Friday, April 30, 2010

70 years

Back in February I posted this clip from the movie "Up" shows the life cycle of Carl and Ellie's marriage. I thought it beautiful!

This commercial comes from the UK and is similar, using "real" actors instead of animated ones and showing a woman from birth to 70...

While some may find it too sentimental, I take it as a reminder that our time on this earth is brief...we must do what we can, when we can and treasure it all!

PS: It doesn't hurt that I love the song!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teach them well...

Cartoon by Asbo Jesus

We are charged by God to raise whatever children come into our lives. He demands that we teach them according to the truths we know...even if we are still in the midst of the search. Unfortunately children do not just learn our truths, they also learn our faults and failures. As scary as this all sounds, we can have confidence that if our hearts are filled with love and our mouths are filled with God's truth, He can fill in the blanks. We are called to be the parents but He is Father to us all.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anonymity in Cyberspace

"As any student of Sociology 101 can tell you, when people don't have to account for what they say or do, they will often say and do things that would shock their better selves."

Having spent a little time reviewing comments on articles I find interesting I can attest to the fact that this section can become a very dark and ugly place. Without personal responsibility, one can speak one's mind without fear of reprisals. And without fear of those you know finding out what you really think...take a moment to read Mr. Pitts article.

While the ability to debate is one of our most cherished freedoms, it should never happen in a place where no one knows who they are talking to or about. With freedom comes responsibility, you cannot have one without the other.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A life of Gray

When we are born, we are naturally equipped to experience a wide range of emotions. Many are uncomfortable confronting those emotions which cost us...delight because something bad is bound to happen, despair because, for the moment, it seems to be a pit where we'll remain forever. We don't allow ourselves to experience and enjoy the colors of life...we live in a world of gray.

For many of us, it is easier to suppress our emotions than to deal with them head on. We numb our hearts so they cannot be broken. We turn to other "pleasures"...alcohol, drugs, food, sugar, shopping. It is quite normal to seek distractions as a coping mechanism but eventually we must confront them in order to find peace and resolution.

Simon and Garfunkel had a hit song that touched on hiding from the pain of our emotions...

When we do all in our power to feel less, are we less alive? Emotions add depth to our lives. In order to taste the rich flavors of life, we must allow ourselves to spend time "in the valley". Only by allowing ourselves to experience the entire spectrum of emotion, can we taste, see, touch and feel truly alive.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Warning signs...

"Life is overflowing with injustice, yes, but life itself is not unjust. We historians don't study the past because we're afraid of the future; we do so because the past tells us the future. It's a warning siren to what will happen if we repeat the past."
Dr. Burke in "The Bell Messenger" by
Robert Cornuke

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Barbie? Ordained?

I would say now I've seen it all but...that wouldn't be true! It's just one of those things that makes you stop and say...I never thought of that one!

Barbie has had a myriad of careers over her lifetime (50+ years)...after reading the article here, I thought, why not?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thomas Merton

"Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul." Thomas Merton

I only discovered his writings in the last couple of years. He was a distinct yet ordinary man. He was distinct because of his faith and his approach to God. He was ordinary (at least in the eyes of the world) because of his love of and need to be a part of nature.

I have noticed something similar in my own life. The days can become a burden, they weigh me down...physically, mentally, spiritually. If I can spend but a few minutes in the arms of nature...walking through the trees, sitting at the side of our pond, lying on the grass with grandson watching the clouds, I am refreshed. My soul sings and my heart is full. God knows what we need and has provided it right outside our front door.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I have often pondered the meaning of the Sabbath and how far I should go in making it a "day of rest". As Youth Director for our local church, I do have responsibilities for the day. We have a regularly scheduled Youth meeting at 5pm on most Sunday's (except for the first Sunday when we take Communion to the shut in members). And I don't know about the rest of you but texting is by far the best way to get the attention of my youth! But notice I said, a "regularly scheduled" meeting. There have been a few (VERY FEW) occasions that I have had to cancel at the last minute but that is a rare occurrence. One text, in the event of an emergency, but that's it!

So how about a "Digital Sabbath". When I read the title of the article I thought, "Oh my, now someone has figured out a way to use cellphone, facebook, twitter, etc. during worship!" Boy was I wrong.

Read this article and see what you think. A Sabbath away from technology, what a concept! This is something I may have to include in my life.

While I have a few people in my life that do not have a land line, and rely solely on their cell, what if they choose to answer / make calls but not text? It may not be for everyone, but then again, it might be!

Relay for Life

What a great way for the local community to get involved with fighting cancer. It affects so many...those we know, those we love. Get out and help your local chapter!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Out of Touch's been almost a week since I've posted. That's a really long time for me.

