Author Archives: jrcoggins

About jrcoggins

James R. Coggins is a professional writer and editor based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. He wrote his first novel in high school, but, fortunately for his later reputation as a writer, it was never published. He briefly served as a Christian magazine editor (for just over 20 years). He has written everything from scholarly and encyclopedia articles to jokes in Reader’s Digest (the jokes paid better). His six and a half published books include four John Smyth murder mysteries and one other, stand-alone novel. In his spare time, he operates Mill Lake Books, a small publishing imprint. His website is www.coggins.ca

A Splintered Reed by James R. Coggins

Three times in the Old Testament (2 Kings 18:21; Isaiah 36:5-6; Ezekiel 29:6-7), God compared Egypt to “a splintered reed.” Reeds are long, thick grasses that grow along the banks of rivers such as the Nile. Egypt is a dry … Continue reading

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Lying Lips by James R. Coggins

A mother confronts her son: “Did you write on the wall?” The boy replies, “No, Mom, my little brother did it.” The mother says, “But your little brother can’t spell.” “Oh.” ***** On another day, the mother confronts the same … Continue reading

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An Introduction for Modern Readers by James R. Coggins

A couple of generations ago, things were much different. Back then, most people in North America—whether believing Christians or not—had a basic understanding of the main teachings of Christianity. Today, the church exists in a culture that is largely disconnected … Continue reading

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In Praise of Libraries by James R. Coggins

I’ve always wanted to own a castle or at least a country estate. I particularly wanted to have my office at the top of a tower in the castle or country manor house. From there I would have great vision … Continue reading

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Global Connections by James R. Coggins

I had never met Teus and Maria Kappers—until they asked me to help them publish their joint autobiography. And yet their lives have intersected major connecting points in the global evangelical world. Teus grew up in the Netherlands and Maria … Continue reading

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Midtown Bus: A Short Story by James R. Coggins

The midtown bus lurched along, carrying its random assortment of humanity. “Someone should do something,” muttered the old woman, squeezed between two middle-aged businessmen on the seniors’ bench near the front. The driver, balding with a spreading middle, hunched over … Continue reading

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The Freedom of Dependency by James R. Coggins

For a number of years, my wife and I belonged to the same church as Patricia Mussolum and her husband Barry. But it was a large church and we never met. I did hear about them though. I cannot recall … Continue reading

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Four Dark Books

In the 1800s, Africa was considered a “dark continent” because its interior geography was unknown to Europeans and because it was considered uncivilized. The Christian missionary and explorer David Livingstone is credited with shedding light on the continent by exploring … Continue reading

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Famous Coggins Quotations by James R. Coggins

After a writer is dead, some anonymous scholar often collects the best quotes from all of his written works, reducing his laboriously written tomes to a few sound bites. I decided to save this anonymous scholar some work and compile … Continue reading

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Life at the Lake by James R. Coggins

As usual this spring, the babies appeared at the lake where we sometimes walk. It is an opportunity to consider different parenting styles. The families of Canada geese glide across the water like convoys of battleships. They always travel in … Continue reading

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Writing by James R. Coggins

The trend was obvious early on. • Grade 1: four A’s, four B’s, and a C in Writing. • Grade 2: six A’s, one B, and a C in Writing, which was “not so well done.” • Grade 3: seven … Continue reading

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A Judicial Conversation by James R. Coggins

“Hi, John. You know that five hundred dollars I owe you?” “Yeah?” “I just lost my job, so I won’t be able to pay you when I said I would. I’m sorry.” “No problem, Wes. I’ll sue you, and then … Continue reading

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Speechmaking by James R. Coggins

I never did very well at public speaking in high school. Once a year, all of the students would have to make a speech in English class. The students who had done the best in each class would then compete … Continue reading

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Thou Shalt Not: A Short Story by James R. Coggins

The words troubled him. John read them over again. They seemed so archaic. So judgmental. So negative. So out of keeping with the rest of the book. He read them again: “Thou shalt not.” The next day, he returned to … Continue reading

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An Unintended Legacy by James R. Coggins

The patriarch Joseph was undoubtedly a moral and godly man. He is credited with saving Egypt from a disastrous famine. Because of Pharaoh’s dreams and the interpretation of them which God gave to Joseph, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of … Continue reading

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