Thursday, June 24, 2010

catching up…

Haven’t posted in, well, a long time. Its tough keeping up with one more activity, especially one that is personal, as writing is. All the other activities of life, those that especially involve being with other people, crowd out the importance of this activity.

Wow. That sentence sucked. But I hope you got the idea.

Part of my problem in staying regular on this blog is that its electronic. Meaning there are no hard copies. At least the original is not a hard copy. Soooo, in my mind, its not nearly as important as other areas of my life.

I have a real sense of rebellion going on in my heart/mind/soul regarding computers, the internet, etc. I keep remembering what life was like before all the technology, and, old man that I am, I wax nostalgic. I remember as a kid watching Star Trek, entering the Communications program in college and working at the local radio and television stations just as the new “digital” technology of Compact Disks came out, and even getting a beeper when my wife was pregnant with our first child. I dreamed about tech and desired more at every stage of my life. Now, at 43 years old, dealing with high blood pressure, a dangerous waistline, the impending threat of being an empty nester (both of my boys will be in college by the time I am 48) and the demands of full time ministry in the information age…. I long for the ability to be truly alone.

I’ve had a phone call and three texts just while typing the previous paragraphs!

And I know that a failure to post regularly totally destroys any “following” this blog may one day have. So pray for me that I do better. Writing is cathartic, and I need a more open heart.

I have another post that I am mulling around, will hopefully post it later today or tomorrow. It’s about anger, whining, and laziness. Its the feel-good post of the year!

Hope someone read this. If you did, please comment (even anonymously), even if your comment is just “I read this.”

THAT (having someone I know is reading) would be a great spark to getting me in front of the typewri… computer keyboard more often.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Marriage Question…. finally answered.

Been a long time since I posted. Have several written, but have yet to hit the publish button on Live Writer.

So to start, I thought my first post should be a response to the ONE question I received from my last post, asking for any questions regarding marriage.  The question was posted Anonymously on March 14…. so I’m a bit late answering it!

Here is the Question:

“What do you suggest to couples who share similar ideals and morals, and over all have a good relationship but lack many similarities when it comes to recreational activities?”


Well, The quick, short answer is the hardest one to take:

Work at it.

The fact is, EVERY marriage has this problem to an extent. You see, Men and Women are very, very different. Even when we enjoy the same things, we usually enjoy them for different reasons.

So each person in the marriage has to make concerted efforts to become interested in the others interests.

In my marriage this has proven to be tough, but possible. And its even resulted in some pleasant surprises. Though my wife Patty has never acquired an appreciation for comic books, action movies or sci-fi/fantasy stories, she has bravely tried, and on occasion found some of the stories I love to be to her liking.

In the first year of our marriage she came to me and said she would like to read one of the books I had read. At the time I was reading approximately 10-15 detective novels per month. Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, and the modern master, Robert B. Parker. I gave her my copy of Parker’s “The Godwulf Manuscript” his first published novel, and the beginning of the Spenser series (I ended up reading the first 25 novels in the series). She read it in a week and actually liked it. We  had something to talk about and had a period of time where we watched detective shows and movies together.


On other occasions I have “learned” to like the movies Patty likes and try to regularly go to the movies with her to see “chick flicks”.


And guys, I make no apologies for learning to like my wife’s movies, even the musicals. Does wonders for the “you don’t understand me” issues in a marriage.

Just two examples from my personal life…. hope they help illustrate the principle. You have to try to find common ground. It might mean giving up something you enjoy to have the time to do something you both enjoy. Its not easy, but Marriage is never easy… but it is worth it.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Snow Closings and Couples Class

I’m actually sitting at my drawing table writing this, working on a project that is coming up on a year overdue!

Looking out the window in my office, all I see is white! we have had about 28” of snow so far, and the weather services are calling for anywhere from 4 to 8” more before the evening is over.

We currently have a snow drift of about 6’ between our house and garage. The boys and their cousin Jamie have been out several times today. My sister and her son are staying with us through the blizzard, her husband drives a snow plow for the county. I have not been outside. Don’t plan on it until tomorrow when the wind dies down.

100_1643Snow drifting off my roof, 1:00 Saturday Afternoon 

Sooo…. I made the call to cancel services tomorrow. Hate to do it, but I don’t see Creswell Rd. being cleared in time.

If you are one of those who were looking forward to our couples class, don’t fear. Patty and I have decided to push the whole series back one week, so no one will miss anything.

Gentlemen, Remember that next Sunday is Valentines Day. That means Saturday you should have already gotten the flowers, candy or…other presents… ready so you can treat your wife like the lady she is. Don’t fail on this one! Especially if you are fighting! NO better way to patch things up than to swallow your pride, give her a gift and declare yourself wrong (even if your not… go read First Corinthians 6:7b… if that's how we treat those hurting us, why don’t we do it for the ones we love?) Besides, making up is a lot more fun than fighting… and its better for your health.


So here is the tricky part….

Patty and I want to take part of our last class (which will now be held the first Sunday in March) and answer questions you may have about marriage. There will be a box in the back of the auditorium, but since we are missing a week, I thought I would open up the questioning on the blog.


Leave a comment to this post, and ask your question for our couples class. If its an embarrassing question, leave it anyway and mark it “anonymous” when you leave your signature. Even I cannot tell who its from if you leave it in this way. I want you to feel like you can be totally honest, so please leave your questions here. I will do my best to copy and delete them as soon as they are posted, and answer all the questions during the last couples class.

