Tuesday, 10 February 2015 04:58

Preacher humor is not for everyone

Two old buddies were sitting on the sunny side of the courthouse square talking, spitting and whittling. They were solving the problems of the world. Lem (do people name their baby boys Lem any more?) said, "Christmas was hard this year. Rumor has it that Santa is changing his name to St. Nickeless."

Habakkuk (do folks name their baby boys Habakkuk any more?) replied, "I know it. I heard that Santa is thinking about grounding Rudolph and the reindeer. Santa has been worried for years about hunters blasting Rudolph and friends right out of the sky! With gas prices falling so fast now, he's thinking about parking the sleigh and getting a Ford truck."

Tuesday, 03 February 2015 09:02

Love is a gift, treat it properly

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and it's once again time to plant a seed or two in the hope that romance will spring forth and blossom. I am, as you know, an old romantic at heart. But I am also a realist.

I know lots of you, dear readers, believe matches are made in heaven. That may be true. However, I am one who believes y'all need to take some initiative on your own. When it comes to romance, you can't just sit around and wait for something to happen. It may be that your vision of heaven is that of a fluffy white cloud with little chubby cherubs flying around with quivers full of arrows looking to shoot people in order to start something magical.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 05:04

Trashy chic? Not on my front porch

Do you ever have a craving for something that is ever-so-slightly taboo among classy folk? Take junk food, for instance? Recently, I fell off the wagon and ate both some potato chips and some corn chips. I have been a good boy since Thanksgiving when it comes to snacking.

It has been mostly celery and carrots until now. But I watched a basketball game and well, you know, I can resist almost anything except temptation.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015 17:48

Here's why Jesus was a hillbilly

In the aftermath of Christmas, the preacher in me wants to ask one more time, "What was the point of Christmas?" The answer, "Jesus was fully human, just like you."

I like that. Christians like that. This is why historically artists have visualized Jesus as if he were of their own race, culture, ethnicity or period in time. This, despite we all know he was a first-century, Palestinian Jew. I was reminded of this when I received a humorous piece from my friend, Sue Hicks, that gave some reasons we might argue for Jesus being from one group. For example, Jesus may have been a woman because he could feed a huge crowd at a moment's notice when the cupboard was virtually bare.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 18:07

He's turning 73, and it's no secret

January 16, my birthday. I am so happy to have been born. I am also thrilled to keep having birthdays. I notice that my attitude about birthdays has changed through the years. I thought my 16th would never arrive. However, I got my license and drove on. I slid easily by my 21st when I became a legal adult. Year 30 came and was easy for me. Some dread that one because it has come to signify the time we leave young adulthood and move on.  My 40th was a bit of a downer for some reason — maybe thoughts of middle age. Age 50 was no big deal, nor age 60. Now I'm turning 73. I think it is the oddest one of all thus far.

Sometimes I rise in the morning now and think: I believe I'll drop by the Orthopedic Clinic this morning and have a cup of coffee with my friends. However, most mornings I awaken as frisky as a colt. Everything amuses me. I'm ready to get busy. I'm feeling like an adolescent. I'm a juvenile all over again. The big question is whether or not I will be a delinquent today! Most of the time I'm well-behaved.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014 10:00

Resolve to honor your 2015 IOUs

These days around the beginning of a new year are like all other times. But the ending of an old year and the beginning of a new one seems to focus our thoughts a bit more than usual. Sometimes we are glad to see an old year go. A fresh beginning gives us a chance to get things right the next time.

Most of us are glad to ring in the New Year in the hope that the new one will be better for us and those we love than the old one was. Our new year's resolutions are IOUs. They are promises written on our hearts. They are intended to bless others and they are things that we ourselves can do. And we discover that when these IOUs of the heart are paid, we, too, are blessed.

Portland, Ore., police Sgt. Bret Barnam spotted 12-year-old Devonte Hart holding a sign that read, "Free Hugs." The occasion was a demonstration related to the events in Ferguson, Mo. Officer Barnam asked Devonte if he could have one of those hugs. A photographer happened to snap a picture of the two embraced in a big hug. A big teardrop had escaped Devonte's left eye and was running down his cheek. One tear is worth a thousand words. One hug is worth ten thousand words. One feel-good story is priceless. It is worth noting that Sgt. Barnam is a white man. Young Devonte Hart is African-American. Some day, God willing, that won't be worth mentioning any more.

When we sat down for a big family and friends Thanksgiving feast recently, our daughter and hostess, Susannah, presented us each with a "Goody Bag." Before we ate our food, we learned that the goody bags she had made for us were to be given to others less fortunate than we. We were to look for persons whose holiday season might be brightened a bit by a little act of kindness.

Tuesday, 02 December 2014 17:24

Here's a metaphor that'll get your goat

Well, folks, the date was Jan. 28, 1963. Most Americans alive at the time turned on their television sets to watch The Andy Griffith Show. The title of the show that night was "The Loaded Goat." It was the first airing of that particular episode. Only God knows how many times that show has been rerun through the years.

That has been true of all the episodes of that classic, abiding piece of American cinematic literature. England had her Shakespeare, western civilization had its King James Version of the Bible, and Mt. Airy, North Carolina (upon which Mayberry is loosely based) had The Andy Griffith Show. That TV show was one of the reasons God invented television.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 10:05

My hand to God, I am not a leper!

I read that our Mecklenburg County Health Department has notified media outlets that a person is coming to town who has "some risk" of the Ebola virus. This person is coming from one of the African countries where there is an Ebola outbreak. Details are sketchy. The risk is "low" but that's about all we are told.

It raises some serious questions. What's a person supposed to do? Here's my advice. Stay calm; don't panic. Wash your hands frequently. Keep your hands away from your face as much as you can. Brush your teeth after eating. Don't kiss anyone — especially on the lips.

Monday, 17 November 2014 16:57

A season of thanks and turkey, of course

I'm making my list, checking it twice. Gonna add up what's naughty and nice. Thanksgiving Day is coming to town.

I'm thankful for the naughty pleasure of pecan pie. I call it "pe-con." You may call it "pe-can." My diet calls it "forbidden." On Thanksgiving Day I will sneak a small sliver when only God is watching and I'll say, "Thank you!" God is a merciful and forgiving God.

I'm adding to my Thanksgiving Day list of guilty pleasures for which I am thankful: friends who are willing to stretch the truth a little. They do it because they love me. I look in the mirror early in the morning and I think I look terrible. Then at 9 a.m. a friend says, "You look great." My friend is lying with a straight face, and I know it. Still, I'm thankful for it and God is an understanding and gracious God.