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!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 21:47

Call him Harold the Holy Heralder

One of the pleasures of writing this blessed blurb is knowing that you, dear readers, are smart, well-educated and tuned into what is happening in the world around us. Oh, I know there are a few of you who are like me — cursed by being regarded mostly as a pretty face. Even that doesn’t make us a bunch of airheads. We all know that there are certain times that call for us to furrow our brows and think especially hard. We are entering such a period.

Labor Day is now in our rear-view mirrors and because next year is a presidential election year, we will begin now to seriously consider the candidates before us. So here is a little bit of my advice for us thinking folk as we ponder the forthcoming election. You may think that my advice is not worth much. However, you are also not paying a penny for it. Cheap as it may be, however, if you don’t pay attention to it, you may pay a seriously heavy price when you cast your vote.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015 14:13

Fall is time to renew old lessons learned

Ah, mid-September! Summer temperatures are beginning to drop and lots of other changes are under way. Those of you, dear readers, who are of my generation are wearing shoes once again. We took them off at the beginning of summer mostly because barefooted-ness was a fashion statement for kids in the summertime. Plus, no matter how middle-class our families were, the reason we were middle-class was that we did not waste anything. That included shoes. Wearing out shoes by wearing them in the summertime was needlessly wasteful.

I know y’all will understand if I am a little lazy as I write this blessed blurb during this Labor Day weekend. I think I have a pretty good excuse for laying aside every possible activity that might be construed as work. Especially on Labor Day. I am now an old geezer who has worked for a long, long time. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have always loved my work.

Honestly, I think that I have erred on the side of being a workaholic. For more than 50 years I have been a minister and I could never slow down. I was never happier than when I was doing the work of my vocation. I know now that I should have taken off more time to relax. So, in this column, I am indulging my idle mind.