We all have times when we just have to take a step back a catch our breath. The last few days have been that time for me. It's not that I don't like to write, and it's not that there aren't a few of you out there reading this...the batteries needed recharging.

Sometimes I stop and anybody listening? Does anyone care? Is it arrogant on my part to think what I have to say would mean anything to anyone? I realize doubt is one of our most formidable foes. For whatever reason (well, I do remember the reasons), I started this blog a couple of years ago with our Youth Group in mind. Since then I have found that it is read by more than just youth...and I thank you for it.

I read an article this morning on "The Shakers"...unfortunately in today's world they are most remembered for the furniture they build and for the song "Simple Gifts". The community is down to 3 members...but they continue on! What struck me most was a maxim from their founder Anna Lee (in 1774)..."Hands to work, hearts to God" but there is power in that statement! We could all spend time with it! If you'd like to read more about them...try here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Being from the south...and living here my entire life means I have an accent. At least those in other parts of the country (or world) think so. I cannot hear it myself but many of you would!

Having an ethnic or geographical accent is fine but it's no excuse for bad grammar! If you happen to be writing or telling a story and want to add local phrases for effect, that's fine. But when carrying on a conversation, writing a letter or e-mail, it is unacceptable.

I could list many mistakes that are regularly made in the course of a day but the one that absolutely drives me crazy is "at"...i.e. Where are you at? Grrrr...In this sentence "Where" means "At what location" are you? What's the purpose of using "at" again? Habit...a bad one at that! To say I hear this daily might be a slight exaggeration, no, really I do hear it almost daily.

Due to text messaging and e-mailing, we are rapidly loosing the ability to speak and write properly. These forms of communication are meant to convey information in the quickest way possible. Which means we are getting grammatically lazy!!! We use "u" for "you", "4" for "for", etc. While it might be acceptable in electronic messaging, in a conversation or letter, it only shows we haven't the time or don't respect the recipient enough to use proper English.

In the grand scheme of things, perhaps this is not a big deal to most. But, if we are lazy in small ways, we soon become lazy in big ways. Blogs, e-mails and the like may bounce around cyberspace forever! If someone in the future (say a grandchild) were to look over the things you have written in your life, what kind of impression will you make?

Stepping off my soapbox now!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


In October of 2009, I had a post called "Thoughts on Preaching" was taken from an article by Msgr. Charles Pope. It seems to be weighing heavily on his mind because I recently read another...and it's worth sharing (and NO, this is not aimed at you Rich!!!). As a note, items shown in italics are from the article, the rest are mine.

According to a recent survey, one of the many reasons people leave the church is poor preaching. Some of the reasons given are:
**Sermons are too short to develop Biblical or doctrinal themes. While no one wants the preacher to go on a long time if they don't really have something to say, a 10 minute sermon just doesn't cut it
(apologies to all who feel the need to be out of church by the stroke of 12 but, too bad!!).
**Preaching takes the Word and analyzes, organizes, illustrates and applies it. It's not just a time to cheer us on with a "let's do better"!
**Teaching is often lacking...the Word must be taught and applied in memorable ways.
**There are 3 essential questions: What? So what? Now what? The "what" informs but the "so what" and "now what" aim for transformation.
**Good preaching is edgy. You know the old saying, "It comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable". Even though Christ was willing to die for what He said, many of us are not willing to suffer even "raised eyebrows" in our congregations. We must be willing to speak the truth in love even when we're talking about the difficult stuff.
**Preaching needs to be enthusiastic. Being "on fire" cannot be faked.
**Preaching is not entertainment.

This article was mainly directed at preachers/priests, but they don't carry the entire burden. The sinfulness and apathy of the congregation can cause God to withdraw His Word from the leader!

On a personal note, too many of us come to worship out of habit or to be seen or entertained. These are absolutely the wrong attitudes when approaching worship. Our hearts and ears need to be open to hear what the Lord wishes to teach us. It is not just a matter of listening to the parts that we want to hear or waiting for a pat on the back. Sermons are not meant to be "warm and fuzzy" using fluffy, feel good words. They are meant to challenge us and should be studied, prayed over, meditated about and acted on!

Next time you are in church, ask yourself...Why am I here? What do I believe? And then prepare yourself say..."Speak Lord, your servant is listening".

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Saturday

The sanctuary remains bare, or at the very most, many items are taken out and the rest are covered in black cloth. Christ rests in the tomb. The apostles spent this time in mourning and in fear. What if the people did the same to them? Now that death was staring them in the face, it was scary! But they did a good thing, they remained together for comfort and protection. Not realizing that with the dawn comes the most important information any of us will ever hear!