Thursday, June 30, 2005

War of the worlds

A few months after I was born, Orson Welles scared America to death with a radio broadcast of War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.

The audience in the theater today where I sat was mesmerized by the same story. I don't usually like science fiction or scary stories, but I enjoyed this one. It is not for little kids; there are words that Welles didn't have in his book, I am sure.
But for an imaginative ride, it was fun. I think the movie does not parallel the book very much except in the chaos created by out-of-our-world beings.

One sometimes has to wonder if the great God of the universe--the Creator--stopped creating beings with our little world. The thought is too big for my little brain; perhaps that is why I don't care for science fiction. But what if?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Steamy rain

Rain started falling minutes ago. We badly need any drops that come. The street was so hot that steam immediately began to come up like steam from a teakettle. Rain is so choosy here. Yesterday it rained buckets downtown and not a drop out here.

I have been read Max's book Come Thirsty. I hadn't relized there were so many verses relating to water in the Bible. As I read it, Zoe's song All Who Are Thirsty kept running through my head. The verse he quotes from Rev.22:17 most struck me: If you are thirsty come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It's free! (Contemporary English Version) One would think that millions would be breaking their necks to get this water. Yet, we struggle along in our desert, content with saying, "I'm so thirsty", missing the free offering around us.

Father, I thank you for the rain today and the showers of blessing in my life. Help me to take bigger gulps, to drench myself, to stand under the fountain of your love.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

KO and Marilyn and sweet friends

As Brandon said today on his blog, it was so good to see K. O. and Marilyn. We go way back with both of them. Marilyn and I taught together several years at Austin Elementary. She was the penultimate third grade teacher. She is retiring, having seen as she said, "more cycles than I really wanted to see." Things do keep coming around in the teaching profession. K. O. is the new dean of the business school at McMurry University.

Sweet friends who stay in your lives are true blessings from God. When you share so many memories, the stories just keep coming. Marilyn also taught under Sam when he was principal at Austin. She was next door teacher with a family cousin Louann Flynt who now has multiple schlerosis. Both experts! In fact, the old Austin faculty with whom I taught had some outstanding teachers who made their mark in Abilene. There was no better speech pathologist than Louise Gray who trained more than her share of speech people. Great memories of lunchtime gossip, PTA programs, faculty meetings, and playing tricks on our principal Dave Jones. The faculty got it back when the chief trick-player Sam Thomas followed Dave as principal.

I don't want to go back, but it was surely fun while I was there.

Monday, June 27, 2005


When one thinks of enterainment, storytelling may be the biggest business in the world--movies, books, TV, etc.

In Matt. 13:10-17, Jesus is asked why he tells stories. He replies, "to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight." (The Message) I guess that is why TV commercials are using so many stories now,even in the short time allowed. For example, the Master Card commercials in which the final statement is
PRICELESS! And the dumb (IMHO) Geiko (sp) commercials etc.

One should never underestimate the power of a story, and we should never quit telling our children stories. Because, contrary to what most young people believe,
"Here isn't everywhere and now isn't always."

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Standing in line at the bank yesterday, I was drawn to thinking about retirement.
There were at least 15 men in line holding paychecks. By looks, most of them were day laborers, but they were having a good time looking forward to cashing their check.

As a retiree, my check is direct deposited, and I don't get the rush that comes from seeing those numbers on a piece of paper and knowing I will soon have cash in my hand. There is a satisfactory feeling in looking at your paycheck--knowing you have labored and are getting paid for it. As a retiree of the state of Texas and a member of the Social Security System, I know I will never get a substantial pay raise ( yes, there are those $2 "cost of living raises"). I will never again be in line for merit pay, nor will I ever receive a bonus. (Never did get a bonus as a teacher, anyway).

On the other hand, I do have a guaranteed check in the bank each month--more than many people in the U. S. have. My greatest lesson to learn is to spend less of it and save more.

Thank you God for your patient and loving care.

Friday, June 24, 2005


"The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller." Proverbs 11:24 (The Message)

Giving is so hard these days when every message says, "Buy me, buy me." "You can't live without me." I often wish I were wealthy so I could give away more. Then my conscience stabs and asks, " Are you giving all you can now? What makes you think it would be any different if you had more?"

I was reading about Bill and Melinda Gates in Time Magazine recently. Their fortune is estimated at 46.5 billion and, they are "now considered the greatest philantropists in history."

