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Monday, July 25, 2022


I often find that in helping shape a viewpoint or a mindset, look to the dictionary as a starting point. This I did as I considered the topic of “moorings.” Sailors and aviators immediately would be drawn to this word. Merriam-Webster provides us our first two definitions:

1: an act of making fast a boat or aircraft with lines or anchors
2a: a place where, or an object to which, something can be moored
  b: a device (such as a line or chain) by which an object is secured in place

But it is their third offering that captures my attention in this age. 

Mooring: an established practice or stabilizing influence. 

Grabbing from the other two definitions, we should include these words: Making fast. Anchors. Secure. Those all contribute to creating that stabilizing influence.

I’ve wondered and shared with friends the puzzlement I find with the number of mass shootings we witness in more recent years. Add to that the number of suicides. The discontentment with not just work but the very idea of work. The addition to technology that often robs us of time better spent with others or in something that advances our knowledge. The lack of authentic friendships. And among the more bizarre, the inability to sort out human sexuality and even failing to define “woman.”

Where do moorings come from to keep us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy? Where do we seek wisdom that will anchor us so that we are secured in place? Why do we allow voices we should not trust to guide us into new ways of thinking and tear us away from our safe harbors?

The moorings of the historical Christian faith have seen plenty of slippage. Detecting the source of trouble here is not so difficult. Seminaries have allowed the drifting away from historic creeds that were battled out to point us to truth. Educational degrees do not bestow wisdom but reward academic achievement.

As just one example of the church's neglected moral slippage, a 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center reported that half of Christians say sex between consenting adults who are in a committed dating relationship is sometimes or always acceptable. And better than half would say casual sex is OK. (Lower numbers were found among evangelical Protestants.)

No college degree—or even high school diploma—is needed to read the most basic book on what is appropriate in the areas of human sexuality. The teachings of the Bible are as clear as they come. The mooring on what to believe is established. Spiritual convictions of dissenters have weakened. Relationships have suffered.

A more important loss of foundation has occurred about the believability of the Scriptures and in God. The latest Gallup Poll reports that belief in God in our country dipped to 81%, down 6 percentage points from 2017. That’s the lowest since Gallup first asked this question in 1944.

Why the drop? Ryan Burge, assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, believes much of it has to do with those disconnecting from churches. In his words, “Belief is typically the last thing to go. They stop attending, they stop affiliating, and then they stop believing.”

In other words, they have become untethered from their mooring. They have lost their core spiritual identity.

Jesus of Nazareth gave a word picture of our spiritual moorings. He said, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)

Words of Jesus. The wisest teacher ever. Divinely inspired since He is the Divine.

More secure moorings we have never known. Grab hold!

That’s Forward Thinking. 

You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at

For more information on the Elfstrand Group, please visit

Articles of interest:

Monday, July 18, 2022

Our Days are Numbered

I fully expected there to be plenty of protestors outside the Supreme Court after their recent decision to return the abortion debate to states to set policy. And there were plenty on hand when the decision was announced. The frustration continues for the pro-aborts. Now they know the feeling of what pro-lifers have felt since 1973.

But nowhere in the 70s did I see protestors go to the homes of Supreme Court justices to try and make life miserable for them. Or at a restaurant where their family was eating. It seemed we lived in more civil times.

Not anymore. Within the last several days, at least one Supreme Court justice got the royal protest treatment at a steakhouse where he was dining. It was Brett Kavanaugh – a favorite public whipping boy since his confirmation hearings. It was reported that he had to sneak out a back door at the downtown D.C. Morton’s Steakhouse after protesters had learned he was there.

It went further. The same group called the restaurant’s manager demanding that the justice be kicked out. That according to Politico’s Daniel Lippman. Are you kidding me??

The management of Morton’s was rightfully angry and wrote to Politico: “Honorable Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh and all of our other patrons at the restaurant were unduly harassed by unruly protestors while eating dinner at our Morton’s restaurant. Politics, regardless of your side or views, should not trample the freedom at play of the right to congregate and eat dinner.”

Morton’s management concluded by saying, “There is a time and place for everything. Disturbing the dinner of all of our customers was an act of selfishness and void of decency.” Spot on.

How long will this nonsense go on? The Court’s decision was made. And while the president seeks for ways to dismiss what the Court did in an effort to allow more babies to die, must justices now submit to the pathetic whims of opponents who don’t agree with them?

