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Spiritual Fruitcake

December 23, 2009

Like Joni Mitchell says, “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cuttin’ down trees…”  So enough with the depressing “Letters to STC” and all the boring business talk for just a minute. Instead, I’d like to give a blogging gift.

This morning I was reading in the book of Galatians (yes, I am still trying to read a passage from the bible every morning, and you should be too) where the Apostle Paul was talking about the fruits of the spirit. And since I am totally in synch with the holiday season, I immediately thought of fruitcake. And fruitcake reminded me of gift-giving. Which made me think of all the fellow bloggers and faithful commenters out there who have been so extremely supportive of Shrinking the Camel over the past year, those who I now consider to be good friends. What gift can I give them?

I was going to send out a few special emails or Tweets, but instead I decided to give away select portions of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, right here on this Blog. Call it a spiritual fruitcake. You can even re-gift it, if you want.

I tried to match up each of the fruits of the spirit with the blogger friend that best fits, but it’s nearly impossible. You are all such rich, complex and completely three-dimensional characters. Go figure.

Oh well. Here goes:

The Fruits of the Spirit

1. Love

This one goes out to nAncY, who authors a Blog called “Just Say the Word,” and runs a winery in Oregon with her husband under the Sineann brand. She is also a poet, photographer and artist, and has more authentic love in her heart to share than any other blogger I know. And did I mention that the wine is superb? You need to order a few bottles here. And once you experience her Blog, you’ll want to keep visiting to bask in the sensations of love and peace that flow out of it. But first you must order her Sineann wine. The grapes may be grown in Oregon, but when you taste the wine, you’ll think that it’s out of this world.

2. Joy

I’ll give this fruit gift to another poet and author, LL Barkat. LL has a consistently joyful attitude in all of her words, whether it is through her books, her poetry, her Blogs, and her email messages. You can practically hear her smiling as she writes – especially in her comments. I am always lifted up when reading her. Even in dealing with tough issues, she delivers a sneaky optimism that always breaks through the darkness. You must follow her Blog and buy her book, “Stone Crossings,” here.

3. Peace

I give a big chunk of Peace fruit to Glynn, author of Faith, Fiction Friends blog, and who has been like my right-hand-man after discovering my Blog. A fellow corporate manager wonk (he works in corporate communications for some big conglomerate in the Midwest, to be more precise) and writer, the two of us became fast friends with those common threads. How many other spiritually-inclined full-time Corporate Manager/part-time Bloggers do you know? I thought so. Glynn seems to have found a place of peace in his life, where he somehow combines his corporate work and his writing, his lovely family and his blogging in a manner that he has completely settled in to. You can see it in much of his writing. BTW, his poetry is excellent. It will leave you speechless.

4. Patience

I vote Deb for the patience fruit. Deb, author of “Talk at the Table” blog,  is a deeply spiritual woman who somehow latched on to my Blog a few months ago, and has left some of the most thought-provoking, beautiful comments. Her deeply personal reflections about the every-day living of life, family and relationships sometimes literally cause me to catch my breath. What I like about her own writing is that she is not only poetic and lyrical, but her posts are often so gut-wrenchingly honest that it makes me want to break out in song. She often writes of her own need for patience, but I think she’s already displaying that particular gift. Visit Deb’s Talk at the Table Blog here.

5. Kindness

There is this lady, see? She goes by the handle, Anne4JC, which should tell you something about where her priorities lie. And I want to give Anne the Kindness piece of the Spiritual Fruitcake. Anne has been very encouraging in her participation with my Blog, always offering words of kindness and hope that point back to a Christian grounding. Although she can be feisty at times and will stand her ground (don’t you mess with Anne4JC!), she is more concerned with spreading good cheer throughout the blogoshpere and Twitterland. You can find her Blog, “Building His Body” here, and follow her on Twitter here.