Their foundation focuses on issues related to health and education. They put 750 million toward global vaccination and have saved the lives of an estimated 670,000 children already. They have given 1.2 billion to educational causes as well.

That makes me want to go buy a Microsoft product. May God bless the giving of the Gates billions and the giving of our dollars and cents to the unfortunate.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Driving home last night, it was sweet to see the fireflies out in full force. It reminded me of the nights at Abilene State Park. We sat in lawn chairs watching the remains of our supper fire and basking in the glow of thousands of fireflies flickering in the branches of the trees.

Taking off of a wonderful essay by Frederick Buechner titled "A Room Called Remember", I have been thinking about the importance of remembering and how memories just jump up spontaneously--a snatch of a song, a photograph curling in the drawer, smells that remind one of home, a random conversation, etc.

For example, Sunday morning Brandon chose to include This Is My Father's World in the worship service. No one but he and I knew that the song was his father's favorite hymn. It was a sweet rememberance. There is this commercial on TV about Nexium in which an older couple sit in a room covered with flowered wallpaper which has triggered a memory in my life I can't quite get to. The musty smell of an old room covered in wallpaper lies somewhere back there--I guess it will come up soon to my consciousness, and I will be able to quit stewing over it.

Monday night at a Bible Study, Pat Ward spoke of how faithful God had been in her life despite many trials. That is one of the important reasons God gave us memory. Buechner speaks of "...a strength beyond our strength(that) pulled us through at least to this day" and a "wisdom beyond our wisdom (that) has flickered up just often enough to light us."

Thank you God for the memories of your faithfulness in our good life and for your promised care to the end.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Places of beauty

In her book Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Marva Dawn writes, "I am grateful for my heritage in the Lutheran church, because it nurtured me in an atmosphere of symbols. Even when I didn't understand anything of the sermons, I learned from the statues and stained glass windows depicting Jesus, from the altar carvings and paraments in the sanctuary of my childhood."

I made a sweeping generalization yesterday as I am prone to do--there are some churches in my fellowship which do have sanctuary symbols. Highland and Otter Creek both have crosses and banners. Otter has a small stained glass dove over the baptistery. Woodmont Hills has decorative movable items which can be changed from
time to time to meet the season or theme of the semester. I know there are others as well. These are somewhat better than the boards of my youth which reported song numbers and attendance figures.

Dawn continues by saying that her home church had 2 large stained glass windows depicting God blessing Jesus with a dove representing the Holy Spirit hovering near.
Each morning as the congregation confessed the Apostles' or Nicene Creed, she contemplated the images of the Trinity there. On her first Sunday away from home, at that point in the service, she lifted her head and "with a great gasp I realized that the front wall was empty, and it took me awhile to recover my equilibrium enough to speak the words of the creed. The stained glass windows of my home church were very useful tools for nurturing my faith. Their beauty lifted me in awe to contemplate the mystery of the Trinity."

Dawn writes, " is important that our places of worship be places of beauty, and it is especially wonderful if the beauty can be produced by members of the worshipping body. When the works of art, the banners, or other furnishings reflect the loving hands of community members, the beauty of these things reinforces the understanding that we are all importnt ministers in the the church according to our respective gifts." I have written before about honoring the artists among us---we were fortunate at Highland to have Jack and Jill Maxwell, whose chalk art hangs on the wall of the auditiorium, helping everyone to recall the Bible story on which the art is based.

For those who are saying, oh, worship is a heart worship in the New Testament--don't forget that heart worship is a sensory worship. Surely your heart worship of your spouse involves the senses? We do not know what the New Testament church looked at as they worshipped--they had no buildings. How then, can we bind what goes in our buildings in the 21st century? It is my belief that we must get over our obsession with avoiding liturgy, icons, candles, etc. and go about teaching our children symbolism and the importance of beauty in the worship of God. He is the creator of Beauty and to approach him with beige walls and beige worship is a travesty.

Power point has provided some hope in this area--an adept use of it can bring to worshippers great works of art and beautiful graphics which do aid worship.