In response to the dining protest, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said this: “Any public figure should always, always be free from violence, intimidation, and harassment but should never be free from criticism or people exercising their First Amendment rights.” While that is true, I doubt Mr. Buttigieg would be so generous to those who might hold protests and signs outside of places that he dines that quoted biblical passages on homosexuality.

A few days ago, another protest group marched in Washington D.C. They chanted and yelled as they went. The Daily Signal reports that, “As the pro-abortion group turned to head towards the White House, one of the protesters blocked a pro-life sign and screamed 'We love killing babies!'”

Pro-life advocates have moved to help women with unanticipated pregnancies with the development of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). Services they provide include counseling on pregnancy issues, where to find help, and even doctor referrals. They will coach moms-to-be and provide diapers, blankets, and a number of other items once the baby arrives. They are a woman’s best friend when moving through this unexpected pregnancy.

And yet. And yet…two U.S. Senators want to shut these centers down. Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with Sen. Bob Menendez have introduced the “Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act” to combat what they call “false advertising” from crisis pregnancy centers.

In Warren’s words, “…those crisis pregnancy centers that are there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help outnumber true abortion clinics by three to one…We need to shut them down all around the country. You should not be able to torture a pregnant person like that.”

Torture? What’s tortuous is watching a senior legislative leader be so out-of-touch on the true work of caring for mothers-to-be.

The Bible has forewarned us of these days. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21 (ESV)

These are difficult times in which to live. It seems easier than ever to believe our days are truly numbered.

That’s Forward Thinking. 

You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at

For more information on the Elfstrand Group, please visit

Articles of interest:

Monday, July 11, 2022

Sorta Fancy Like ...

Chick-fil-A has done it again—having been awarded America’s favorite restaurant for the 8th straight year! This according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Study. Their tally is divided up into “quick-service” and “full-service” restaurants. Or what ordinary people would call fast food or sit-down places.

The Chick-fil-A index score was 83—same as last year. Behind Chick-fil-A, and ruffling a few feathers, were Jimmy John’s (79), Domino’s (78), KFC (78), Chipotle (77), Panera Bread (77), Pizza Hut (77), and Starbucks (77).

McDonald’s finished lowest, with a score of 68. Their arches have fallen lately.

Who were the kings of the sit-down places? LongHorn Steakhouse (80) tied with Texas Roadhouse (80). Cracker Barrel (78) and Fridays (78) tied for third. Also worth noting: Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, and Red Robin scored a 77. 

Chili’s and The Cheesecake Factory earned a 76. Denny’s and Red Lobster a 75. Buffalo Wild Wings got a 74. Applebee’s and IHOP were bottom feeders at 73.

Now for my reviews.

Chick-fil-A: I love their chicken sandwich, fries, and diet lemonade. And the fact they close on Sundays. They’re highly profitable and support families. However…it IS one expensive chicken sandwich meal.

Jimmy John’s: Freaky fast. Decent food. But my choice for a great sub is Jersey Mike’s.

Domino’s: Not even sure we have one close by. So can’t vouch for them. I’ve been more of a Pizza Hut guy over the years.

KFC: Love their chicken. Frustrated that many locations do not serve their green beans. The closest location doesn’t always serve the freshest chick. Personnel should take customer service lessons from Chick-fil-A. In fact ALL of these places should!!

Chipotle: Decent food and service…but overpriced!

Panera Bread: Great for bagels and baked goods. Sandwiches, salads, and combos are overpriced. Service has been mostly okay.

Starbucks: This is heavily dependent on location and the manager. We LOVE our Starbucks at Rt 59 and 111th in Naperville. We’re there twice a week. Service and friendliness are high on our scale. Plus, we love their coffee drinks.

On to the sit down places…

LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse both scored the high number of 80. But my vote goes to Texas Roadhouse. HIGHLY patriotic and generous to veterans. They have a fine country fried steak with dee-lish-us gravy. And those rolls!!

Cracker Barrel: Good food and good value for your money, assuming you don’t spend another $100 in the store on your way out.

Fridays: Hardly make the trip there anymore. Nothing really distinctive.

Olive Garden: Any place that offers unlimited refills and wonderful breadsticks is worth your money if the food is good. And it is.

Outback Steakhouse: One of our favorite places. They took away their wedge salad but the replacement salad with the dressing and add-ons make up for it. Plus, delicious steaks and warm bread.

Red Robin: Just one word…YUMMM. (Ok, and unlimited fries.)

Chili’s: are there more often than anyplace. Members keep getting free appetizers, or chips and salsa, or soft drink every time. Plus, a few times a year, buy a $50 gift card—get TWO $10 gift cards free. Such a deal.