In the meantime, have a happy snow day. Make some soup. Read your Bible. Stay warm.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Today my Dad turns 65. My kids called him early this morning and woke him up to sing happy birthday on the speakerphone (a tradition they inherited from my Mom who calls everyone on their birthday and sings – as terribly as she can). Its just after 2 in the afternoon and He just left after bringing over a small sofa for Luke’s room. Dad and Mom average a new sofa or recliner combo every 16 months, so we end up with a lot of their brand new “old” furniture!

I started thinking about Dad and his life while chopping wood earlier this morning. He is now officially retirement age. At least for his generation. My Social Security retirement age is 72! He has slowed down a bit, but not much. He still can outwork any two men half his age when the mood hits him.

But I’m guessing most who read this don’t know much about my Dad, especially the more interesting facts. So here is my list of the top ten interesting facts about my Dad, in no particular order:

  • He was born in a log cabin – seriously, he was.
  • He was born in the attic loft of a log cabin with snow coming through the rafters.
  • He never knew his dad. Something that made a lasting impression on me, because I got to see my Dad growing up more than most kids do. He was determined to be a good father and did the best he could – which was pretty good.
  • Once during his rebellious youth he got jumped by some guys and they hit him with a 2x4. He woke up in the morgue.
  • He shoots rifles and shotguns left handed but handguns and bows right-handed.
  • He had his last drink of alcohol on June 10, 1971 and NEVER had another. No meetings, no self-help crap, he just made a promise to God and kept it.
  • He thinks the Three Stooges are the funniest movies ever made- and he’s right.
  • He first saw my mom on the elevator at the old BATA Shoe company and told the guy with him he was going to marry that girl. Less than a year later he did.
  • He drove tanks in the army.
  • He never went to Vietnam because mom was pregnant with me at the time and he got stomach ulcers thinking about leaving the two of us behind. He had gotten his papers to return to service but then the army rejected him because of the ulcers and never drafted him back into service.

Mom Dad and Me 1967

This list may embarrass him, but shoot, I’ve made a life out of embarrassing people, especially relatives. But please, if you know him, don’t ask him about this stuff. He’d rather hear about  your life or tell you about his grandsons.

The point is, I love my Dad terribly. That may seem an odd choice of words but let me explain.

In the Bible God is referred to often as “terrible”

Psalm 68:35…O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.

The word terrible there in the Hebrew means to morally revere. It is possible to love something that is terrible in power and might. God certainly is. And in his own way, so is my Dad. He brought me up with a healthy mixture of love and fear. I always have known and always will know that Dad loves me. But growing up I had a dire, mortal fear of him as well. And I am glad for it. It taught this rebellious little boy to respect power and to keep myself in place, not to think of myself as being better than others. Dad gave me the tools, through his love and fear, to deal with people and to carry myself as a man. I only hope I can do the same for both of my boys.

Happy Birthday Dad, I love you.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Starting up… again.

This will be the third time I have tried to get this blog off the ground. Both previous attempts were miserable failures due to my inability to keep posting.

Writing is a strange activity. Especially for a pastor. In order to be relevant (and I hate that term), true to yourself, and create a connection with your audience, the writer must be, above all things, honest.

I have a problem with that.

I know, you're thinking, “but you are a pastor, you preach ‘thou shalt not lie’, how can honesty be a problem if you are in YOUR profession?” Its not that I have a habitual lying problem (though I probably do- honestly, who doesn't?), its more about HOW honest I want to be.

You see, I am still a pastor. Currently. So any illustrations from my life have to be either changed to unrecognizable when in print or I need to use no personal illustrations at all. Because to be honest, what I want to write about, will get me into trouble. Trouble with loved ones. Trouble with church members. Trouble with other pastors.

My solution? With this re-launch of the blog my promise to  you is that I will be honest with everything I publish. But names will be changed to protect the innocent. And situations will be fabricated occasionally so that no one sees themselves in a story. But the underlying truth of what I write will be open and honest.

The reason for my disclaimer? Recently I have found myself increasingly irritated by many things. A short list would be, in order: the current culture in our country, the lack of a Biblical world-view among Christians, the hostility in society that seems to be normal and expected. And that is just the start.

The irritation is something I struggle with, because I know it’s not a Christ-like attitude. I don’t want to be irritated by other peoples attitudes and actions, I want to be moved with compassion on them. I pray about this, that Christ would give me a softer heart. But my personality (excessively macho) and my life experiences make it hard for me to believe that I can be helped by God.

There might be your first shocker. A dirty little secret those in my circle never admit to. Pastor’s struggle with having faith to trust God in certain circumstances. We never admit to this because it is a chink in our armor, it reveals us as human, frail, imperfect.

So pray for me about that. Pray that God would soften my heart towards the failures, frailties and outright atrocities people, especially Christians exhibit today. Pray that God restores that “Pastor’s Heart” that they told us about in Bible College.

I have a lot more to say, but I’m going to shoot for 500- 600 words or so on each post.

One more thing… and I’ll write more about this in later posts. You will notice on the side column a picture of myself with my wife Patty. I also have two boys, Luke (14) and Ben (13). I will exempt them from most of my posts except when I want to brag on them. Writers’ privilege means I get to get mushy about my wife when the mood hits (and I’ll warn you that it hits often) and I also get to extol the virtues (strengths) of my boys from time to time.

I will do my best (for it is a new years resolution) to post here often, but only when I have something important to say.

Oh, and finally… Beware my sometimes dry, usually strange sense of humor. Did anyone get the joke about honesty? I didn’t think so. There are a lot of things that are funny only to me.

I pray that as you read this blog, you will be encouraged that we pastors go through the same (and some greater) problems that you do. I also pray that as you read these posts, you keep praying for me.