Thank you God for small slivers of light in our bland approach to you. Help us to
look harder for ways to worship you wholly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Worship is more than words

In his book Telling Secrets Frederick Buechner tells of visiting St. Barnabas Episcopal Church "an evangelical high church." Part of the service was chanted and "I discovered that when a prayer or a psalm or a passage from the Gospels is sung, you hear it in a new way. What the chanting did was to remind me that worship is more than words...that words are not only meaning, but music, magic and power. The chanting italicized them...."

He also writes about their use of incense, "...the church was suddenly filled with Christmas. The hushed fragrance of it, the thin haze of it, seemed to say that it is not just to our minds that God seeks to make himself known (because whatever we may think, we are much more than our minds). but to our sense of touch and taste too, to our seeing and hearing and smelling the air."

I am thankful that more than ever before contemporary Christian music is singing the words of the Psalms and the Gospels. A Dominican nun once said, "When you pray, you walk to God; when you sing, you run to God." We have begun to run.

My fellowship has been very slow to acknowledge that the human being learns other ways than rationally, logically, academically. We have very little in our buildings or in our services that meet the soul by touch, taste (except communion) or smell.
Indeed, we don't even touch each other in fellowship, while other churches "pass the peace." In our stripped-down buildings there are not even baptismal paintings any more. Just beige here, beige there.

More about this later.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The remains of the day

I didn't like the movie/novel very much, but I do love the title--The Remains of the Day.

Today I am sorting through the remains of yesterday--picking up stuff, throwing away the Sunday paper and remembering little tidbits from yesterday:

The six of us sitting around a table with a yellow umbrella on the patio of Mere Bulls. Sheryl, already shrunk from pregnancy, looking so pretty; Maddie, who was in a particularly joyful mood; Ella, her typically bouyant self; Brandon, the FATHER of THREE children; Baby Sam, sleeping; and me.

Ella and Maddie are so different--Maddie can practically faint on seeing a fly or any other bug. Ella just says "Shoo Fly." I tried to teach Maddie the song "Shoo Fly" for the next time she is buzzed. Maddie can rejoice in the smallest things. A butterfly landed on the waiter's back, and she had to tell the world. We should all rejoice in small things!

The weather was wonderful, a slight breeze was blowing, and the eggs Benedict were very good with fried green tomatoes and a mimosa. Can you get any more Southern than that?

Father, thank you for the remains of sweet days.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Watching Brandon

I love watching my son father. He has so many qualities that make a good father:

He delights in his children--his shining eyes and exuberant laughter envelope them in love.

He talks to them about God freely, emotionally and naturally so that Maddie and Ella (Baby Sam is a little too young yet) sing and talk about God too. Prayer time at night is sacred time.

He plays with them with great enjoyment whether it is sitting in the kiddy pool with them or circling in Ring Around the Rosy--it's all fun.

He is warm, affectionate and always excited to see and be with his girls and Sam, as they are with him. I have watched the girls at the door waiting for him quivering with anticipation.

He is a positive encourager. I am never with them that I don't hear him say how pretty and sweet his girls are, and how much he treasures them.

He loves telling them stories about their Poppy--the grandfather they will never see on this earth, but who was a father much like theirs.

He sets aside time just for the girls and is very careful to carve out those hours that are so precious to them.

He is stern when needed, but always precedes punishment with explanation and follows it with hugs and kisses.

He loves reading books to Maddie and Ella and delights when they can read them back.

Thank you God for modeling love for us and for blessing Brandon with three healthy, wonderful children who love him and you.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

BA Biblioholics Anonymous

Hello, my name is Judy. I am a biblioholic. Putting me in a bookstore is akin to putting a chocolate lover in the Ghirardelli factory or a bank robber in an open bank vault.

Having access to three great bookstores after having none in Abilene has just about driven me over the edge. With Davis-Kidd, Borders and Barnes and Noble all within driving distance, I am in heaven.

Yesterday I drove to Cool Springs and visited Borders and Barnes and Noble. I had been in a Borders store only once before. Walking in through the coffee shop, I just had to stop for a latte with whipped creme on top. With that I got a coupon for 50% off the next drink and 30% off the next book I buy. So of course, I have to go back. I like the way the store is laid out--things seem much more accessible than in B&N. Well-labeled, neatly arranged, and guaranteed to lure the buyer in. They had a sale of buy two trade paperbacks and get one free. (I did not succumb.) I was looking for a cd for Brandon but got waylaid by the display of books on Tennesse history.

