Book Review: Junkyard Wisdom

junkyard-wisdomRoy Goble is my friend. The first day I met him, I hated him.

Ford Munnerlyn, Roy Goble, me - probably 1979 in Sunol CA
Ford Munnerlyn, Roy Goble, me – probably 1979 in Sunol CA

We met in 1977 as incoming freshman at Westmont College. He is a Giants fan; I bleed Dodger blue. One of the first things we did together was play catch. We have done a lot of things together since then and I no longer hate him (I really never hated him; we just irritate each other). All of that to say that I know Roy and therefore can say some things in this review that are first hand.

Roy is generous. An anecdote: we were each other’s best man. I married in July of 81; he in September of 81. We started our families at the same time. He went into Real Estate and I went into pastoral ministry, that is, he made money and I didn’t. Soon after the birth of our first born, Roy sent me a check for a significant amount of money (more than $20). After the second born, another check. After our third, another check. After the fourth, the standard amount + $500 with a note: “here is an additional $500, get fixed, I can’t afford this.”

Roy is smart. Roy is straightforward. Roy is bold. This is why I turn to him for advice when I need it – only a few times in my life –  and why I listen to what he has to say.

Those are all good reasons for you to read his new book: Junkyard Wisdom: Resisting the Whisper of Wealth in a World of Broken Parts.

Every person who lives in the US is wealthy on the global scale.  Roy writes for those of us who want to live lives that see beyond personal gratification and gain a perspective on how to be wise about how we manage the resources we have in abundance. Written in a direct, uncomplicated way Roy gives us a road map for maximizing our impact with wealth.

The story is told in ripple format, a modern take on ancient Hebrew chiasm. As Roy tells the story it ripples out from the junkyard to the ends of the world, he invites you to experience the ripples yourself. You can learn his lessons and apply them so that you too can fix some broken parts in our world.

Roy ends the book with apologies, as opposed to thanks, and here is a final apology: “I’m sorry this book can’t fully express the things Jesus has taught me. I tried my best, but only a few of the pages even hint at the amazing opportunities we will find if we dare to resist the whisper of wealth, tear down the walls between us, and begin loving our neighbor as God calls us to.”

I am recommending this book to all my friends who have money. That is you if you are reading this post.

Buy the book. Read the book. Share the wealth.


Roy wrote a guest post on this blog entitled The Riches of Grace.

You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or just call him, here is his cell phone number….555-555-5555.

Look up and involve yourself in some of Roy’s investments: Pathlight  – an educational enterprise aimed at reducing poverty in Belize and Jaguar Creek a place to stay in Belize and be filled with awe through a truly unique experience that adds positive value to  local communities.

Related Posts:

Brothers from…in Moscow

Brothers in MoscowIn April of 1998 my brothers (two of them: Tim and Leonard, sans one: Fred) and I made a trip to Russia to visit my parents who had moved back for a time to start a church in my Dad’s hometown, Mikhaylovka.  Mikhaylovka is a few hours outside of Rostov on Don, just off the Black Sea.

My mom died in 2013 (coming up on the three year anniversary) and my dad is pining to join her. So I decided to launch a project to keep him and me busy until that happens. Starting next week, September 13,  I will be launching a series of blog posts and a podcast featuring interviews with my father about heritage and immigration. The focus will be the story, but the periphery may range from politics to ethics to theology – whatever might interest me. Hopefully it will interest you – stay tuned for “The Immigrant Song.”

Related Posts:

It’s Just Tuna…

It’s Just Tuna…that’s what I thought until I read the bottom of the can. IMG_20160831_143833

Eating is so complicated. The first thing I noticed was the invitation to not drain the tuna (no photo, but really, fish in a can is visually unappetizing, and the liquid may be the most unappealing part). But I left it in and mashed my way to a sandwich.

Then, the line: “we select smaller albacore which accumulates less mercury than larger albacore.”

I hadn’t thought much about mercury in fish (since the 80’s when it seemed a national epidemic) until I recently heard Tony Robbins interviewed by Tim Ferris. Apparently he had a huge problem with mercury in his body. Well, I am not a scientist, nutritionist, or other kind of expert but here is what seems to be the bottom line for your tuna (and other fish/seafood) intake.

