Every Child Born Changes the Entire World

Every child born changes the entire world. Whether eagerly longed for or dreaded, male or female, impoverished or ultra-wealthy, every child changes the world. Whether loaded with physical and mental challenges or worry-free healthy, a musical prodigy or profoundly tone-deaf, hair sunny-silky light or wildly curly/kinky dark, skin glorious ebony-rich to albino-like pale, every child changes the world. Whether left or right-handed, born already reading philosophy or never able to read even one word, oldest or youngest or in a middle position–no matter the characteristics or circumstances, every single child born changes the entire world. Think about it:  no family … Continue reading Every Child Born Changes the Entire World

From Barren to Baby, Hope After Tragedy

As did many clergy, I faced a dilemma with this Sunday’s message after the events of Friday’s massacre of children. For Advent this year, I had decided to do a series I called “From Barren to Baby” and speak of some of Jesus’ ancestors, particularly those whose stories started with the barren woman scenario.  I learned long ago that when a passage in the Bible begins to speak of a woman unable to have children, it is code for, “Pay attention!!!  Something important is about to happen!” So, we’ve looked at the Abraham-Sarah-Hagar saga and then at the very strange … Continue reading From Barren to Baby, Hope After Tragedy

Murder of the Innocents

Who is not just sick, as well as outraged, by the murder of the innocents in Connecticut?  Who?  Why?  How could he or they?  What kind of evil and demons drive such an action? Yes, what kind of evil?  There is no way to whitewash this.  The murder of innocents is evil.  It happened after Jesus’ birth–and I often struggle with the fact that many mothers, fathers and babies in Bethlehem suffered horrendously because they had the bad luck to live in that town at the time. Herod was evil.  Possibly mentally ill, but still evil. The person(s) who perpetuated … Continue reading Murder of the Innocents

A Normal Day Interrupted by a Divine Appointment?

I woke yesterday with a sense of work-urgency informing my plans for the day.  It was the first day I had any real schedule freedom to do intensive work on the many messages that need to be prepared and delivered in the next 12 days. My Director of Worship and I have been working on the services for several weeks.  Initial concepts have been examined and modified, perfected, so to speak.  Music pieces discussed, musicians recruited, especially for the 11:00 pm Christ Mass on December 24, and our first ever Blue Christmas service on December 20. Acolytes and readers are … Continue reading A Normal Day Interrupted by a Divine Appointment?

Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

Dear Friendly, Was Jesus really born on December 25th?  All these songs about snow and cold and shepherds sleeping outside in the fields in icy winter don’t make sense to me. Signed, Not So Sure About This. Dear Not So Sure, I was just a child when I heard some radio preacher say that Jesus was probably not born on December 25.  I thought the floor had just been yanked from me.  How dare that person question what surely is clear! Except it is not clear. First, the Bible does not indicate the date on our calendar that we call … Continue reading Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

Cold and Comfort, Disquiet at the Disparity

It’s one of those days where I realize just how fortunate I am.  The wind is pretty wild here in Krum and the temperature dropped well into the freezing range overnight.  It’s projected to be bitterly cold here tonight. I personally welcome the cold weather.  I sleep better, and also appreciate the necessity of extended cold for the sake of yard and garden. I am also not poor.  I live in a reasonably well-insulated house with a good heating system, have warm enough clothes, a car with a good heater, and plenty of blankets. No reason not to enjoy this. … Continue reading Cold and Comfort, Disquiet at the Disparity

Local Shopping, Personal Service, the Power of Connection, and the Art of Discipleship

A few weeks ago, in a need to do something that I could start and finish, I cleaned the stove. When I took off the light cover from the stove vent hood so I could wash it, it promptly broke. “No problem,” I thought.  “I’ll just get another one.” Placing the broken on in the car, I decided that the next time I was near one of the large, big-box, home improvements stores, I would get a replacement. A few days later, I the opportunity, so brought it with me and began to look for assistance.  After a long wait … Continue reading Local Shopping, Personal Service, the Power of Connection, and the Art of Discipleship

More on the Confusion Between Santa and God

This letter appeared in the “Dear Abby” advice column that was in the newspaper on December 8, 2012: DEAR ABBY: Last night I received a call from my almost-5-year-old granddaughter asking me for Santa Claus’ phone number. It seems she is very angry at her daddy for calling her a brat because she wouldn’t give him a hug. She wants to tattle on her daddy to Santa. Her parents are not together. Her daddy’s involvement has been only within the last year. She seemed very upset about the incident, and I want to make sure “Santa” gives her a good … Continue reading More on the Confusion Between Santa and God

The Phone Call and the Novena

A dear friend of mine phoned earlier this evening.  She refers to herself as my “spiritual mother” and I very much believe it.  She’s in her late 80’s, and is simply beautiful. I describe her as a piece of pure light wrapped in a tiny piece of increasingly frail human flesh. We connected about a year and a half ago.  She had been reading my newspaper columns in the Denton Record Chronicle and phoned to talk with me and see if perhaps the church I serve would be able to embrace her and her unique understanding of Christian spirituality.  I assured … Continue reading The Phone Call and the Novena

The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Three

Note: this is part three of a three part series. Part One is here; Part Two is here. Three Things to Keep in Mind First: not all growth is good growth.  When effectiveness is measured only by numerical growth, we make the fatal mistake of assuming that just because something grows rapidly, it is doing so under the blessing of God.  All gardeners and physicians know this:  rapid growth doesn’t necessarily mean good, healthy or desired growth. Second:  the process of making disciples is a long, slow, and often painful one.  A disciple is one who is actually willing to … Continue reading The Consumer-Driven Church Model, Part Three