know best and help us all, poor and rich to get through.  And preserve us all. ===JACK:  What to do about the poor?  ...a question facing each generation.  It seems as though Jesus was always on their side...and since I want to be on the side of Jesus, I feel that I must have a concern for the poor.  Now...what's the best way to show this concern?  Ahhhh, there's the rub!

FROM SALON SUZY:  This is my third week volunteering at the Food Shelf at church. So rewarding===JACK:  Congratulations!  You are in the process of learning that there's more to life than just making a living.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I've rarely found church pastors .....and church members as a come out and publicly endorse a political candidate.  To me it's pretty clear which political party advocates spending tax dollars on programs (and laws) to help the poor and disadvantaged.  We can do what we can as individuals to help, and perhaps our church does....some local programs to help.  Nonetheless, it would seem to me that the church leadership should challenge the congregation to think long and hard about that and in a not so subtle way "endorse" most Democrats.  We can all do a little. Taking a little (in tax dollars) from everyone in a country of 330 million people and channeling it to helping the poor....domestic or immigrants/refugees....could have such a huge impact.  As a sidebar to that, it seems that of the many people that complain about the crime rate, few realize that getting people out of poverty has a huge impact on the crime rate.===JACK:  I speak out for the disadvantaged, realizing that there are differences of opinion as to how is the best way to help the poor.  People know where I stand, even though I do not publicly endorse a party.  What I admire about Camara is that he stood up for the poor when that meant putting his life in danger and being labeled as a communist.

FROM WILKIE:  This is a great quote, Jack.  Thanks for sharing.  One thing the church can do  to be more welcoming, in my opinion, is tell visitors donations are not expected of them.===JACK:  That's an interesting comment.  During the pandemic it seems that more and more people are giving in other ways than the typical Sunday offering plate.  I've noticed that fewer and fewer people put something into the offering plates when ushers come to the aisles.  

FROM CPA MIKE:    I remember reading a book about how charities do so much better than the government in helping the disadvantaged.  Here in Florida we have several local charities that raise tens of millions of dollars to house and feed needy people (St. Matthew's House and Harry Chapin Food Bank for example).  My observation is that the primary goal of the people dedicated to these efforts (donations or volunterism) is to provide as much as they can and to expand their outreach.   I'm thinking that when you have dedicated and talented people behind the effort things get done but it requires focus and making charity a number one priority. ===JACK:  One of the responsibilities of good government is to take care of the needs of its people.  That's one of the reasons for taxes.  As in the case of the recent hurricane, there are special needs that arise and additional funds are needed...provided by the govt and by caring people.  Eleemosynary groups can't be expected to do it alone, but throughout history they have led the way in truly caring about the needs of people.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022


Jack’s Winning Words 10/5/22
“The honor of success is increased by the obstacles which are to be surmounted.”  (Rutherford B Hayes)  If you think that the last presidential election was controversial, go back to 1876 when neither candidate received enough electoral college votes to be elected and Hayes was declared the winner after some “backroom politics.”  Hayes took on the unenviable obstacle of leading a country still divided by issues that led to the Civil War.  “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” is true, and not only in baseball.  I wonder if the “Reconstruction Period” is still going on?  The Confederate flag is still flown by some as a sign of protest.  Today, think in your mind of people who have overcome obstacles to become successful.  Name one.  ;-)  Jack

FROM ER IN SJ:  Haven't we all, on our own personal levels, overcome obstacles to find successes in our lives? I know that you have. I also know that I have. We all measure success by our own scales. Does "famous" = "successful". I would tend to argue.===JACK:  Success is where you find it.  On a certain level I might be described by others as successful.  In my own mind I see my failure, and so I feel the need to "confess" my sins (failures) to God and ask for forgiveness.  God forgives, but sometimes we're not as kind as He is.===JACK:  History often reads as we choose to read it.  "If we knew then what we know now...."  I read that Hayes was wounded five times in the war.  I think that it was difficult to be a leader during the reconstruction.  Hayes was also a staunch abolitionist, and I give him credit for that.  

FROM WILLMAR REV:  Jesus of Nazareth comes readily to mind!! 0;-) ===JACK:  How about Jesus oif Willmar?  Is He living in your community today?===REV:   I see His fingerprints on others all over town . . . even feeling Him nudging me along faithfully as well, while carrying a relationship with Him as He did His Father in Heaven! 0;-)===JACK:  Do you remember the song that was once popular....Put your hand in the hand of the man Who stilled the water  Put your hand in the hand of the man  Who calmed the sea  Take a look at yourself  And you can look at others differently  Put your hand in the hand of the man  From Galilee===REV:  I do and sang along on many occasions. 0;-)===JACK:  Music is a great gift...You, especially have been bledded by God and are using that talent.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Another Yankee manager.  Billy Martin whose biggest obstacle seems to have been himself.  Paul Christ, another recently fired coach, former Wisconsin QB, just created his own obstacle.  Will be interesting to see where and how he ends up. Likable Wisconsin guy who in my view was fired because of a first time ever Wisconsin 5 star QB recruit who has never materialized yet to his perceived potential.  For better or worse I think the two of them will be forever linked.===JACK:  The Big Ten seems to have filtered down to Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.  I don't see that adding UCLA and SoCal will make that much of a difference.  O liked it better when there was parity.  BTW, I believe that the Cleveland Indians were given their name to honor Jim Thorpe.  When they changed their name, they should have been called, The Thorpedos.

