“We have not heard the cry of the needy.”  This is a phrase in the general confession of the church that we often pray as we prepare our hearts and minds to receive and grant forgiveness.  “We have not heard the cry . . .”  This phrase took special meaning this past Sunday. A young woman, Brittany Burrows, who had just spent most of last year as a volunteer worker in an orphanage in the Congo in the central part… Read more

Despite my best efforts, a rosebush planted this spring in the backyard of the parsonage has died.  Now, when I purchased this one, it was part of a multiple purchase of roses.  Some were climbers I had bought before and knew took little care and would grow well.  Others were what are called “knock-out” roses, bred to be easy to grow and with little trouble.  Another were called “Peggy Norman” roses–so hardy that they were still blooming and thriving after… Read more

So what is it about snakes?  Actually, what is it about words that start with an “sn”?  Like sneer, snail, snark, snoop, snit, snot, snippy, snafu, snaggle, snare, snarl, sneeze, sniffles, snipe, snivel, snicker, sneak, snore, snort, snitch, sniff, and probably lots more that don’t just pop into my mind right now?  As for snakes in particular–there is one currently inhabiting the back yard of the parsonage.  I know it is going after the toads, which I want back there… Read more

A week ago on Monday, I drove to Richardson to spend a few hours with my mother.  I brought her one of her favorite meals and we sat at the kitchen table chatting and enjoying our food.  On the kitchen counter sits a small TV, and she, as is normal to her, had it tuned to an all-day news channel, but with the sound off.  At one point, I glanced at it and saw in the corner of the screen… Read more

At the beginning of this week, I received a letter from a family for whom I have great respect.  They are a family of some wealth and privilege, fairly young, healthy, with intelligent and gifted children.  The kind of family every church wants. They wrote in their letter their extreme displeasure with me as a pastor, spoke disparagingly of my character, and withdrew their membership from the church.  Much pain in my soul–grief over their departure, grief over significant misunderstandings,… Read more

“Are you calling me a liar?”  I looked at the person who spoke those words to me, and was stung–not by the words so much as by what I had just said.  It was something to the  effect of “I don’t believe you.”  By saying that, I was indeed calling that person a liar.  The starting point for me in that conversation was, “I’m suspicious of you; I’m distrustful of your words.”  Essentially, I was receiving what was said with… Read more

The air is hot and so am I.  Work in the yard and garden is restricted now to just the earliest hours of the morning, and even then, I come in drenched with sweat.  Like most other people, I’m keeping the temperature in the house much higher than I have before, but the compressor still seems to run most of the time anyway. At least it is comfortable.  I know what it is like to live in this area without… Read more

I am very tired today of being a pastor, even as much as I love this church.  I’m weary.  I’m tired of people refusing to talk with me, and hearing about things being said about me and my pastoral leadership only after the fact.  “Did you know such and such is leaving?”  “Do you know about all the controversy and unhappiness?”  Well, no, I didn’t.  Sorry. I came to this church three years ago, and found a lovely community of… Read more

I recently accompanied a friend to the Denton County Courthouse.  When we entered the courtroom, a trial was taking place.  The judge called for a 15 minute recess, warning the defense lawyer that he might want to make sure his client understood her fifth amendment rights before taking the stand. During the recess, four divorces were finalized.  Four women, each with an attorney to make sure all was done legally, saw the end of something that had been entered with… Read more

The latest fashion among child rearing experts is to bemoan the lack of free, unscheduled time among children and adolescents.  Time to daydream, create, come up with their own games, set their own rules, work out their own relational problems.  Yes, those things are important . . . but I was pondering the purpose of the break from school this summer and thinking perhaps we need to take a different lesson from history. Summer breaks were originally scheduled in the… Read more

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