6. Goodness

I’m giving the Goodness fruit to my friend Leon DeRijke from Denmark. First of all, he wrote a darn Good guest post for me a few weeks ago, one that generated a lot of Good traffic. And isn’t that what Blogging is all about, building up traffic? Of course not! Why would I say such a thing?! Anyways, Leon is doing good work building a Faith in the Workplace community over there in Denmark (you know, Denmark? Amsterdam? Dutch? Netherlands? Europe?). I admire Leon for his persistence and pure attitude in the uphill battle that we both climb trying to get corporate management to acknowledge an interest in spiritual life. We pray for each other as we both are developing real-life programs that bring working people together to discuss this topic of Spirituality in the Workplace. And Leon’s Blog has this awesome translator thing, so it doesn’t matter what language you speak, with a click of a button his post will translate to your own tongue. So go on and get some overseas blogging experience! You can check Leon’s Blog out here. Like I said, he is really, really good.

7. Faithfulness

Maureen, Maureen, Maureen. Great is thy faithfulness. Maureen, or “Mo,” as some might call her, is the consummate Renaissance woman – she has the corporate HR experience as an editor, she is an art afficianado, owns her own art licensing business, an unbelievable poet, a music lover, art activist (yes, that is something new I learned from her), and a spiritually faithful woman. On top of all this, she somehow finds the time and interest to faithfully visit my blog and leave the most thoughtful, practical, sound advice in her comments, which I am certain is helping people much more than what I am writing. That and her Retweets, which she should get a prize for in and of itself. You can get a dose of Maureen’s faithfulness at her awesome Blog, Writing Without Paper. She will move you.

8. Gentleness

One of the gifts I have received in my short Blogging career has been to become acquainted with a talented young man named Marcus Goodyear. He is the senior editor over at the High Calling site, where he oversees an online empire that explores the intersection of faith, work, culture and life. He also has his own Blog, Good Word Editing, where he dabbles in poetry and zombies. I give him the Gentleness gift, because, that’s how I think of him when I see him in a video or pictures, when I hear him leading a meeting, or listen to the way he talks about his children and his family. You can tell by what he writes that Marcus is driven and smart, but he is also the most thoughtful, gentlemanly gentleman you could ever meet. Smart, driven, artistic, and gentle. That’s the type of person you might want to hang out with for a good while.

9. Self Control

David Rupert has followed my Blog since just about day one. Or maybe it’s the other way around. He has his own Faith-Work blog called Red Letter Believers, and he has been at this blogging thing a lot longer than I have. I give him the self-control gift because he is very careful about representing Christianity in his writing, and keeping his readers on the right path. He doesn’t go off the deep end like me with complaints and rants and cynicism that might get totally off-topic. No, David maintains a calm, cool and decidedly biblical approach to the issues of maintaining our faith at work. His deep spiritual roots keep him grounded in godliness, and in turn, keep all of us grounded too. Thanks, David.

Merry Christmas to all my Blogging friends! Thanks for visiting, and for your friendship.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2009 11:06 am




  2. December 23, 2009 11:25 am

    Wow. I’ve only been blogging since the end of September, so to be included in this wonderful Spiritual Fruitcake is indeed an honor.

    I’ll break a glass from Sineann with you anytime.

    Thank you. Tis a true gift you bestowed today.

    (P.S. I do answer to “Mo”. It’s the name I grew up with.)

  3. December 23, 2009 11:45 am

    Good to see Leon listed here–as well as the others. I had not realized your connection to Leon before this post. He’s a good guy, and we’ve been talking about what place a foreign language site could have in the network.

    Faithfulness is perfect for Maureen.

    Thanks for including me here, too. What an encouragement!

  4. December 23, 2009 11:50 am

    What a community is represented here — and don’t forget the gift of leadership for a shrunken camel. Thanks, Brad.