I generally go first to the religious section (Davis-Kidd beats them all), and then to children's books, and wind up at the books about writing. I always have to stop at the mystery section. AND browse in the new fiction and non-fiction section. I never make it to science or sports.

Barnes and Noble has a membership card which gives one 10% off of every book and that makes them inviting. So all three have reasons to visit.

I guess I had better find a chapter of BA here--but several books clubs are beckoning; so I will belly up to the bar and give in.

Thank you God for the sweet pleasure of reading your Word and other books. Psalm 119 says it all.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Words, words, words

In the musical My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle gets so put out at her suitor that she sings, "Words, words, that all you blighters can do?"

Ruminating on Mike's words yesterday about church of Christ, rather than Church of Christ (that some are still writing the name with a small case c), I had to think to myself, Who cares? Who cares when they see the name of the church with a small c?
Only English teachers, I guess, who wonder what kind of education those people have.

There was a time in Hamlin during the thousandth split when a group moved to the other side of the tracks into a house and put up a huge sign out front that said
THE CHURCH. Now that's in your face! But again, who cares? This striving at dotting i's and crossing t's is getting on my last nerve. At the risk of being disfellowshipped by some, I believe that God doesn't sanction the restoration of the early church in the way we have done it. He must be shaking his head as we go all over the New Testament looking for things to implement "exactly as they did it."
Would that we had chosen to implement the church in Acts 2:42-47. Wonderful words there.

In his book Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner writes, "Words wear thin after a while, especially religious words. We have spoken and listened to them so often that after a while we hardly even hear them anymore." Perhaps we need to do as Buechner proposed, "make poetry out of prose" so the words and the quest have more meaning and power.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Front Porch and patio

If you have shade, these are nice days for sitting on the front porch or patio and listening to evening sounds, feeling the cool breeze and just talking.

When we were growing up, toward the end of the afternoon after all the chores were done and supper was in the oven, my mom would go next door to the Warnells--a single woman Sue and her mother lived there. They would sit on the front porch and talk about the day, what was happening on radio soap operas, what the neighbors were doing, and the state of the world. We kids would sit and listen as long as we could stand it, go run and play, and then come back and listen some more. (After all, something juicy might be said.)

It was a lazy time in a long, hard day of work for my mom, and I know she enjoyed the respite. We came to know more about the Warnell relatives than we really wanted to know.

After we moved to another house Sue and her mother would visit occasionally and the same scene would play.

Someone has written a book about the demise of front porches and their haven. Air-conditioning and television brought the end. It seems to me that something important was lost when we all moved inside. I am nostalgic for the shade of that porch, for the soft voices and laughter and the community that was built there as we called out greetings to neighbors walking down the sidewalk and to kids riding their bikes down the dusty street.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Peter Pan and Michael Jackson

Peter Pan last night was a fantastic experience. The sparkle in Maddie's eyes was worth a million dollars. Cathy Rigby is amazing--at 52 flying around the auditorium, doing acrobatics, dancing like she grew up on Broadway and singing. Wow!

Now to the comparison of Michael Jackson to Peter Pan--hogwash! Jackson is a 46 year-old-man hedonist who never learned morals. Oh, he grew up--but not in the right ways. Peter is a little lost boy with no mother to tuck him in, to read him stories or to mend the holes in his pockets. Jackson is a billionaire who manipulates his staff, sucks attention out of every event, and seems to have a problem learning from prior circumstances. I try not to believe everything written in the media, but anyone with two eyes can see that this man has bigger problems than never growing up. Hopefully no child will ever visit his Neverland again, although there were mothers interviewed on TV yesterday who said they would allow their children to go there. Who's the bizzare one here? James Barrie is probably turning over in his grave.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Peter Pan and Blue Bell

This is a red-letter day for us. We are taking Maddie and Ella to see Peter Pan at TPAC tonight. Maddie is obsessed with PP--she has seen the movie at least 1,000 times and is in love with TinkerBell. Cathy Rigby is starring. The paper said she is now 52 years old--unbelievable. She will be flying above our heads tonight.

Also today is the debut of Blue Bell ice cream in Nashville. For all transplanted Texans the answer to their prayers. There is truly a difference even if Purity fans don't think so. Yum, Blue Bell Fresh Peach in June. Lee Ann Womack, the country star, was quoted as saying that she had bought a house in Texas, but she was going to sell it, because she did not need it now that Blue Bell is here.

