Monday, August 31, 2009

Conservative or Liberal

Next Sunday Otter Creek will be entering a new phase in the work in the world with two new ministers: Josh Graves and David Rubio. In getting the congregation ready for that transition today, Lee Camp burst forth with an electrifying sermon on the theme of "Neither a Conserative, nor a Liberal Church.

Lee was passionate, direct and convicting. He invoked men and women from the past who stepped outside comfort zones like Dorothy Day and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and men from our fellowship who did the same--David Lipscomb and F. D. Syrgley. Lee encouraged the church to be neither conservative (leaving things undone that should be done), nor liberal (tolerant of too much). Stopping as he usually does on helping the poor and the weak, he went on to challenge the church to cooperate with others who were doing the work of the Lord in the world. He said that we could do that without losing any of our cherished ideals. Citing David Lipscomb's work with the Catholic nuns in plague in early Nashville, he admonished us to work with Catholics, Presbyterians, and EVEN Jews. (There has been some flack about our sharing service to the homeless with a Jewish congregation).

A download of the sermon can be found on the Otter Creek website, thanks to Phil Wilson. For a longer look at the mind of Lee C. Camp, read MERE DISCIPLESHIP, RADICAL CHRISTIANITY IN A REBELLIOUS WORLD.

I am hoping this sermon is an omen of great things to come in the future of Otter and am excited to be there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pictures, pictures!

I have spent the last few days putting photos in albums. Not my favorite job.

Along the way I have been wondering what will happen to all of them in the future? We have many VHS videos (Sam was often said to have a camcorder permanently attached to his left hand), a few DVDs, album after album of regular pictures--a few historic, but many chronicaling (sp.?) our lives together. I do not want to get rid of them in my lifetime (although I did throw away many slides when I left Abilene). I am sure Sam would have protested that.

So, wither go all the pictures--will my grandchildren want them? I do wish I had pictures of my grand parents and greatgrand parents. But again comes the question, what would I do with them?

Because theirs was an oral society, the people of God told their story over and over orally so their children would not forget what God had done for them. Perhaps all these pictures will serve that purpose too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Thing is Personal

For those of you who prefer to think of God as some white-haired Charlton Heston sitting on a golden throne directing traffic, ponder this:

This whole thing called Christianity is very personal, and above all God seeks a relationship with us.

Psalm 139:13-14: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Isaiah 43:1"But now, this is what the Lord says--he who created you...he who formed you...I have summoned you by name, you are mine."

Jeremiah 1:5 (speaking to Jeremiah) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were borm, I set you apart...."

Isaiah 49:16 "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands...."

Matthew 10:30-31 "And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Psalm 139:16 "...when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, you saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

We cannot flee from him--He guides us each moment of our lives. Praise our Creator and Lover.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The cycle

The schoolbus stops once more at the entrance to the sub-division; new backpacks glisten; bright never-washed uniforms adorn the kids--the school cycle has begun again.

My three grandchildren were excited to see a new beginning, as I always was way back when I attended Hamlin Elementary School in the 40's. I am still thrilled at the prospect of a blank, waiting composition book and brand-new pencils and pens. Put me in an office supply store this time of year and I am more than likely to come out with a bag full of new pens, legal pads, and 3x5 cards.

Our family lived the school cycle for over 30 years--my husband was an elementary teacher and principal; I was a high school and university teacher; Brandon attended Wylie Schools from grades 1-12, and then on to ACU. It was a good life full of top-notch people, much activity, and it always carried the prospect that we could make a difference in the lives of students.

I am so thankful that I live in a country where most children have the privilege of a free public education regardless of their ethnicity, finances, or gender. My dad was a carpenter who certainly could not have afforded to send his three children to a private school had there been one in our small town. So we all went happily to Hamlin schools; and in spite of our sometime reluctance to learn, occasional poor teaching, and a limited curriculum recieved a good education. I earned a bachelors's and master's degrees and three professional certifications. One brother has a bachelor's (and became a teacher) and the other began college, went to Viet Nam, came back and went to work for a local untility company making more money than his two educated siblings.

Happy school year Maddie, Sam and Ella--you have a lot to look forward to!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Doris Colvett and I took off a weekend recently to drive to Asheville, N. C. to tour the Biltmore Estate. What a drive! North Carolina is beautiful. It is amazing to me that over and over God stuns me with the beauty he created--what a generous hand he had with mountains, mist and trees in N. C. They are called the Smoky Mountains for a reason.

Ashville is a nice little town with lots to see and do. There are many historical points there, as we learned in a trolley ride through the city. And some very nice places to eat. The tops was Deerpoint at the Estate where we tried and loved chilled cantaloupe soup. Hope I can find a recipe. It has fruit, champagne and sour cream in it.

It must have been nice to be the richest man in the world and to be able to buy anything he wanted for his house--George Washington Vanderbilt did just that to the nth degree. His library was stunning and beautifully appointed.

We attended the First Baptist Church on Sunday morning because we wanted to see the inside of the church and because the c of c brethern and sistern did not see fit to advertise where they were--We did not see one single c of c in the city.

The FBC has a beautiful verdigris dome, was finished in 1889, and is gorgeously furnished with white walls and dark woods inside. Surprisingly, women were a large part of the service. One read the bible verse of the day, one led prayer, one did the children's lesson. Women also helped take the contribution. They are appointing about 16 new deacons and 8 of those are women. My, my--changed my view almost entirely of Baptist churches (However, I did not find out if this one was part of the Southern Baptist Convention--probably not. The organist played Vivaldi which was also a surprise.

We also had a very good tour of the home of Thomas Wolfe--author of You Can't Go Home Again. It is a very nice Victorian downtown in which his mother ran a boarding house.

Another beautiful building in town was the Basilica of St. Lawrence.

An area we didn't have time to touch was Biltmore Village--maybe next time. It was a great trip with beautiful scenery, a good friend, and time away.