  5. December 23, 2009 1:00 pm

    okay, now that I had more time I came back to say how amusing many of these were (the Empire! the true purpose of a blog! : )

    and the rest was beautifully poignant (another side of the camel… nice to see)

    oh, and I just ordered two bottles of Sineann. nAncY’s choice as to what to send…

  6. December 23, 2009 2:49 pm

    Well called. We are made in His image and it is so good to see someone pulling out the greatness they see in others.

    Will have to go peak at these profound people you have met.

  7. December 23, 2009 5:09 pm

    Brad, I’ve been trying to think for the last few hours of how to respond to this post. Being familiar with most of these blogs, I know what kind of people you’ve mentioned here. I’m overwhelmed and humbled to be included in this lineup. Wow. And thanks. Thanks for including me, and for showing me a couple more blogs I need to have in my reader.

    And about Kindness … how can I show anything less than grace wherever I am, to whomever I meet, regardless of their words or actions? The Lord has shown me Kindness in far greater measure than every unkindness I’ve ever suffered or know. The scale can never be balanced.

    Brad, may the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you His perfect peace in this season of Light.

  8. December 24, 2009 6:51 am

    Wow Brad, thanks for including me! It feel honored to be in your Spiritual Fruitcake and receiving Goodness.

    It’s a pleasure to be in your blog community and cooperate in “the uphill battle we climb trying to get corporate management to acknowledge an interest in spiritual life”!

    Here’s a little quick lesson on topography: I’m *not* from Denmark! I’m from The Netherlands:
    “The Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. The capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. The Netherlands is often called Holland. The word Dutch is used to refer to the people, the language, and anything pertaining to the Netherlands.” Source:

    I live in the city called Eindhoven, which is the 5th largest city in the Netherlands, see

    Thanks for being who you are, reflecting the image of Christ and your great sense of humor!

    • December 27, 2009 6:35 pm

      Thanks Leon for that much-needed geography lesson. But we still are left wondering, Then where is Denmark? Sorry. From now on I will simply call you “my good Dutch friend.”

  9. December 24, 2009 9:35 am

    Brad, I echo Anne above, in that I was left without the words to reply. Other than a humbled thank you.

    Blogging has been as exhilarating and soul searching as anything I have done. Finding people like you, has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

    I wish I could shown greater patience these last few days, but that honesty peaks through my good intentions with all of this home for the holidays stuff. 🙂 I’d like to think my kids love me regardless by now.

    The merriest of the merry to you and your family!

  10. December 25, 2009 4:40 am

    i Love you too, my sweet hearted brother.

  11. Annie permalink
    December 25, 2009 3:01 pm

    What a beautiful gift!!! I often visit Nancy’s blog and love her poetry and photographs! I will have to make visits to the other blogs as well!
    Merry Christmas!

  12. December 25, 2009 8:05 pm

    Dear Brad: Even tho I’m not a “bizness” man, I have a great appreciation for your attempting to show how we can (and why we should) live our faith in the market place. I’ve also enjoyed and respected the “clientele” who visit your blog. I call on them as occasion is available. The quality of your respondents confirms my own belief in the quality of your work. I’m very glad we met via the blog. My prayers are for a continued, growing and effective ministry through the impact of your life and your words. Joy to you and yours! Happy New Year, too.~donkimrey

    • December 27, 2009 6:38 pm

      Don, I would be remiss without mentioning your fine support also over the months — If I had a 10th fruit of the spirit, it would be “Hope” and it would go to you! You are full of persistance and inspiration as I have watched you go from blogging to published book.. Great job! And may God richly bless your work in 2010, bro!

  13. December 25, 2009 11:14 pm


    Thanks for your friendship.

    While I am self controlled in my writing, I need more in my real life.

    Blessings to you this next year


  14. December 26, 2009 8:24 pm

    One other observation. If I remember correctly, it is “fruit” of the spirit, not “fruits.” Ergo, we aren’t really left free to pick and choose. It is a package deal. Now, how’s that for theological nit-picking? Best to you, my Brother. You inspire me, and a lot of others, and that ought to produce a warm fuzzy feeling…or somethin’ ~dk

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