Tuesday, 08 March 2016 16:11

Get well cards make me warm and fluffy

It’s great to be home after two very recent, serious hospitalizations. One of the joys is to be able to read tons of good wishes and get well cards from you dear readers. They are great medicine at a time like this! They are like the world’s greatest multi-vitamins. Some are deeply spiritual. Many are hilariously funny. All are inspirational.

Let me give you a few examples that knocked me out of the bed with laughter and lifted my spirits. And I’ll add a few comments.

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 16:12

True love is sharing the same spit can

You know me. I am a hopeless, old romantic. This time of the year something always reminds me that Valentine’s Day is nearing. This year it was a report about a Swedish woman who lost her wedding ring 16 years ago. It was a ring she had personally designed. Well, she recently found the ring in her garden. It had a carrot growing right through it! It was a sweet, touching story.

This got me inspired to write about romance, so pucker up! Here’s my story about true romance. It started more than 50 years ago when I was a young, country preacher. A nervous, rustic couple came to me requesting that I “marry” them. They wanted me to officiate at their wedding. Their names were Delilah Scissors and Cicero Fudd.

My story this week is set in the mid-1940s. I was a young boy at the time. Many of the men in my family were away serving in the U.S. military. How many of you are old enough to remember those years? Our mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers were holding things together here at home.

Consult your elders and see if they remember any of what I’m about to tell you. They may not know about this because, while it was not secret, it was not widely disclosed at the time.

World War II was raging at the time. As the war wore on, thousands of German and Italian prisoners of war were brought to America and placed in 700 prison camps in 43 states.

Brace yourself, folks, it’s presidential campaign time again! What that means is that many of the candidates are trying to get the so-called evangelical Christian vote. If you read my writings often, you are aware that I regard myself as a classical evangelical Christian. However, much of the political chatter we hear strikes me as neither evangelical nor Christian. It is the cynical effort by people seeking to use God for partisan political advantage. I regard this as an example of a violation of the biblical commandment against taking the name of the Lord God in vain. In short, trivializing the name of God. That’s why I get cranky about the way religion is used in political campaigns.

Now, I’m not saying faith is not related to politics. Quite the contrary. A person’s faith is related to every aspect of human life. But you know what I mean. One candidate speaking recently about his faith, said, “I have a great relationship with God.” That may very well be true. It would be great if a voter could ask what the Divinity thinks about the relationship with the candidate. In fact, I did ask that question and God declined to testify by invoking the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

Happy New Year! That cheery greeting has been in the air since New Year’s Day. It is beginning to wane now as we get into the winter blahs. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are in our rearview mirrors. Days are short and the nights are long. Winter cold has moved in to stay for several weeks and we tend to struggle with the wintertime blues.

Most pastors will tell you that folks tend to experience more depression during this time of the year. It is time to pay the bills for all the celebrating that we’ve enjoyed. Wintertime ailments, sniffles, hacking coughs, aches and pains abound.

Sometimes New Year’s resolutions can be a lot like new automobiles. They can be shiny and fresh but they can depreciate quickly. They may have been impulse commitments. The newness can wear off in a hurry and they can fall into disrepair. Dent a fender and pride of ownership wanes. Before you know it, you are off to other things.

How many times have I resolved to have a slimmer waistline by March, only to get to April and discover that I missed my goal? Does that sound familiar to you? One thing I have learned is that there are two kinds of resolutions. First are those resolutions that I’ll call “result resolutions.” They are goals that I’d like to reach. Then there are what I’ll call “effort resolutions.” They are the things I am willing to do to reach those goals. For example, I’ll resolve to get slimmer. But it won’t happen unless I also resolve to eat less! Effort resolutions are the most important resolutions we make!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015 16:51

Holidays a time for new beginnings

Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations are great fun for all except those who are terminally grouchy. We all know a few folks who are like that. They are in need of professional help. I’m as serious as a heart attack, and I’m one who has had five heart bypasses and am on my third pacemaker. But I believe Christmas and the New Year will be sufficient to help most of us get through this tough time in our lives.

We are very anxious people at this moment. And when we are anxious, we are not usually at our best. Our judgment is impaired. We make poor decisions. We think thoughts that, in our stronger moments, we would not allow to distract us. We say things that do not truly represent our morality, our ethics, our values. This is because we are human and our humanity can sometimes cause us to weaken in the face of threats.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 06:16

Eggs on a hubcap and smart puns

Y’all are smart readers. How do I know this? Because you love puns, particularly puns made by intelligent people. Whenever I pass along such a pun, I hear lots of groans. So, here we go again.

I got this from Professor George Hunter: A fellow was driving home for the Christmas holiday. He decided to leave early in the morning and stop later for breakfast. Eventually, he stopped at a diner. The waitress asked, “What’ll you have?” The traveler replied that he would like the eggs benedict with whole wheat toast, orange juice and coffee. When she returned with his breakfast he could not help but notice that the eggs benedict was perched on a hubcap.

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.”