FROM SR RD:  You, Jack.===JACK:  I am truly humbled.

FROM CPA MIKE:    I do not say this in a  facetious manner  but Trump faced enormous obstacles in his pursuit of the presidency which we have to acknowledge as the ultimate success. Like it or not. Media, deep state, democrats and elements of the republican party did everything they could to defeat him yet he prevailed.    If I fly a Dixie flag and wear a M.A.G.A. hat or if you fly a Gay Pride flag and wear a BLM tee it's all OK. There should be no conflict unless one treads on the rights of others. ===JACK:  ...unless you are breaking a law (just or unjust).  Then you must be willing to face the consequences as MLK Jr and John Lewis did.  I miss the good old days when we could fly the American flag proudly and as a sign of unity.

FROM DAZ IN COLORADO:  A good book about the election of 1876 is  - To Rescue the Republic, Ulysses S Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876.   Catharine Whitney and Bret Baier. There also is info on the reconstruction situation and what was going on in the South during that period which was bad. ===JACK:  "My learning" seemed to stop with the ending of the Civil War.  I get disgusted with those who don't want teachers to teach.      

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Barbara Andrews, the first woman ordained in The American Lutheran Church, was a wheelchair user because she had Cerebral Palsy.  She was an inspiration to me.===JACK:  Was she able to take an "ordinary" call, or was hers a call to special ministry?  Did you meet her personally?                                                                                      









Tuesday, October 04, 2022


Jack’s Winning Words 10/4/22 
“How old do you have to be to know the difference between right and wrong?”  (Yom Kippur)  Yom Kippur is the holiest of Jewish holidays, the Day of Atonement, the day for making “right” all broken relationships.  Life is such that mistakes are continually made.  Do the right words correct them?  Sometimes.  Are actions needed?  Sometimes.  Our Jewish friends have “a Day” set aside to get things right with God.  Is there such a time in your life, a time “to wipe the slate clean and start all over again/”  I like the line from the Gene Autrey song: “If I could atone to that dear old daddy of mine.”  Substitute “God” for “dear old daddy” and see how that works.  Maybe it just works for me.  ;-)  Jack

FROM MAGGIE:  Ot works for me.===JACK:  A good idea for each of us.

FROM WILLMAR REV:  Standing ready, hopefully, 24/7 . . . "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). 0;-)===JACK:  You've reminde3d me of the church song...Standing on the Promises.  "Standinging, Standing....(sing it!).

FROM DANDI SANDI:  Sundown starts our day of atonement. The fasting part reminds us to look inward and to seek and give forgiveness and kindness. Being with our family is what makes it special. It saddens me that the younger generation is loosing sight of the depth of the meaning. Example: our grandson is choosing to play in a varsity tennis match instead of observing the holiday with our family. He’s a great kid and it’s not for me to say. Up to his parents, who are especially wonderful. We keep our mouths shut. Disappointing though. 🥺===JACK:  So, it happens in Judaism as it is happening in the Christian Church.  God understands, even when we don't.  That's why is G_D!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Thought-provoking WW, Pastor Freed.  Feel like I’m in atonement a lot because it happens in my heart whenever I and someone else are in disagreement and I think further my relationship with my daddy, Father, God is impacted too because He created both of us to love Him and to love each other as neighbors.  Just suffer, take it to the cross, pray, repent, speak and act in various and sundry ways and hope for God’s Work among us bringing  peace and reconciliation.  I would like to know more about how the Jewish people observe Yom Kippur, both in the earliest days of their faith and also contemporarily  because it does seem like all of our hearts need special awareness and times to make atonement for our broken relationships.  Thanks, Pastor Freed, for WW.===JACK:  Some of my Jewish friends have commented in today's blog.  Read what they've written in order to get further information about Yom Kippur.  Google works, too!