The Cheesecake Factory: Wonderful food after you spend an hour looking over the menu.

Denny’s: What can you say? It’s……..Denny’s.

Red Lobster: Love their cold salads and warm biscuits and unlimited shrimp whey they offer it.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Party crowd. Noisy. A gazillion TV sets. Not a real fan but the wings are good.

IHOP: (See Denny’s)

Applebee’s: True confession. I LIKE Applebee’s a lot. But we hardly go there. They closed many of them including one just blocks away. Wish they were closer ‘cuz I’d be going there. Especially for our Saturday date night. ‘Cause we’re fancy like ...

Every one of these restaurants should learn the message of Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A. It’s all about service!! And why do this? As it is written, “Obey the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24 (CEV)

So serve well in whatever you do. And spread those wings.

That’s Forward Thinking. 

You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at

For more information on the Elfstrand Group, please visit

Articles of interest: 

(Photo shown above was taken with founder of Chick-Fil-A, Truett Cathy, in his corporate office.)

Monday, July 4, 2022

Press on, Weary One

Do you ever feel weary? I’m weary. Wordsmiths Merriam-Webster spell out the feeling: exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor. or freshness. They add a variance: having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted.

I’m sure some of my lackluster approach to life today has to do with my age. I’m now three score plus ten. So on that front, I’ve earned the right to some weariness. But it’s become much more than that.

Near the top of my list is my weariness with the attitudes of people toward faith and the church. I keep seeing stories about the “nones" and the “dones." The “nones” tell pollsters they have no religious affiliation for any particular set of religious beliefs. The “dones” are those who for various reasons have given up on institutional religion. Apparently, it didn’t serve their “felt needs.”

I myself am done with the strayers. Those who lead the way out of the faith. These folk were once supposedly strong voices. Pastors. “Christian” singers. Actors and actresses. I just read an article about Chris Pratt that appeared in Men’s Health magazine. After having made some faith affirming statements publicly, he appeared not only to distance himself from a stand for Jesus, but used the “f” word numerous times in the interview. It made me…weary.

I’m tired of greedy athletes complaining about their treatment and their pay. This new LIV golf league has stolen some of the game’s best golfers by throwing enormous sums of money at them. Some claim Phil Mickelson was drawn away by almost $200 million! Sergio Garcia also joined the Saudi-funded tour. He’s made more than 54 million dollars in winnings and sponsorships through his PGA affiliation. Recently he told fellow golfer Rory McElroy that by leaving the tour that took them to the dance, the departing few will “get paid what they deserve.” McElroy laughed out loud and replied, “Sergio. We’re golfers. We don’t deserve to be paid anything.” Good for him!!

I’m weary of media programs trying to “re-educate” us on ethical and moral positions. Several of what have been our favorite network television programs have succumbed to the pressure of the alphabet soup crowd and now must include “gay relationships” in their programs. Amazingly, we find virtually no straight-sex happily married couples on these shows. Anywhere.

They even reach for our kids. The latest Lightyear movie from Disney gave moviegoers the lesbian “kiss.” The film has flopped. But Disney has plenty of crude humor infiltrating the language of our children in their other movies. Yes, I’m tired of it.

I’m exhausted having to filter out the “progressive” way of treating political opponents. In the recent Illinois primary election, the Washington Post described the Republican gubernatorial winner as a “far right candidate.” The Chicago Tribune immediately said this man would likely lose to the current Democratic governor. But in describing a contest of two Democrats, the much more liberal candidate who lost was given graceful language – not that she was FAR LEFT! Because in most media, there IS no such thing! Why fight it?

Today is the Fourth of July…Independence Day. It’s a day to recognize that my weariness pales in comparison to those who valiantly worked to give us a nation where freedom was of high value. Stories that emerge from the Revolutionary War – in fact every war – always tell the tale of incredible weariness. And yet these patriots pressed on. For our sake.

As did the Savior of the world…Jesus. He grew tired. Frustrated. Worn down by the lack of belief. And the spiritual blindness around Him. Yet He pressed on. It is our call.

It was the same for many early Christians. It was why the apostle Paul found it necessary to write to them (as well as us today) these words: “Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.” Galatians 6:9 (NASB)

If you understand my sentiment on this world, please also accept my encouragement: Press on, weary one. A brighter day is coming.

That’s Forward Thinking. 

You can find a number of YouTube episodes and podcasts of Mark’s program, Moving People Forward at

For more information on the Elfstrand Group, please visit