Category: IOWA

Need a Summer Read?

No, it’s not like I suddenly wrote four books since March. Actually I’ve been blogging since 2002 and I’m compiling things I’ve written into self-published books you can order on Amazon or Goodreads.

Here’s micro-synopses on each one:

Cheesebread & Coffee’ are humor pieces from the Charter Oak-Ute NEWSpaper and Mapleton PRESS 2002-2008. Not political, not too religious.

Max Nix’ is a collection of poetry from 1985-2020. I know, poetry isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’ve been told mine is short, approachable, relatable and keeps you reading.

‘Dear John’ is a series of reflections on the book of 1 John. Not exactly a devotional, not exactly a Bible study- somewhere in between. It deals with some current issues though, love and who is our brother?

Prophet, Priest & Pirate,’ 2004-2020 essays on politics & religion. Yep, more progressive than most voters in Iowa’s 4th District, but more moderate/conservative than most of the rest of the U.S. Basic thesis: Democrats can be Christian too, and while we’re at it- let’s be careful not to make either political party or their candidates into false idols.

I hope that at least one of these will interest you. I have another three or four “in the pipeline,” but I’d better take a break and focus on school for the rest of the Summer. Hopefully I’ll try to get another one or two out later this Fall of Winter.

Happy Reading.


Dear White Friends

Police chiefs in Virginia & in Flint Michigan JOINED protesters. Police chief in Santa Cruz, California took a knee. Not all cops are racist, but we do still have a problem as a nation with systemic inequality in our criminal justice system. And SOME cops in some departments definitely have a problem with excessive force.

It’s not as simple as choosing to “support the blue line” or join “black lives matter” and assuming everyone on the other side is completely wrong, evil or un American.

Now before you hate me, I’m not writing this post to start an argument and I’d rather you unfollow me or mute me than unfriend or block me. I try not to comment on every post I ever disagree with from people.

Part of our problem is assuming that every issue only has 2 sides.

I have friends (former students) that are cops. My uncle was a cop. But that doesn’t make every single cop perfect.

I have a lot of Black & Latino friends & friends in inter-racial marriages. (again, mostly former students) and they are scared for their children. They tell me racial profiling is real. I believe them. I’m too white, male & middle class to have experienced it myself.

Looting & vandalism is wrong, but so is being calloused and blind to real problems. We’re all a little racist, which is also wrong.

Somehow we all need to figure out how to be patient, kind & humble enough to allow each other to disagree without hating and dehumanizing each other.

I’ve read way too much MLK to be trying to tell people to calm down and be patient who are angry and want justice.

Perhaps I’m appealing more to the white people and rural friends & neighbors I know who have no patience or pity for rioters. 400 years of discrimination and abuse that we’d like to think was resolved & forgotten 50 years ago doesn’t just go away.

Just as we want to know that not all cops are racist, guess what? Not all people of color are looters, vandals, rioters or even protesters.

And remember people didn’t like peaceful, non violent forms of protest like taking a knee at the National Anthem. That was not anti-military, anti-veterans, or anti-America. It was supposed to draw attention about racial inequality in the criminal justice system. What if we had listened & encouraged that kind of protest? I wonder if there’d be the crisis there is in cities all across the country this week?

POEM | November

November Poem

Just after sunrise the light has a golden quality like it’s shining through a jar of honey

The sky in the West is “Advent blue,” the color of hope and optimism

The curves of the prairie are amber and warm beige like blessings and peace

Driving to work one morning I was struck by the colors. I didn’t have my Cannon camera with me and wasn’t going to try to capture the landscape with my phone camera while driving, but I’m an occasional amateur poet, so I thought about what I’d write to describe the scene. Since I’ve been teaching Commercial Art students about using both the vector graphics app “” (like Adobe illustrator, but free) and the layout design app “” (essentially a free online imitation of Adobe InDesign) I developed a simple abstract design of colors and placed the poem over it.

Annual State Capital Trip