FROM ST PAUL:  John Freed <>===JACK:  It's the Jewish High Holy Days....our Christmas and Easter rolled into one.===SP: such a great idea for a holy day!  ===JACK:  We spend too much time nit-picking the differences between our religion and others and toolittle time learning more about God from those others..===SP:  agreed.  and sadly Lutherans are sometimes very guilty of this.  My daughter Becca sat thru a 90 minute Candidacy meeting some  years ago when some asshole pastor kept asking her (and I quote).  "How can you be an effective Lutheran pastor if you are married to a man who was raised in the Assembly of God? church?"    i should have gone after him with a baseball bat.   Becca left that meeting so hurt and so angry!    and few weeks later she left Luther Seminary for the last time.  and she would have made a really fine parish pastor.  there is a bit more to the story but you get the jist of it. ===JACK:  Sad, sad, sad.  Just as there is room in Heaven....there is also room in HELL.  Let God be the judge.  I'll give Him some help if He asks for it.  Becca remains a fine person.  One of my dearest and most Christian friends is an  AG community pastor in Willmar.===SP:  well said, Jack.  thanks.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Yes, they have a day but I’m learning it’s actually asuch a great idea for a holy day!   whole season.  The “hi-ho’s” – an abbreviation and inside joke on the dwarves song from Snow White – start Erev Rosh Hashannah, the night before the New Year when the moon is at it’s smallest.   Apparently this allows for new beginnings and a gradual brightening over time, not unlike our advent lighting of the individual candle the first week.  Then…they take the 10 days? Between Rosh and YK to examine the conscience and start reaching out to those whom they may have offended, making repentance, confession and trying to right broken relationships.  On Yom K you get a couple of chances to do the same radings.  I was so surprised but like in case you didn’t resonate with the reading and “sin” or missing the mark described, once presented with it again, you may think differently and deepen your understanding.  Then the next holiday, Sukkot is where you build the little structure outside with various branches.  Our old neighbors all used to do them in the front yard and visit back and forth. I’m sending an attachment to an old article I read when Tim & I lived on Richmond; probably given by a neighbor as a way to help us understand why they built the Sukkot and what I meant to them.  I still think of it often; we are all here, doing right and wrong…by the grace of God😊===JACK:  Yes, I do recall that you once lived in a Jewish neighborhood...and, obviously, some of their customs rubbed off on you.  Our community changed shortly after we arrived in Michigan.  We now have thew largest Reformed Jewish congregation in the nation here in West Bloomfield, besides other kinds of Judaism.

FROM JET IN LONDON:  This one resonated with Kiki and me.  We are all on a journey.===JACK:  Yes, life is a journey.  Things don't always go smoothly, but as long as we get to our destination safely......

 to see my blog

Monday, October 03, 2022

 Jack’s Winning Words  10/3/22

“Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?  We could float among the stars together.”  (Song by the 5th Dimension)  This is the 60th anniversary of the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival.  It’s the largest such even in the world with over 600 balloons.  Spectacular!  I once received a balloon ride as a birthday present, but it had to be cancelled because of bad weather.  Bummer!  Maybe you’ve had better luck…to float peacefully over the countryside with the occasional sound of the gas burner.  If you were given a chance to fly any place in the world in a hot air balloon, where might that be and with whom?  ;-)  Jack.

FROM VW MARY:  Got to ride in a hot air balloon in Kenya with the Nomads.  Awesome experience…..===JACK:  One of the fond memories relegated to the past...The Nomads.  I never had the pleasure of one of their trips, although several of my friends were members.

FROM WILLMAR REV:  I've been told on occasion that I was full of 'hot air' but haven't gotten very far off the ground yet?!" 0;-))===JACK:  I'd rather be accused of being full of hot air than being full of B.S.===REV:  That descriptive terms too has been used at times?! 0;-)) ===JACK:  But nothing beats being filled with the Holy Spirit.

FROM COPPER COUNTRY BOB:  Never thought of you as full of hot air.  Blessed week.===JACK:  As old age increases I've become more accepting of people who have different views than I have.  "Judge not that ye be judged."

FROM SR RD:  When I was on a sabbatical leave in New Mexico, I lived in an area where one of the tenets had a hot air balloon.  He took me up when those 600 other colors were either unraveled or already afloat.  That was such a thrill for me! and when we landed in a rather bumpy way in the desert area, friends were there to open a bottle of champagne.  I loved it all!!!===JACK:  Were you in the habit of wearing a habit at that time?  I can imagine you playing the "lead" in The Sound of Music.

FROM SALON SUZY:  On my bucket list.. have a friend from the gym that leaves tomorrow. Her ride is Thursday weather permitted===JACK:  My one and oly chance for a ride was scrubbed by the weather.  Bummer.

FROM DAZ IN COLRADO:  They're amazing things to watch. One went over our house in WB just barely over. Something to watch from the ground.===JACK:  I understand that it takes a special skill to fly one.  Did you ever have the desire?

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  I gave Bob a surprise hot air balloon ride for his 30th birthday, over 42 years ago. Highland recreation area. We always wanted to do a hot air balloon trip in Europe but it's no longer on the list. Glad we did it once. ðŸ˜ƒ===JACK:  When we first moved to West Bloomfield, it was not unusual to see hot air balloons floating over our neighborhoods.

FROM CR:  In about 2 weeks my 2 daughters and I are going up. We were canceled last fall due to weather. Wish us better luck Oct 22. 😊===JACK:  Being in the balloon will be great.  Being with your daughters will be GREATER!


