Sunday, May 31, 2009


Rudy Kalis (the sports man on channel 4) spoke yesterday at the Wayne Reed Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. His topic was "Leaving a Legacy." In describing his immigrant father and the legacy he left, Kalis said that now that he was in his 60's, he had been thinking about what he himself was leaving for his children and grandchildren. Kalis is a German immigrant, a poor scholar in school, a stutterer who hated making speeches, who now is a veteran broadcaster famous for his coverage of Tennessee sports.

After the kids spent the night on Friday, I got to thinking what my legacy for them would be--will Sam remember only the tea parties in which his tea was thick with sugar cubes; will Ella just remember playing restaurant with me; will Maddie only remember my sitting patiently ( and proudly) while she read me five books for her summer reading journal? Or will they remember that I talked to them about how God loves them even more than I do? Or that I told them lots of stories about Brandon's, Poppy's and my lives together before they were born. Or that I had the presence of mind to save some of Brandon's old toys and books for them to play with and share? Will they remember all the people in the pictures around my home about whom I have told them like Nanny and Abubba (Ronnie and Darla, our dear friends in Abilene)? Will they remember all the books I read to them and my obsession for good books?
Will they remember the times I have pointed the beauty of God's creation to them?
I wish I could live long enough to know what I have brought to their lives--but the future will tell.

"Now I am telling the world your wonders; I'll keep at it until I'm old and gray. God, don't walk off and leave me until I get out the news of your strong right arm to this world...." Psalm 71:17
"The Message"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Anyone ever heard of John McRae? He was the Canadian poet who wrote one of the most famous poems about war, "In Flanders Fields". Flanders is a region on the coast of Europe, partly in France, partly in Belgium. Thousands of Allied soldiers are buried there. The poem was published in 1915. McRae served in both the Boer War and World War I.

His poem inspired "Poppy Day" in which artificial poppies were sold on Armistice Day for charitable causes involving servicemen and women. Remember Poppy Day? I do.

This is a good way to remember the sacrifices given by millions of our relatives and forefathers and foremothers:

"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row upon row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, and saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

One cannot read this, nor think about Memorial Day without pain--sorry about all the millions who have died in the name of agression and power. Such a sad commentary on our humanity.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The gift of music

Brandon's listing of Team Hoyt on YouTube with Sheryl singing "Redeemer" has been rolling around in my head this week. (See and call up Team Hoyt)

Team Hoyt is such a powerful story and a powerful video, how is that the addition of a hymn (albeit sung by a beautiful voice) could make the video even better? What exactly is it about music that enhances almost every endeavor? Why are Psalms filled with music, and even heaven is overflowing with it? (See Revelation) Why do our eyes fill when we hear favorite, memory-inducing music? And why do our hearts soar with a spectacular rendition of a great tune?

I don't know--music is a form of language and communication that cuts across all cultures, barriers, and ages. History is filled with songs taken into battle, sung on the firing line, and used in comfort in dungeons and prisons (See Paul and Silas). Even God and Jesus sang (See Zephaniah and Matthew). There is nothing more heart-moving and soul-stirring than listening to a body of people blending their voices together in praise of God. I saw it work again last Sunday night at Woodmont as Brandon led praise. Music is both an encouragement and a celebration.

Martin Luther said, "Next to the word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Review of a review

In a previous blog this month, I panned Dating Jesus by Susan Campbell.

I will have to admit, however, that she made the the whole book worth its cost in the last chapter called "Jesus Haunts Me, This I Know."

Some statements:

(As she reiterates the story of the woman with the issue of blood and ponders the status of gays and women in Christianity)"Her faith healed her. That is what blindsided me--she felt unworthy, but her faith healed her. That, and the notion that there's a whole army of us, regardless of our orientation, who have been made to understand that we don't fit in and aren't entirely wanted, that we are somehow unclean, unworthy....And I knew as a woman, my church did not think me quite worthy of the entirety of God's saving grace. Don't tell me that God had in mind for me a special role. We all know there's no such thing as separate, but equal."

(I dated the wrong Jesus). " The real one wouldn't have worried if I spoke out in Sunday school. He might have expected it--demanded it, even. He tended to gravitate to mouthy women who were willing to buck convention and pick up and follow him, social mores be damned. They saw in him something they saw in absolutely nothing else in their lives, and so they followed."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where have our dreams gone?

Thoughts on reading about the repair of the Hubble Telescope:

Where have all our dreams gone?

In the past, they sailed us to Plymouth Rock, walked us through the wilderness with Daniel Boone, led us down the trail with Lewis and Clark. They ran with us to California and Alaska seeking gold, floated us with Alan Shepard in that first run into space, and landed us on the moon with Neil Armstrong.

Today the space shuttle is on its last run with no plans to replace it. Have we reached and gotten weary of the last frontier? What impossible dreams do our grandchildren have to look forward to?

When did they fade--those dreams that took us to the stars? Did we lose our courage for dreaming amid the jungles of Viet Nam, in the caves of Afganistan, on the streets of Iraq?

Langston Hughes wrote, "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." I don't want that to be my legacy--I am praying for our leaders to begin to dream again--soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dating Jesus

I am reading Dating Jesus, a Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl by Susan Campbell.

I expected the read to be an ironic, sometimes amusing look at the times of my life as a girl growing up in the Church of Christ as Campbell did in small-town Missouri. Although many of her experiences ring true, reading the book has been painful, almost torturous. Although Phyllis Tickle recommends the book on the blurb, Campbell does not write nearly as well as Tickle.

Perhaps it is because she feels compelled to go into lengthy histories of fundamentalism, Title IX, feminism, etc. The book could have been written by any number of my acquaintences in the little church in which I was reared and at A. C. U. where I attended college. Many of them, as Campbell, long ago left the church. I do like some of her chapter titles--the last one is "Jesus Haunts Me, This I Know".

She does proclaim, "I still love Jesus."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

A note to my son on my 39th Mother's Day:

Dear Babe,

I am so glad you were born, and I am your mother. I remember how excited Dad and I were when we knew you were coming and the joy we felt when we first saw you. Since that day in 1969, you have been the zip in my step, the sugar in my day and the joy in my heart. There is hardly an hour in the day that I do not think and pray for you and your family. What a blessing you are to me now and you were to Dad while he lived.

As your mother, I have feet of clay and give far too much advice and not enough good modeling, but I have tried my best to help you become a sweet man of God, a lover of family, and a true and honest citizen of the world. So far, I have succeeded, thanks to God's blessings and the help of so many others. So, blessings on this day from your mother, and thank you for the gifts this day has brought.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Dawn of a New Day

Announcement was made at Otter today that Josh Graves and David Rubio would be our new ministers using a team approach to the pulpit and ministry. Otter once again is on the cutting edge of a new approach to ministry in this day's culture. Josh and David have very different approaches to preaching and have different personalities which, when blended together, will make the ministry so strong!. I predict that Otter Creek will explode in population, grace and teaching, service to others and will begin to reach out to the community in ways we have never dreamed of. I am so excited about the coming days as we try to live out the Lord's will in a new day, and a new time, letting the wind of the Holy Spirit blow over us and in us.

Please bless us God.