Father, thank you for the small pleasures of life. Will there be Blue Bell in heaven?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Kool-Aid and Jesus

A recent Southern Living magazine (May, 2005) cites that the South consumes more Kool-Aid per capita than any other part of the country. The author attributes it to Vacation Bible School.

Who can ever forget those summer days of stories, songs, cookies and Kool-Aid? Nowadays VBS always has a theme. I don't remember that growing up--I do remember the end of the morning when we were all let out to grab refreshments--always cookies (chocolate chip) and Kool-Aid. I remember my mother baking cookies and taking her turn in the kitchen mixing Kool-Aid for the hordes who attended.

There was always arts and crafts time too. We looked forward to it. What I most enjoyed was that Van Goghs were not required. Any child could make the day's craft and be rewarded for it. My mother kept the required hand mold in plaster for years. We did sand pictures when studying the House On the Rock--talk about a mess. Somewhat akin to an art lesson using glitter.

I know that volunteers get tired of doing VBS year after year; however, I think it is one of the stellar things we do in church--our memories tell us so.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The food we eat

I am still fascinated by the difference in the food culture here and in Texas. In the book I previously mentioned Being Dead is No Excuse, the authors list the top ten funeral foods with Tomato Aspic as #1 on the list. One would never catch a Texan eating or making Tomato Aspic.

When I married, Sam's Aunt Maude gave us a deviled egg plate with cute little holes for those eggs. A woman of the South, she knew, I guess, that deviled eggs were very desirable for funerals. Except in the South, they call them stuffed eggs.

Of course fried chicken would make the list in both Texas and the South. The younger generation has been known to visit Uncle Harlan's for the chicken rather than drag out the frying pan and oil as they do here.

I am finding grits easier to find here than in Texas. They are generally served with all breakfasts as Texans do hash browns. That suits me; I like grits so much better.

Another unusual quirk is that folks here enjoy making pies and cakes with Twinkies. I haven't been served one yet, but Brandon has told me about them. Yuck--I will have to plead diabetes if that every occurs.

Then there is always the pork vs. beef barbeque argument. I will take beef anyday.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The things we leave behind

Of course the story is true about our not taking anything with us when we depart this life, but we do leave things behind.

On the little country road leading to my house (Pettus Road) someday long ago somebody planted holly hocks and golden day lilies. They are now in full bloom, filling a ditch with their beauty and scent. The holly hock is such an unusual flower--so tall and elegant. It can carry many blooms and never bend. This particular stand of flowers graduate from white to pink to a faint lavender. The day lilies proclaim joy with their color and form like golden trumpets playing

Thanks to the gardener who left this lovely patch of beauty.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Wild Things

Today is the 77th birthday of Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are. Wild Things sent a bang throughout children's lit circles when it first appeared in 1963 because "monsters" were not included in children's books at the time. His wild things seem very tame now--but librarians thought they were bad for children when the book appeared.

Of course, children ate the book up. Sendak really never topped his classic, although I do like Chicken Soup with Rice. I also enjoyed (perversly) teaching In the Night Kitchen because the little baker with his private part hanging out always shocked my students. Sendak became more and more interested in the theater as he aged. I think he has not written a good children's book in some time.

Thank you Mr. Sendak for a wild rumpus and the warm supper waiting afterwards.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Being Dead is No Excuse

A new book that is taking Nashville by storm--#2 bestseller after McCullough's 1776--is Being Dead is No Excuse; The official Southern Ladies' Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays. Although focused on the Mississippi Delta, universal Southern applications can be made.

Not only is the commentary side-splitting funny, but the recipes are delicious-looking too. Some of the chapter titles include Dying Tastefully in the Mississippi Delta (with salient comments on cemeteries) The Methodist Ladies vs the Episcopal Ladies ( Methodists--casseroles; Episcopalians--everything from scratch) Comfort Foods: There is a Balm in Campbell's Soup (Nothing is much good without mushroom or tomato soup), and The Restorative Cocktail ("Delta funerals don't end the minute the last Amen is uttered. We stand around in the cemetery visiting so long that somebody once threatened to put up a margarita stand.")

Fun reading and eating.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Coming and going

Sam came Monday, June 6; my friend Moses Osborne left this life Tuesday, June 7. We gain one; we lose one.