Friday, September 30, 2022

 Jack’s Winning Words 9/30/22

“Never complain.  Never explain.”  (Henry Ford II biography)  I didn’t realize that this quote originated in England, which could explain why the Royal Family is so tight-lipped about their activities.  I’m more familiar with it as the title of the biography of Henry Ford II. “What was it like growing up with your grandfather?"  "How come you were married three times?" Someone once told me "you're the most tight-lipped pastor's family that I know of.”  Various roles in life require discretion and confidentialty, whether it be doctor, pastor, lawyer, therapist or friend.  Are you able to keep secrets?  ;-)  Jack

FROM WILLMAR REV:  "I'm not telling?!" 0;-))===JACK:  Thanks for the Facebook message that someone has been named the greatest AG Community Pastor in Minnesota (In the world?).

FROM SK IN SJ:    Friends share their problems a lot and they always say ‘don’t tell anyone”. So you have to store a lot of “secrets” 🤣I usually say I’ll forget before I can pass it on, ha!! ===JACK:  Did you ever play the child's game: Pass It On?  It's sometimes funny how messages get garbled when passed on.

FROM ST PAUL:  wait a minute:):)  who was married 3 times??  just curious.===JACK:  "The Deuce!"

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Probably a dozen others have written this: the quote is from George Bernard Shaw.  I'm not sure but it may be in "Major Barbara".===JACK:  It is the title of Ford's biography and probably has its origin with the Royal Family in England.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  When I was young, there were many questions answered with “it’s not y/our business”  We did not talk about tragedies, accidents, divorce etcetera.  I was also told to speak softly in restaurants and in public as “it’s no one’s business or no one else wants to hear y/our conversation”.  Now, with people shouting into their phones in public places including trains and airplanes, I wish they had my mother around to “school them” on their blather😊  Keep it to yourself!===JACK:  I can't remember that we, as a family, even went to a restaurant.  It was the Great Depression, and we had no money.

FROM JOE ANN:  I had a child of five tell me she knew a secret but she could not tell me because she swallowed it!===JACK:  Maybe her secret was that she was chewing gum.  Did you ever swallow your gum?  I did.

FROM KF IN WB:  I’m really good at keeping secrets- especially big ones!! 😄😄 ===JACK:  Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?===KF: Definitely animal.===JACK:  Related to you? 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

 Jack’s Winning Words 9/29/22]

“If you’re not moving forward and you’re not evolving, you’re devolving, and I don’t want to go backwards.  I want to be better at what I do – tomorrow.”  (Audra McDonald)  Aodra is a trained classical singer who is also a “pop” star.  Have you heard of her?  She’s said that in her singing she reaches deep down and tries to sing the truth.  Whether or not we are singers, each of us can reach down and try to speak the truth in our relationships with others.  Personally, I want to evolve into some better than I am now.  It takes concentration.  It takes a search to separate what is true goodness and what is just “the ordinary.   I believe in the theory of evolution: it’s better to evolve than to devolve!  ;-)  Jack

FROM TONY:  Jack, your nuggets every day are easy to take for granted.  You have such a knack for truth in each message, in 8-10 lines.  I don’t say thank you, enough.  I hope you have everything you need.  It would be nice to rest over coffee with you sometime. ===JACK:  Why not stop by when you're on this side of town sometime?  We'll be here until the end of Novemeber.  Give a call.

FROM JU IN NC:  Evolution Watch:. Folks in Minnesota,will someday grow tail's.  It is just too hard to hold a plate of grilled steak, glass of lemonade, and brush away flies and mosquitoes at the same time.===JACK: Evolution Watch:. Folks in Minnesota,will someday grow tail's.  It is just too hard to hold a plate of grilled steak, glass of lemonade, and brush away flies and mosquitoes at the same time.

FROM ST PAUL:  i think this is part of why you have reached such a ripe old just keep evolving!   good work,  Jack!===JACK:  Even my theology is evolving (for the better, I hope).

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Yesterday I heard/read:  Imperfect action is always way better than perfect inaction…Take a chance if you make a mistake, you can always try again (get a new job) etc.  I think fear of failure may be a component in people choosing not to evolve.===JACK:  I think that you've got that right.  Fear of failure often leads us to do something lesser than we are capable of doing.  A good piece mof advice from my home pastor...."Don't go searching for a "better' congregation.   Start your own!  That led me to start a church "from scratch" on two occasions.  Neither begame a mega-church, but the experience gave me great satisfaction. .===BB:  I had no idea you were such a pioneer.  I’d love to hear about your ideas – the hows and whys of those decisions and whether you feel the church as a whole is moving in the right direction.


