Monthly Archives: March 2015
For six years I lived in South Carolina. I’m from Rhode Island. There are differences.
Some mornings I would spend a few minutes in a little coffee shop called The Doughnut Hole. As happens at coffee shops, there are “regulars” who gather every morning. The habit became my sitting between the same two men. To avoid blowing my cover I would try to give one-word answers with a pseudo-southern drawl or even better I would just grunt. One grunt for Yes, two grunts for No.
There came a day when one of the men said, “You don’t say much do you?” Continue reading
I’ve met people who are happy doing what they do. Commercial fisherman, IT person, sales. They found their niche and they know it.
I’ve known others who enjoy what they do but they aren’t sure if they should be doing something else. It’s not that they don’t like their jobs, they do, but they wonder if they would enjoy another job more.
People who believe in God have an added dilemma. Whether they like their job or not they wonder if they are doing what God wants them to do. I have not found an easy way through this problem. Continue reading
Following Christ makes perfectly good sense to me. His teachings hang together and speak to my deepest needs and questions. But I admit that Mr. Spock would find his logic challenging.
When Jesus says things like, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 14:26) and “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24) one can get mental angina.
Christian pastor and author A. W. Tozer once wrote a remarkable little article entitled “That Incredible Christian” that further illustrates the dilemma. He says of the Christian: Continue reading
On March 18, 2015 the church consultant Rev. Lyle E. Schaller passed away at age 91 of heart failure. During his lifetime he published 55 books and edited 41 more and visited an estimated 6,000 churches across the country.
I felt some sadness upon hearing the news. I remember in the 1980’s reading his little paperback, The Small Church is Different. Having grown up in a small church hearing about the successes of big churches I knew it was easy to compare the two and conclude the former could not be as effective as the latter without becoming the latter. Schaller’s was a voice of reason and assurance.
Something I did not know about Schaller was reported in his obituary in the New York Times. It had to do with his attire. The Times reports, Continue reading
I don’t raise chickens but two of my neighbors do. This means it’s not unusual in the summer, when the windows are open, to hear roosters crowing first thing in the morning. Such noise might bother some people but I like it.
The crowing of a rooster has positive connotations in western culture. It’s synonymous with being on a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, the beginning of the day, a new start. Continue reading
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to anticipate someone’s reaction to loss. On more than one occasion I’ve been surprised.
I’ve seen people lose loved ones and I worried about what they would do. They were so close and the loss so great that I wondered how they would ever recover. But months later they were doing remarkably well. Continue reading
If you keep up with all things technological, you’ve come across the term “deep reading.” As you might expect, it’s the opposite of “speed reading.” When deep reading you don’t skim the book, you mull over every word, phrase, and sentence.
Those who study such things tell us deep reading is going the way of the Stegosaurus. The default of online reading is in a pattern similar to the letter F. You read the first line all the way through and about half of the second line and, depending on the piece, you’re done. Reading has become one more thing learned in the first grade I’m not doing right. Continue reading
All I could see were his legs. His upper half was under the raised hood of his pickup truck. I walked over to see if I could help.
“Anything I can do?”
“Having one of those days?”
“No, having one of those lives.” Continue reading
Growing up in church in the 1950’s-60’s and pastoring a church in the 2010’s is a comparison of apples to oranges. I know, I’ve done both in the same church. I minister to people who ministered to me.
Back in the “good old days” things were, well, simple. We had one version of the Bible, the “good old” King James. That was it. All the pastor took to the pulpit with him was his Bible. He spoke and we listened (well, most of us; someone once defined preaching as “the fine art of talking in someone else’s sleep!”).
But that was then. This is now. Continue reading
The principle is simple. The verse easy to remember. Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” The Contemporary English Version puts it, “A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.”
The passage speaks directly to the two ways most people handle anger.
When asked, “What’s wrong?” Some people snap, “Nothing!” These folks need to learn “A soft answer turns away wrath.” They need to give an answer, an explanation. “Nothing” is simply not true.
Other folks yell, “What’s wrong? You want to know what’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong!” These folks need to learn “harsh words stir them up.” Slow your roll. The problem is not with my hearing. Continue reading