  1. Mercury is present in all fish. Some fish have higher concentrations than others. You should consume less of the fish with higher concentrations. Tuna is one of those fish. Canned Salmon is a great alternative to canned Tuna. The lowest canned Tuna variety (light tuna) has 16 times more mercury in it than canned Salmon. Some canned Tuna has up to 45 times more mercury in it than canned Salmon. Check out this chart for comparisons.
  2. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the fish the more mercury. The reason for this is that a bigger fish, especially predator fish (shark, swordfish, tuna, orange roughy), has lived longer and eaten more other fish and food products in the ocean and has accumulated more mercury as a result.
  3. Bottom feeders have less mercury:  shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, etc. have less mercury.
  4. The source of Mercury in the environment has both natural and anthropogenic sources, so it would be in our best interest to do as much as possible to reduce the amount of mercury we contribute to the atmosphere/ocean.

My favorite quote from the articles I read was this from Time Magazine online:

Still, the health benefits of canned tuna outweigh potential contaminant risks, says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “All studies comparing the inclusion versus the exclusion of fish show better health associated with the inclusion of fish in the diet,” he says. “Those contaminants are unfortunate—but that’s the reality in a world we haven’t treated all that well. Perfectly ‘pure’ food no longer exists on this planet.”

Here are some resources:

Mercury Myth: A Fish Tale Of Epic Proportion

United Nations Report on Global Mercury
FDA: Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish


Related Posts:

Remember to say “Thank You”

Cleaning the garage today I stumbled on a thank you note from my daughter in law from August 2012. My son and d-i-l had moved from Southern California to Fort Collins, Colorado and I drove the U-Haul. So she wrote the following kindness:

scan0001Dear Parent of the year (don’t you dare tell Kelly!):

Thank you ad infinitum for driving 1,062 miles in 18 hours only to sleep on the floor and carry everything we own up some rickety old stairs! I assure you that you were never really “the third wheel” – that your presence, conversation, insight, and support were welcomed and treasured. We are so fortunate to have you in our lives, and are thankful for the many blessings you have & continue to bestow upon us.


Levi & Kristin

I have to say that in light of the last few months of my life this was a treasure to discover, dusty and dated (well not so dated, but it sounds good). I haven’t felt the part lately – those who know, know – and this gave me hope that I am not the jerk I feel like I am today.

So make sure you say thank you, I love you, you are special, and all sorts of other kindnesses. It pays dividends even into the future.

Related Posts:

No, They Don’t Happen in Threes.

three-stoogesWhenever famous people die it comes up.

“Things happen in threes.”

It is called “triaphilia” – an obsession with three. But, really, they don’t.

Is it David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glenn Frey? Or do we include:

  • Clarence Reid, R&B Singer known as “Blowfly”
  • Mic Gillette of Tower of Power
  • Lemmy
  • Dale “Buffin” Griffin
  • Celine Dion’s brother
  • Lawrence Phillips
  • Ashraf Pahlavi?

Death happens every day. 150,000 people die every day. 56 million deaths a year. 3.9 billion within 70 years. In 100 years every person alive today will be dead.

I guess saying that it happens in threes lessens the reality of death.

Related Posts:

The Riches of Grace

Today’s post is offered by my friend Roy Goble.  Roy was the best man at my wedding.  Read more great stuff at his blog called Junkyard Wisdom and visit PathLight Ministries, an organization that he founded. The only thing I have against him is that he is a Giant’s fan, but congratulations anyway, Roy!  Thanks for your contribution to the

Grace Challenge – today is Day 7

“All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.” Galatians 2:10

The most significant missionary effort ever pursued by the Church began with the mandate to not forget the poor.

Who are the poor? Our minds go to those who have the least in material possessions. But there are also the spiritually poor. They live without the inner grace of God to guide their hopes and dreams. Sadness and ingratitude are often their companions. By contrast, the spiritually rich have the Spirit to warm their hearts and guide them through the most difficult of times.

I know of such a person. She has every right to complain. She is 88-years old and her body still suffers the consequences of a stroke. It is a difficult adjustment for a person who was constantly in motion. Her eyesight has been taken by macular degeneration. So many simple joys – reading, bird watching, driving, watching a movie – are all in the past.

The most difficult part is losing her daughter to cancer. No mother should ever have to bury her child.

It’s amazing that depression doesn’t simply crush her. But she has an inner richness that defies the physical and emotional poverty.

I asked her, “How is it that you fight off the sadness? How do you push it away?”

Her answer was simple, “I’m thankful. Whenever I feel down, I start to think about all the things that I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for good parents who cared for me, for friends who shared life with me, for children that love me, and for a warm home that comforts me. Most of all, I’m thankful for the grace of God. When I’m down, I focus on those things. And my spirits are renewed. How can I be sad when there is so much to appreciate?”