I got to visit the historic Archbishop’s house on State Street yesterday.  As you may know, the AB and Cardinal do not live there; the Cardinal chose to live in community at the FXW Catholic school property where the old Holy Name Cathedral sits.  As a Jesuit/Ignatian, I guess poverty and the simple life are part of his  vows so he will not live in the “big house”.  Ha.  The Pope won’t live in the Pope residence for the same reason; so here we have these mega high value properties being used for practical purposes to some extent.  Hmmmm.  When I wondered aloud how many Venezualan refugees could be housed I got a little speech on what “the church” is doing in Chicago in particular to help these folks and how the Kolbe House (which helps newly released prisoners find work and housing) are doing to integrate people into community life rather than sequester them on the margins.  This work, doing justice, loving mercy, takes a lot of arm-twisting (I  think) from powerful people who would rather meet and discuss than roll up their sleeves and work😊Hope to talk to you live and in person one of these days.===JACK:  Yiu may not know, but....the first inter-faith worship service held in the Chicago Archdiocese was held in my church in Grayslake and authorized by Cardinal Cody.  The speaker was a Chicago priest, Fr Art Haubold, who was my cousin.  You might also be interested to knnow that I was among the first of non-Catholic pastors to give a lecture to seminarians at the Mundelein Seminary.  I was also allowed to play on their golf course at any time. 



Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Jack’s Winning Words 9/28/22

“A hug is always the right size.”  (Winnie the Pooh)  Generally speaking, I’m not a hugger (more of a shake hands-er).  But I’ve notice that more and more people are exchanging hugs these day, even in spite of the pandemic.  Why? Psychology Today says that there’s science behind embracing. A good hug (lasting 5 to 20 seconds) actually lowers stress and makes a person happier.  I suppose that there’s a feeling of comfort in being held close, maybe going back to when you and I were children.  Now, go out and give someone a big hug today (but don’t forget to ask permission first).  ;-)  Jack

FROM MAGGIE:  Good morning, Many years ago I visited a funeral home to see a friend who had lost a loved one. I subsequently heard from others that my friend was telling others about all that I had done for her. Jack, the only thing I had done was hugged her when I greeted her. Hugs mean a lot. Thank you, my friend.===JACK:  If we only knew....many little things have meant BIG things to others.

FROM PEE WEE:  A good reminder!!!===JACK:  I'll bet that you're a hugger, especially around small children>

DROM WILLMAR REV:  My go-to greeting and question when a hug would seem to be appropriate, “Are you a hugger or a shaker?”  For a time on Sunday mornings some years ago now, I put together and oversaw our ministry of H.U.G.S. (Hosts, Ushers, Greeters & Senders). As folks were leaving our services I would stand outside, thank the new guests for coming and offer them a “Hershey Hug chocolate” or “heavenly hug?” 0;-)===JACK:  If ever there was a hugger.... YOU'RE IT!  You're a big Teddy Bear.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  In Woodstock, we had a new pastor come who brought “hug” coupons.  He’d offer you a coupon and give you a hug.  You could choose to keep it or pass the coupon along with a hug.  They became VERY popular, and members had some good times and hugs.  One older lady told Bob one Sunday morning as he gave her a hug that he was the only human who had touched her all week… Human contact is very important. My family were not huggers until after my father died.  He fell off a roof he was shingling at the age of 72.  We learned quickly that hugs were important!  We greet with hugs and depart family gatherings with hugs as you never know when or if you’ll have another chance to hug someone you love – family members or friends.  Once you open your arms the recipient can respond and if not – a handshake works ok too, but I prefer the hug.  Hope someone hugs you today. I know I would! OOOOOOOO===JACK:  Our family members were no huggers.  I didn't have a hugging church, either.  I thought that it was a Scandinavian thing, but I guess not.  Joan's family always says, "I love you!" when they depart or end a phone call.  That also hasn't been a custom of my family.  Emotions are there....hiding.  In these days when people are being accused of inappropriate touching, I'd be afraid to hand of HUG coupons.

FROM DR J:  I’m a HUGGER!  Always have been. I make Kiki give me a 10 second hug because I told her it was good for my health ;-)  So I count VERY VERY SLOWLY before I release her ;-)  Watch out… I’m going to give you a big hug next time I see you ;-) But I will ask permission first ;-)  Enjoy this fall weather ;-). The leaves will be changing soon.===JACK:  I grew up, feeling that a hug was an invasion of someone's privacy.  During my lifetime I see hugging by pastors as more and more common.  I still shake hands, unless the other person comes at me with arms outspread.  "We are who we were."

FROM ER IN  SJ:  You've grown into a "okay...sometimes" hugger. I am so proud of you!===JACK:  What am I supposed to do when someone comes at me with arms wide open?  Turn my back?  ...or, when someone says, "I love you?"  Grunt?  Slowly, but surely, I'm adjusting...and it's not so bad.===ER:  True, I'll hug your front or your back. You are stuck.  Being uncomfortable = growing. Not always easy, but almost always good. -Still proud of you in St. Joe===JACK: It takes time...and practice.

FROM GINROOM7:  Thank you John! Enjoying your winning words! Hugs🤤 ===JACK:  Hugs must be a BIG thing on the westside of the mitten.

