Right Down to the Studs
by Michael Malmin on October 20th, 2020
We demolished a bathroom at the Malmin household over the weekend.  On purpose.  We're remodeling.Almost everything was torn out.  The toilet.  The vanity.  Pink Formica (circa 1960).   All the fixtures.   We even tore out all of the sheetrock.  We went right down to the studs.  All that remains is the tub.The process made me apprehensive for a couple of reasons:1) We have one remaining operationa...  Read More
Aggressive Joy
by Michael Malmin on October 13th, 2020
"Aggressive" and "Joy" are two words we don't typically place side by side.We may experience "aggressive anger".  We see "aggressive protests" on the news.  We even encounter "passive aggressive" people.  But "aggressive joy"?This morning my devotional reading was Psalm 108:1-4:"My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn...  Read More
Much To Be Humble About
by Michael Malmin on September 29th, 2020
Winston Churchill was the master of the quick putdown.  Once, when talking about a political opponent, the gruff  British Prime Minister quipped, "“He's a humble man with much to be humble about.”Good one.  Humility is rarely valued in our society.    Humble voices are not esteemed in politics.  Or on social media.  You don't wind up cast on a "Real Housewives" show because you are courteous, gent...  Read More
by Michael Malmin on September 23rd, 2020
If there has been an upside to ministry during the pandemic, it has been the opportunity to creatively find ways to engage with our community when it is difficult, or impossible, to meet face-to-face.  VBS presents such an opportunity.In-person Conference Week VBS  will  not take place this year.  But we want the children in our valley to know that we are thinking of them during this time, and tha...  Read More
Six-Thousand Feet of Darkness
by Michael Malmin on September 15th, 2020
The headline caught my eye."6000 Feet Of Smoke Above Puget Sound"That is a thick layer of dirty air! The estimate from the local clean air authority wasn't surprising. I'm guessing our numbers are similar.  Smoke has become a familiar presence in North Central Washington in late summer and early fall.  The smoke is unpleasant.  It obscures the sun, covering everything in depressing sepia tones. It...  Read More
Temporary Atheist
by Michael Malmin on September 8th, 2020
The news notification vibrated my phone.  The headline grabbed my attention.  It was to hard to pass up."Election Chaos Anticipated"  I clicked on it, started reading, and immediately regretted my decision.  My pulse started to race as I read about the potential for unrest after the November elections.   My old nemesis anxiety had once again invaded my already frazzled head space.2020 has been a b...  Read More
Monsters in My Room
by Michael Malmin on September 1st, 2020
When I was little I was afraid of monsters.Don’t laugh.  I’m guessing you were too.  It’s a common fear for children.  In my mind monsters lurked in places I could not see.  In a closet. Under my bed.  Behind my desk.Soon I would be crying out for my mom who would come into my room and tightly tuck me in to my favorite blanket, affectionately known as “banky”.    Again, remember, I’m a little kid....  Read More
Falwell and the Decline of Evangelicalism
by Michael Malmin on August 25th, 2020
It is one of the top news stories of the day: Jerry Falwell Jr stepping down as president of Liberty University, one of the country’s largest Christian colleges, following a series of scandals.    While I have major theological differences with Falwell, I do not celebrate his downfall.   I feel sorrow for him, his family and for the church.  Incidents like these tend to tarnish all of the church. ...  Read More
by Michael Malmin on August 18th, 2020
Mike Ditka was an NFL legend whose fame was magnified by numerous Saturday Night Live sketches that played off his sway over devout fans.  After being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears Ditka decided to lean into a famous quote. "Scripture tells you that all things shall pass," a choked-up Ditka said after finishing a dismal season. "This, too, shall pass."I have always found it encouraging w...  Read More
by Michael Malmin on July 28th, 2020
I’ve always been fascinated by invisibility. I’ve imagined what it would be like to have a superpower that allows one to disappear.  Or have a cloaking device that stealthily hides you from others when you want.I’ve wondered what it would be like to be seen one moment and vanish the next – all without leaving a room.  What secrets would I hear?  How could I influence my surroundings without anyone...  Read More
Pedaling Optimism
by Michael Malmin on July 21st, 2020
Last Friday I decided to go for a bike ride around the river loop.  This was a revolutionary decision for me considering:The loop is ten miles long – roughly 10 miles longer than anything I had biked in 5 years.I am grossly out of shape - a situation only exacerbated by the lockdown.I do not own a working bicycle.Problem number three was quickly remedied by combining the parts of two slightly dama...  Read More
The Weariness Cure
by Michael Malmin on July 14th, 2020
I remember it well.  A dispute had erupted between two families in a church where I previously pastored.   I was called to mediate - and my efforts seemed to fall short no matter what I did.  The more we spoke the more entrenched each party became.  No resolution was ever found.Frustrated and defeated I spoke to an older man in my church.  I considered him wise.  After listening to my litany of co...  Read More