Thursday, June 22, 2017

Week of June 18, 2017

It's good to be back.  The funny thing about being away is the hint of perspective that's somewhat inevitable.  You've seen those Febreze commercials where the teenager thinks his room smells fine, but we see all the things everyone else smells: old food, nasty gym socks, etc.  Hopefully the smells are better, but that's one of the first things I notice when coming back home after being gone for days--that distinct smell of home.

Well it's not just that way with smell.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week of June 11, 2017

Well, things are back to normal.  And I want to thank everybody for the well-wishes, cards, and wonderfully healing meals.  I'm not often a patient.  This latest health saga has shown me, however, that the ill one never suffers alone.  Those around him or her who really love and care probably suffer the most.  So we're most thankful for your support, church family.  All is well, and the health issue is now behind us.

On to more important matters, like taking a vacation the week after my week back from surgery.  Sorry about that.  The family vacation was planned, the surgery not so much.  So it's Monday, and I'm sitting eye-level with the Atlantic Ocean.  I'm reminded of a book given me by one of my current pastor mentors called Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen.  While the beach is often a place of contemplation and relaxation, a beach vacation is different.  Sure, it's a welcomed retreat from all that's normal, but there's still much to be done in order to do nothing.  Nouwen reminds me to see the chaos and yet still find solitude.  Out of solitude comes those gifts of the Spirit we've often heard about.  But that works only if solitude is something which we carry around with us.  If God must bring order out of chaos, we should not imagine our serenity and peace has any other origin.

So I'm going to get back to my solitude amid all that is Myrtle Beach in June.  See you soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Week of May 21, 2017

There's such a build-up in the air.  Have you noticed it?  At first, I just thought the feeling was due my own stuff.  But, as I look around and take note of all life's goings-on, it seems there may be more to it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Week of May 14, 2017

I can't help wondering if all the God-talk in my day is due the nature of my circumstances, and by circumstances I mean being a pastor.  Frankly, I did not arrive in this circumstance by accident, any more so than any other person arrived in their own circumstance by accident, whatever they may be.  I can definitely recall a time in my life where an obsession with God and a ravaging, almost monomaniacal search for THE way with God ensued.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Week of May 7, 2017

Every time I encounter Shel Silverstein's poem, "The Giving Tree," I think of my mother.  And I wonder if Silverstein wasn't thinking of a mother-type in his own life when writing.  Yet it seems, if you look deeply enough, there is a parallel conversation at work.  Sure, on the surface, the boy is conversing with the tree.  Look deeper, and that conversation begins to sound like a dialogue between a simpler, playful boy and a grown man worn by the world.  The conversation becomes a dialogue with himself.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Week of April 30, 2017

I will be away this week, as I'm traveling back to my hometown to preach the homecoming services at my home church.  Honestly, this is one of those moments as a pastor that shakes one out of the routine in a major way.  As you hear me say all of the time, I grew up at Second Baptist Church.  So my week has been full of both nostalgia and contemplation.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Week of April 23, 2017

This weekend, the youth will experience a hunger awareness lock-in.  Youth love the idea of lock-ins.  We adults, unless there's something seriously gone awry in our mental stability, loath lock-ins.  A hunger awareness lock-in, however, does allow room for some payback to these pre-teen and teenage creatures.  Fasting is a major part of the experience, so youth will eat their final meal at lunch on Friday and won't eat again until lunch on Saturday.