FROM SR RD:  What a beautiful message, dear Jack!  Thank you so much! I have heard and love  the  Indian group, who when they meet one another on the street say:  - "I see you!"   -  "Because you see me, I am here!"===JACK:  The next tome we meet I'll have to remember to say, "I see you!"  Maybe i can say "Peek-a-boo" first.===RD:  May I send both you and Joan a hug online. . .or doesn't that count?🤣===JACK:  XXXOOOO.  They simply represent the real thing.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  on occasion, unless the govt tells me i have to social distance for some hoax designed to take down western economies...===JACK:  When there's the danger of a pandemic I choose (myself) to mask up, whether of not I'm told to do so....especially in the airport and other crowded public places.  




Tuesday, September 27, 2022


*Jack’s Winning Words 9/27/22
“We do inherit the earth from our ancestors;  we borrow it from our children.”  (Native American Proverb)  3 years ago a youth movement to save the earth began with a 16 yr old Swede, Greta Thunberg as the leader.  Taking action for dealing with the problem of climate change continues to grow.  Greta’s not popular with everyone, but that’s not her goal.  She wants to alert  “the world” that the planet is in danger.  I read recently that “there is no plan-et B!”  There’s a verse in the Bible (Isaiah): “A little child shall lead them.”  Miracles will happen because a child takes leadership.  “The lion shall lay down with the lamb!’ and both will be safe.  Could we be seeing the Bible come to life in our day?  ;-)  Jack   

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Enjoyed the poem this morning.  Thank you for sharing these thoughts.  Greta’s an inspiration whether or not you agree with her point of view.===JACK:  For you Greta critics.....What good were you accomplishing when you were sixteen?

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Interesting that we somehow borrow and mortgage it before returning it.===JACK:  People often ask me as I age, what differences do I see in the world of today?  Upon many people are living on credit, living with stuff that they really don't own.  In the old days, you didn't buy something until you could afford it. 

FROM CPA MIKE:  I'm all for saving our planet. My biggest fear is that politicians are really going to screw this up. We need to find a better way.===JACK:  I don't trust politicians to do it.  Turn it over to the "Gretas," meaning people who is really interested in doing something to see that it's accomplished.,===M:   I would prefer non political scientists.===JACK:  I believe that there are such.

FRO SR RD:  I believe so, too, Jack, and much of it is coming from the YOUNG people!!!===JACK:  They have the most to lose.  The Church needs to energize the youth, too.  St Francis won't last forever.===R:  Amen and Amen.  As long as we're talking about miracles.  Will there ever be a female Pope?===R:  I do believe so. . . . ðŸ˜

FROM JU IN NC:  As the earth becomes destroyed, we want to see more of God.  If we SET our eyes on the invisible Hope.. we will not Become Beset by the visible hopelessness.===JACK:  I think that you've hit the nail on the head.  Without the help of God, our striving will be in vain.  There's a song: "My God and I."

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  just so you know, i am not rising to this bait 😂 ===JACK:  Just so you know, I believe that you are a caring person about people, about conditions, about the earth.  Solutions to the many problems that appear before us are not easy to come by.  I am impressed that you "care!"===LIZ:  thank you! i do, and i do a lot of volunteer PR work for good causes..===JACK:  You probably even give a hug to someone once in a while..===LIZ:  you know masks don't work, right?===JACK:  If you say so.  You seem to have the answers.  (I'm not trying to be snide.)===LIZ:  the kind like my daughter wears in the hospital is the only kind that works. she is in ICU. also... 25% of common cold viruses are coronaviruses. a cold will get you a positive test result.  we've lived this long. i'm not worried!===JACK:  There are still medical buildings that I visit that require masking.  No problem for me.  In fact, I'll use one later this morning.




Monday, September 26, 2022


Jack’s Winning Words 9/26/22
“Respect your ancestors, for you are the result of a thousand loves.” (Linda Hogan)  This quote is from Hogan’s book, Dwellings.  I never thought of my grandmother having a love affair with the grandpa I never knew…and I feel uncomfortable even considering it.  But the reality is this:  We each are the result of a love encounter.  Some of you might remember the song, Let’ Fall In Love…and the lyric: Bees do it; birds do it; even educated fleas do it.  Let’s do it; Let’s fall in love.”  When the song was released, there were  probably calls by some to ban it.  Ha!  Try banning love.  Even my anscestors had love lives.  Did yours?  ;-)  Jack

FROM MAGGIE:  Good morning, Jack. Mike and I have a family story that was uncomfortable when we first learned of it. But the family remained together and were graced by God. Stay well… ===JACK:  We each have our stories.  Truly being the pastor of a congregation means that you've heard many stories.  Yesterday we sag: "What a friend we have in Jesus....all our sins and griefs to bear."