Moses and I were English majors together in the heydays of Dr. James Culp at ACU. He was one year behind me. A keen intellect and a quick wit helped him become a campus leader all of his ACU life. He was universally loved as long as he lived.

Moses came back to Abilene after he retired from high school teaching, and we got to teach together for a while at ACU. He was a bright light in my life, and I shall miss him until I see him again.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The wonder of it all

I do not know how anyone who has been pregnant or watched a pregnancy can say there is no God. To me, it is the most certain proof that God exists and has not given up on us.

I just can't get out of my mind the line from James Weldon Johnson's poem The Creation which says that God creates humans like a "Mammy bending over her baby." What a picture of a loving God. And Wordsworth's "Children come from God trailing clouds of glory." So true--one only has to look at them to agree. It is one of life's most delicious mysteries.

SST is so well-formed, and I love his peach-colored fuzz. Forgive the babblings of a grandmother newly amazed!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Samuel Scott Thomas

Thank you God for Samuel Scott Thomas on this his birthday, June 6, 2005. He came very easily, weighed in at 8 lb. 10 3/4 oz. He looks very much like Maddie with peach-colored fuzz and has Brandon's nose. (It is the Brandon nose, as anyone who looks at his Nonnie and his Uncle Mike can attest).

We are so relieved and happy to welcome him and pray that God's name will always be praised through him. I know that God has a special purpose for him, just as God had one for his father and his namesake grandfather.

Nonnie loves you S.S.T.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mr. Fry

In the halycon days of the 50's when students at my high school could leave the campus for lunch, a primary destination was Mr. Fry's Hamburgers (I don't really recall the actual name of the place--we just called it Mr. Fry's).

We would walk the three blocks to downtown savoring the taste of his burgers all the way. His little shotgun shop was next door to the shoe and boot shop which had its own wonderful smell. You could get the most luscious burger and a Coke in a glass for 50 cents. The burgers were put on buns which had been buttered and browned on the grill so that the edges were crisp and the middles were still buttery. The tomatoes were always huge, and real, and did not taste like cardboard like some do today. Fresh lettuce completed the deal with all the catsup, mustard or mayo you wanted to apply yourself. I don't remember any French fries attached, probably because the burgers were so good.

Long before McDonalds or Wendy's, Mr. Fry gave us the model for a real burger and added cholesterol to our young bodies before anyone knew what that was. Thank you, Mr. Fry--I can still taste your burgers in my memory.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Women of faith

Throughout history, women of faith have molded the course of life through wars, crusades, church councils, church fights, quiet evenings in the garden, sitting in rocking chairs with their children, etc. I know one woman at the Highland Church in Abilene who single-handedly changed the thinking about the Holy Spirit in the congregation and eldership.

If someone asked you to participate in a poll asking the question "Who is the most influential woman in the spiritual/religious life of the 20th-21st centuries?" what would you answer? Taking Mother Teresa out (I know she would be one of the first to mind), who would it be?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Telling your story

"In America, people matter and everybody's got a story," says Dave Isay creator of a project called StoryCorps. The project will tour 24 cities gathering memories from young, old, all ethnic groups, etc. A copy of the CD recorded will be given to the story-teller and one will go into the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress where it will become part of a digital archive. More info at

You don't have to wait for the StoryCorps--you can write your own story. Your life has a plot. Frederick Buechner has written, "words are so much a part of what we keep the past alive by...." If you don't tell your story--who will? Only you know the words and the sounds of your life. Years from now, your grandchildren will wonder about your journey, about the thousands of big and small details of your life, about the dogs you had, the candy you liked to eat, how you met your spouse, about the many times God intervened to bless you or lead you down another road.

God forbid that all we leave our children is the history of wars.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Christian fiction

Zondervan has just given Karen Kingsbury a seven-figure advance for nine books of Christian fiction. Maybe I need to stop blogging and get to writing fiction. Nope, don't do that well. I don't even like Christian fiction, or for that matter, mainstream fiction any more.

It is good to hear that religious books are the publishing industry's hottest sellers today. Kingsbury's most recent book sold 170,000 copies. Wow! Last year customers spent 3.76 billion dollars for books like Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, LaHaye's Glorious Appearing and Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now. Mere Christianity also made the list of best-sellers in 2004. Not much meat there besides Lewis, but I am glad readers are being drawn to religious topics.