Wednesday, 09 December 2015 06:43

The world defined by ‘Poor Harold’s’

It’s a rainy day today and I’m in a mellow mood. I wish we had a tin roof. I love to hear the pitter pat of rain on a tin roof. It relaxes the muscles in the back of my neck and makes me think soothing thoughts. It dampens my appetite for debating religion, politics, sports or almost anything else. I just want to kick back and luxuriate in pleasantries. Well, we don’t have a tin roof, but we do have tin gutters. The light rain collects volume and speed as it comes down the gutters and it puts me in the mood. Today, I’m thinking about old adages.

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is a rich mine of sayings and wisdom. We call this kind of thing “wisdom literature.” The reason is obvious. Here are some samples from Proverbs: (1) “Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 4:23. (2) “Wisdom is the main thing. Therefore, get wisdom. And with all else, get understanding.” 4:7. (3) “Go to the ant, you lazy, sluggish person. Consider her ways and be wise.” 6:6.

I love animals. Our cat, Liberty, is 22 years old and she is dear to Judy and me. I’m a cheerleader for those who rescue and find homes for pets in need. I’m preparing a check today to send to a local organization that does this kind of thing. Sue Hicks, one of our faithful readers, is a terrific volunteer in Concord who raises money each year to rescue abandoned animals. I’m making my donation in honor of Liberty. Send me an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll tell you where to send your donation.

My friend, Dr. Dennis Caudill of Kannapolis, is one of the most public-spirited people I know. He came down South more than 30 years ago to begin his practice as a doctor of chiropractic. He immediately became involved in organizing the town’s annual Christmas parade. He’s been doing it ever since. I was talking with him at Sunday school about this — he’s the class president — when he mentioned that the parade was once famous for its “possum float.” This was before his time as chief of the parade. However, it still remains in the public memory.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 17:10

I wish His teachings would just catch on

A dear friend wrote this note to me:

“I’m hoping you will write about all that is happening in our world — Paris, Beirut, refugees, idiots, peace, life, trying to make sense of it all while going into a supposed holiday season that feels to have lost its heart. It has become so trivialized, commercialized and so much work and expense that I’d rather skip the whole thing! I guess I needed to express that! HA! Xoxoxo.”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 17:22

Thanksgiving puts a song in my heart

As you longtime readers of this blessed blurb know, I am an aspiring songwriter. I love lots of musical styles. However, I regard my own style as “Shabby, Country Chic.” So far as I know, I am the world’s only musical artist employing this genre.

Two years ago, I wrote a Thanksgiving song. Since I am a Methodist minister, I thought I would be able to get it included in the next edition of the Methodist hymnal. This may explain why I now believe there will never be a next edition of our hymnal. I include it here in the hope that you Episcopalians or Lutherans may be able to get it into your hymnals.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 16:13

Many old stories simply ring true

The world of the church is a tremendous repository of old jokes and inspirational stories. We preachers are forever recycling them and telling them as if they are brand new. And you, dear listeners in the pews, keep chuckling because you don’t want to hurt our feelings. We love you for that kindness. I worry that one day I will have a brief mind freeze and forget where I am. I will say, “Stop me if you’ve already heard this,” and the entire congregation will leap to its feet shouting, “Stop!”

Tuesday, 03 November 2015 17:08

Smart people doubt ’til they see the light

I admire Thomas, the disciple of Jesus. In John 20:24-29 we read the account of a resurrection appearance of Jesus to some of his disciples. Thomas had not been present when it happened and expressed his doubts about their report. So he asked, “Show me some evidence.” A few days later, John reports that there was another resurrection appearance in which Thomas was present and was convinced. Forever after, Christians have referred to the Apostle as “Doubting Thomas.”

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 16:15

Asking where God is? He’s everywhere

If there is a God, there must be a heaven. It only seems proper when you consider the traits we attribute to God: loving, kind, gracious, just, merciful, all-powerful, all-knowing, generous, faithful and true. Don’t you think? And do you ever awaken and look out your window to a morning in which everything is bright and beautiful? Robert Browning’s words in Pippa Passes ring true for you:

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 16:58

Who are you? It’s all in your genes

Do you ever think much about your gene pool? You look for traits that keep popping up in your family. For example, I notice that in my family history, religious faith plays a big role. There are some ministers there and I’m glad for that.

Also, I notice that intermarriage across denominational lines seems common. There seems to have been a tendency for my Quaker and Methodist kinfolk to be attracted to Baptists. In 1805 one ancestor got kicked out of the Quaker Church for marrying a Baptist girl. That seems a bit harsh to me. Presbyterians aren’t common in our family. I’m guessing they were predestined to steer clear of we rowdies.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:03

Corny words about soup for the soul

Simplicity is a common theme when we think about spirituality. Jesus went away into the wilderness to contemplate his life’s work. He was tempted there. In the simple seclusion of the wilderness, he sought clarification, focus and direction. In ancient Christianity, devout people sometimes adopted lives of seclusion and simplicity. Some became hermits. Some became desert dwelling, solitary souls and some became monks living in remote communities of like-minded persons devoted to prayer and reflection. They lived with the barest of necessities.

Some folks are hoarders. They amass amazing amounts of stuff in their homes. I have known persons whose homes are so filled with stuff that they can move only through narrow pathways to get from room to room. We don’t associate this behavior with the search for spirituality. When this happens, it is an indication of something amiss. It is a complex condition and a sign of the need for professional help.

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 10:43

Finding tranquility in the little things

My beloved and I were sitting under the covered part of our patio after midnight. We were listening to a soft, falling rain. This is one of the small pleasures of our lives. We talk about the people we love, ideas that interest us, memories we treasure. Sometimes we will talk ’til dawn. The best times are when rain is falling.

On this particular night I was in a dull mood. Normally I’m upbeat. I am by nature an optimist. Often I err in that direction. My glass is almost always more than half full and rarely half empty. But, on this night, I am down in the dumps. My favorite college football team has played four games in the young season and has lost two of them. Each game by one point. When your team experiences something like that, what does it mean? It means you are a two-time loser, that’s what!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015 17:03

At least one room in the inn for us all

We’ve had a good time with Pope Francis visiting here in the USA. Ninety million Roman Catholics have rejoiced in his presence. I’m guessing that at least that many non-Catholics have also been very happy he was here. As you know, I’m a garden-variety Methodist. He has lifted my own spirits. I have a host of family and friends who are Catholic and I know this has fired them up!