FROM ST PAUL:  good one, Jack!    i have sometimes told children that they would not be here today if i had not married their parents:):)   most often i get a laff from the parents. ===JACK:  The "Virgin Birth" keeps us from thinking about Joseph and Mary having sexual though that would be "bad."===SP:  i recall talking to a well informed Catholic woman who told me that Catholic theology has historically offered only two models of womanhood:  Eve,  the perpetual temptress and Mary, the perpetual virgin.   two extremes with nothing in between!===JACK:  That reminds of the song with the line"Don't mess with Mr (Missus) in-between."  

FROM THE FISH IN NOVA SCOTIA:  more than I knew about until I took my ancestrydna test and was contacted by a half-niece and found out my Dad was her grandfather. Have adjusted to that, although since I always wished I had siblings, I never met or even knew about a half-sister ten years older than I am.===JACK:  Those Ancestry sites can be good and bad, sometimes telling us more than what we want to know.  A Swedish guy has said that my grandparents probably eloped to America because their parents didn't approve of the relationship.  That's just his surmise. 

FROM GUSTIE:  Hard to imagine, but I guess even my parents did.  Ha!===JACK:  How about your grandparents?  Or, as your children if they know where they came from?===G:  I have done both ancestry and 23 and me but being so dumb on the computer I don’t know much.  My Mom came from a family of 12 kids and Dad from 10 so I guess they were loving.  Ha!  I did find out that I am 100% Scandinavian. ===JACK:  Only one look, and someone can tell that you're a Swede.===G:     Right!!  I sure eat like one!===JACK:  Who cares?  Except, maybe your doctor.  Just be careful.  Your loved ones want you around for a while longer.  

FROM DAZ IN COLORADO:  I like your good positive WW thoughts for Monday. ===JACK:  Some days I need to read them in front of a mirror. 

FROM WILLMAR REV:  Surely so! 0;-)===JACK:  Before or after your coversion?===REV:  I didn’t have much biblical or secular understanding in those earlier days asking Jesus into my heart at the age of seven.  Further back than I can remember, my greatest of all Grandfather Adam had a love affair with my greatest of all Grandmother Eve…Some of my pastoral friends tell me they aren’t real live characters, and if so, I have no idea who had the first intercourse encounter. 0;-))===JACK:  Does it matter?===REV:  I’m hoping they are actually an ancestor?.! 0;-)===JACK:  I guess that the lineage has to start somewhere. 

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Of course! And most of us are products of a love union! And my children are products of a Love Union!! VIVA LA AMOR! :-)===JACK:  ..."and the beat goes on! "

FROM SHALOM JAN:  I'm here.  I imagine my ancestors and my parents (cringe!) had love lives.===JACK:  Why do some politicians insist on creeping into the bedrooms of "we, the people?"


Friday, September 23, 2022


Jack’s Winning Words  1/23/19
“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”  (Unknown)  I saw a picture of a man banging his head on a table with the caption, “Why me?”  There’s a book, When Bad Things Happen To Good People.  I’d venture to say that more good things, rather than bad, happen to us in our lifetime.  Count your blessings and see if that isn’t true.   ;-)  Jack

Thursday, September 22, 2022

 Jack’s Winning Words 9/22/22

“Fear makes cowards of us all.”  (Shakespeare) quoted by Guy Stern  This line from Hamlet is meant to show that we arrive at different conclusions when we think things through.  Fear sometimes causes to choose the “easy” way.  Guy Stern and “The Ritchie Boys” did dangerous work during WW 2 as spies.  Stern and his buddies were real heroes because of the choices they made.  Conscience os a powerful force.  It can cause us to do what we might not ordinarily do.  Lombardi used a form of this quote to motivate football players…and it worked.  Along with this quote, Hamlet also said: “To be, or not to be.”  Have you ever faced a decision where the answer called upon you to use your conscience?  ;-)  Jack

FROM DANDI SANDI:  I just downloaded Guy Stern’s book, ‘Invisible Ink’. Thanks for the recommendation! ===JACK:  I'm proud to have him as a resident in our community.  I understand that he's 101 yrs old.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Good morning, Pastor Freed, intriguing WW and whole paragraph you emailed out.  I think the whole thing boils down to are we afraid of consequences from God or from human mortals, or maybe do we rather love God more than the sometimes false self-seeking of human mortals?  Conscience is a powerful factor in our lives, in my opinion and experience anyway.  Appreciated reading your WW and reflection,===JACK:  Conscience can be a nagger.  It's good to have naggers....once in a while. 

FROM CR:  Today on a walk with a friend, we passed several homes with yard signs for various political and school board positions.  My friend commented that she didn't care about the school board because her kids aren't in school anymore.  My conscience flashed and I spoke up urging her that our public schools are important for everyone and to please consider checking into the candidates and voting.  She's a strong Democrat and is aghast at the attempts to censor literature, history, and marginalize some students/families.  I spoke to her desire for a more just society and urged her that boards of education may influence our present and future, one way or another.===JACK:  Thanks to you, I think she's got it.  If one is to conside the impact of one vote....perhaps the most effective one is in a school board election.  Friends are meant to have conversations such as yours.