I think of her often. She makes me rethink the poor – and the rich. Her spirit of thankfulness shapes my own heart, mind and soul. She models the grace of Christ.

There is an old Celtic prayer that goes like this:

Bless, O Lord,
this food we are about to eat;
and we pray you, O God,
that it may be good
for our body and soul;
and, if there is any poor creature
hungry or thirsty walking the road,
may God send them in to us
so that we can share the food with them,
just as Christ shares His gifts
with all of us.


May we too remember the poor, and may both the spiritually poor and materially poor find their way to our home, for in their company we can find the grace of God at work in our hearts.

Related Posts:

Gratitude’s Hands and Feet

Grace leads to Gratitude leads to Graciousness.

Our first example of this was how Gratitude leads to the Graciousness of Worship.

Today we highlight the second part.  Our lives have both horizontal and vertical elements; Love God and love your neighbor.  So Grace goes both ways as well:  Be gracious to God (worship – eucharist) and be gracious to others (service – charismata).  A truly grateful person sees that the best expression of gratitude only begins with the words of Thanksgiving but culminates in the actions of grace.  The actions of grace are the expression of spiritual gifts.

This is how Paul puts it:

 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;  that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:11-12).

This is how Peter put it:

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God  (1 Peter 4:10).

This is how Jesus put it:

 …just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

The end result of grace is that people serve one another, or to use our grace/gratitude language, they are gracious to one another.  We treat others how God has treated us.  He has been merciful, kind, and loving toward us.  So today, the Grace Challenge calls us to be gracious toward other people.  Do you need to forgive someone?  Forgive them and be reconciled.  Be intentional today in kindness, in both small and larger ways.  In so doing you become imitators of God and Christ!


Related Posts:

Gracious Worship

I shall wash my hands in innocence, And I will go about Your altar, O LORD,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving And declare all Your wonders.
O LORD, I love the habitation of Your house And the place where Your glory dwells. Psalm 26:6-8

Is worship an obligation?  Do I have to worship God?  Well the answer to that question is yes.  Our only reasonable response to a powerful, holy God is worship.  But the beauty of a gracious God is that His love toward us turns obligatory worship driven by necessity and fear into free worship driven by deep gratitude.  When we see that God has blessed us beyond imagining our response becomes more than rote and much more than obligation.  It now becomes driven by joy.

So what is driving you to church today?  Is it obligation, the “have-to’s”?  Or is it best described by the phrase above:  “I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells? When you practice thanksgiving on a daily basis keeping in contact with the day to day, moment by moment grace of God, our obligations become our desires, even more, obligations become our loves and passions.

So let’s follow the progression:  Grace leads to Gratitude leads to Graciousness.

The first movement of gratitude to graciousness is how we “treat” God.  Do we deal with God graciously?  If our worship remains simply obligation the answer to that question is no.  The way we are gracious to God is by returning love to him freely; worshipping him not out of obligation but willingly.  The way we get there is by internalizing His grace to us through thanksgiving.

Keep giving thanks.  Keep on worshipping God.  When done in concert you can overcome the drudgery of obligatory worship and be transformed into a passionate and gracious worshipper.

Related Posts:

Gratitude Overflowing

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude  (Colossians 2:6-7)

You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows (Psalm 23:5).

These two verses are parallels. Paul may as well be making commentary on Psalm 23.

The first part speaks of God’s blessing of salvation.  The Psalmist describes it as an anointing, the picture is of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Paul puts it this way in Romans 5:5  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Paul in Colossians speaks about this as the receiving of Christ.  This is Grace.

The second part speaks of the result of salvation and is described in superlative terms  “My cup overflows,”  and “gratitude overflowing.”  A believer is one who has been blessed beyond our capacity to hold the blessing – it is too much. God gives us more than we can handle!

I have often thought of what I call a “Job Situation.”  If God took everything away from me: job; family, house, car, bike, etc., would I still be able to give thanks?  Another way to look at it is that if all God gave me was Jesus, would it be enough? Our answer to both questions is yes.  All I need is Jesus. If this becomes existentially true, that is we really believe it for ourselves, then every other blessing is more than overflowing!

Today, thank God for Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit, regeneration, sanctification, eternal life, abundant life and whatever else you can add to the list that describes the inheritance of the saints in Christ, ahhhh, that’s you!

Grace Challenge Day 2: Singing in the Key of G

Grace Challenge Day 4: Gracious Worship

Related Posts:

Be a Better Human