Merry Messy Christmas

December 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

Beginning with the January 2001 issue, Karl Haffner has written 84 Fresh Start columns for the GLEANER and this story finishes the series. Karl is leaving his post as pastor of the Walla Walla University Church to go to Kettering, Ohio, where he will pastor the Kettering Church and work in strategic planning and mission for the Kettering Network of Adventist hospitals. Thanks, Karl; we all hope your ministry in Ohio will be meaningful and rewarding. —the editors.

Think Thank

November 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

"Hey, Karl, can you park your car again in the Alumni Antique Car Show?" Linda asked.

"Sure," I said, "assuming I can crank the handle fast enough and get it started! I haven't driven it since the show last year."

Although the comment about getting it started was only a joke, when I tried to fire it up, I wasn't laughing. The engine coughed, then went quiet. It would only be coaxed alive with cables. Even so, the dashboard stubbornly illuminated the warning, "Gen."

When Adventist Health Calls

October 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

Over the past four months our family has been anguishing over some job offers—three of which we considered seriously. The thought of eventually leaving our beloved friends and family here in Walla Walla feels overwhelming; yet through this process we have tried to remain open-minded to the calling of God.

The Paralytic and a Shingle Mom

September 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

His world was a 4- by 6-foot mat. He couldn't walk, swim, work or play. He was dependent on friends to feed him, carry him, clothe him, clean him and turn him over to prevent blisters and bedsores. As a paralytic in ancient Palestine, this man didn't have much going for him.

Corollas, Crack and Cash

July 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

I won't say my Toyota Corolla is old, but the insurance on it covers fire, theft and chariot collisions. For more than 230,000 miles now, my car has been as dependable as Old Faithful (the radiator does consistently overheat). And I wouldn't trade it for a Mercedes Benz (OK, now I'm exaggerating!).

Recently a businessman hopped in for a ride when I found myself apologizing for the less-than-quiet cruise. "Not a problem," he said, "I'm guessing your kids go to Rogers Adventist School and that's more important than a new car."

Cross that Bridge

June 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

Ever wonder if you're good enough to be saved?

Oh, you're working at it all right. You volunteer at the soup kitchen. You go to Sabbath School. You don't drink or swear or chew or date those who do. But in your honest moments maybe you wonder if you'll ever be good enough. Perhaps you have no real assurance of salvation.

Wrestling With the Tough Stuff

May 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

Rulon Gardner keeps defying the odds. Earlier this year he survived a plane crash in Utah. He swam for more than an hour in 44-degree water before reaching shore and then spent the night without shelter. In February 2002, he had a snowmobile accident. After falling in a Wyoming lake, Gardner was stranded for 17 hours in temperatures of 25 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. In March 2004, Gardner, who wasn't wearing a helmet, suffered cuts and bruises after he was tossed off his motorcycle.

Hound Dogs in a Hurry

April 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

When I lived in Tacoma, Washington, an unlikely local hero emerged by the name of Tattoo. Now this basset hound never intended to go for an evening run, but had no choice when the owner clamped his leash in the car door and took off for a drive—with Tattoo in tow.

In Voluntary Joy

March 01, 2007 / Karl Haffner

One of my most vivid memories of Pathfinders is belting out the song, “… volunteers, volunteers, voooooooool—unnnnnnn—teeeeeers!” However, it wasn’t until I had grown up a bit that I experienced the significance of that song. The place was Mexico City. The stench of cigarette smoke lingered in our motel room. The windows were streaked. The bathroom sink was blanketed with grease. Menu items like you find on the TV show Fear Factor scurried under the beds.