FROM BEE CEE:  I want to read Guy Stern’s book!===\JACK:  Talk to Joan about it.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022


> Jack’s Winning Words 9/21/22

> “I get by with a little help from my friends.”  (The Beatles)  One day John Lennon and Paul McCartney were fooling around on the piano and came up with a tune: ”The Bad Finger Boogie.”  That evolved into another Beatles Hit Song about a lonely man who is able to get by because of his friends.  I’ve referred to the importance of friends before.  “A friend is someone you can call up at 4 AM, just to talk.” or “A friend is someone who walks in when others walk out!.”  Let’s face it: What would we do without our friends?  One of the most popular of church hymns is, “What a friend we have in Jesus>”  It was a poem, written by Joseph Scriven to his dying mother.  ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  I’m one of yours!===JACK:  The mutual admiration society!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Enjoyed your WW today! Friends are invaluable and I cherish mine. The circle continues to get smaller..===JACK:  My circle is getting larger now that I'm spending part-time in Minnesota.  But God is good...and we accept whatever comes our way.   ...

FROM NRC:  My big brother, Jack. Has been my special help as I grew up.  Thanks, Jack.  Love, Nancy Ruth===JACK:  Surprise!  Surprise!  I thought5 that I was a pest.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Jack’s Winning Words  1/23/19  (9/20/22)
“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”  (Unknown)  I saw a picture of a man banging his head on a table with the caption, “Why me?”  There’s a book, When Bad Things Happen To Good People.  I’d venture to say that more good things, rather than bad, happen to us in our lifetime.  Count your blessings and see if that isn’t true.   ;-)  Jack

FROM MAGGIE:  Thank you, Jack, for today’s reminder. Today we will lay to rest my mom’s, Eileen’s, last sibling. As we gathered yesterday and then again today, I’m deeply grateful for my mother’s large family and all the cousins that I still have. God bless you, my friend.===JACK:  Funerals are usually a time when we look back and "see" what time has accomplished.  It's a good occasion, even today6, to see how God has affected our lives.

FROM SR RD:  It is true, indeed, dear Jack!!!! Uncountable blessings! ===JACK:  Whether we realize it, or not, there is ONE who is looking over us===RD:  .Oh, I don't even need to count my blessings; they are continuous, Jack!===JACK:  Yes, impossible to count our blessings.  They are beyond numbering.

FROM ST PAUL:  here is another take on this matter.  why do bad things happen to anyone,  good or bad, or ugly?:):)      i liked what you had to say here.  it's going into one of my many files:):)===JACK:  It reminds me of the Hoffland song: "H's got His eye on you (Paul H), He's got His eye on you!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  A thought-provoking WW to reflect upon.  In my opinion, and experience, when a person has lived long enough to experience the “reversals” and actually the conversions in one’s own life and even in the lives of others who have been antagonists, really a person can believe the arc bends towards justice (I think that’s the famous modern proverb) and feel pretty blessed and content with the life journey one has been dealt from God, our Creator.  Love, faith and hope carries the day, as far as I can see anyway.  Have a great day,===JACK:  This is another example that we are reading from the same book, the same chapter and the same page.

FROM THE FISH IN NOVA SCOTIA:  That was the book that helped me the most. We have given a number of copies to newly bereaved parents over the years===JACK:  I'm sure that you've read it yourself...probably more than once.  I haven't forgotten.


Monday, September 19, 2022

 Jack’s Winning Words 9/19/22

“Aren’t there any grownups at all?”  (William Golding)  This quote is from Lord of the Flies, and describes a time when some boys discover that they are on an island with no adults.  It has caused me to think back to the importance of grownups in my life…my parents, my Aunt Nell and Uncle John, my high school chemistry teacher, I.B., Mrs T, Hjalmer and many others.  I am not “self-made,” nor are any of us.  Who have been the grownups in your life?  We live in a world beset by many problems.  Who is to be the adult, the one who shows the way?  The Lord of the Flies is real life!  ;-)  Jack

FROM KW IN MI:  Hope all is well with you.  I have a delightful quote from Helen Koester   “We do the best we can until we can do better.”===JACK: That's a good one....and it goes into my file.  Thanks 

FROM SR RD:  The Rule of Benedict, my parents, Sisters Mary Minette, Margretta, Myron. .===JACK:  I have learned much from you, too.   

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  .I never embraced the self-made label. When we describe ourselves as “self-made” there is no one else to share in our deficiencies and fallible habits. While greatly improved by others surely we pick up a few bad traits along the way. To a great extent perhaps we are mostly products of our environment. ===JACK:  To some extent, I agree with you...but when compaing you to others that I know, you are "self-made" more than they are.  If you don't care for self-made, I'll simply cal you, IMPRESSIVE.

FROM INDY GENIE:  My mom and dad, my 5th grade teacher,  Miss Dryskowski and my friend and pastor, Pastor Freed. (I think you might know him:)===JACK:  ...and you had a mind like a sponge, too.