Tribute to a Dear Friend

(These reflections were adapted from what was read at a recent celebration of life service for one of my cherished Texas friends. Regrettably, I was unable to participate in the service due to cautions surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic.) 

Monique and I along with our 13-month old son, Matthew, moved to Granbury, Texas in September of 1977. I had already been attending seminary classes in Fort Worth for a month when the opportunity came to serve the First Baptist Church, Granbury as an Associate Pastor of Education/ Outreach. As it would turn out, my office would be adjacent to the work space of the church's secretary, Kitty Best. Our work-day lives would be inextricably connected for the next seven and a half years.
Although Kitty was the church's only secretary, she was so much more! Today, she would have the title Administrative Assistant. She managed our office and did so without computers, WiFi/ Internet service, or any of the other digital amenities we take for granted toda…

Let's Not Go Back!

We have a family member who is the proprietor of a highly specialized and successful business in a major East Coast city. During a recent conversation. he surprised me by remarking, "I don't want to go back to the normal we were in before (the COVID-19 Pandemic)! Let's rebuild something better!" Although admitting that "we shut down our business and let everyone go in the hope of re-hiring whenever we get the green light," he was strongly advocating for change as things slowly begin to reopen in his city.

Change is inevitable and becoming our new reality. I've heard many comments in the past weeks that we will not be returning to the "old normal" without substantial medical intervention like a vaccine or antibody therapies. So, what will things look like in the future? What should they look like?

We can only speculate that things will be different as we move forward. There are the familiar protocols of masks and social distancing and perhaps, …

Exercise Social Responsibility

After several weeks of staying at home, several parts of the country are cautiously beginning to open up and allow a controlled re-entry back into the "old normal" that we all cherish and are missing. Businesses, recreational gatherings, and churches are trying to find a way to get back to this needed normality and productivity . People have been unemployed, socially isolated, and unable to join in their familiar communities of work, play and worship for too long. This pent up frustration has resulted in some push back and protests that have made enough waves to make the evening news.

We Americans cherish our freedoms and do not like the constraints placed upon us by the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are a restless folk that claim our constitutional rights and privileges! When someone tries to tell us otherwise, it is second nature to begin flexing our independent muscles. The health community is reservedly saying that we should not move too quickly so that it overloads our medical …

Keep Moving Forward!

As students, teachers and parents know by now, this COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in mandates to stay-at-home as much as possible and this has necessitated having school-at-home. It is hard to estimate at this time the overall impact this shift has had or will have upon the education of children throughout our state. I'm sure that some kids have been setback while others seem to have quickly adapted and are continuing to move forward. It's amazing how resilient children seem to be!

Adults would do well to listen to children more. In their innocent lives, they often give us the best advice! One of our own, Charles William, has accepted the new virtual and distance learning required in these days in stride. He is even passionate in doing whatever he can to accomplish all the requirements that will insure his readiness for first grade in the fall. Just the other day, while leaning into his Chromebook, he boldly informed his mother, "I've got to keep moving forward!&quo…

"What Day Is This?"

Am I the only one asking this question? All of this started since my retirement in July of 2018. I was so "schedule driven" throughout my active ministry years. Much of my awareness of the day of the week was tied to normal commitments in vocational ministry: preparation of messages and studies, facilitating ministry teams, leading Sunday worship services, making hospital visits and other contacts, and taking occasional days off! It was much easier with this structure to know what day of the week it was as I anticipated the next thing on my weekly to-do list.

Now-a-days, with this COVID-19 challenge of staying-in-place, many of us have been thrown off of our routines. We are living a "new normal" and an ongoing confusion about what day it is! This can result in day/week/ time distortion akin to an episode of the Twilight Zone! (for a reminder, check this out... ) I find myself regularly inquiring, "What day is this?&…

"Seamstresses Are Essential!"

Lately, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have been hearing a lot in the media about "essential services." Most of the time, it is in reference to medical and health care workers; police, firefighters, and other emergency services; teachers; custodial and sanitation workers; grocery, public transit employees; packing, shipping and delivery services; and farm workers and farming operations. But essential services also include those who work in carryout food preparations, hardware stores, gas stations, laundry services, and banking. All of these brave and selfless individuals should be commended for being out on the front lines fighting this pandemic!

However, the list of essential workers doesn't seem quite complete. As of April 4, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has issued a bulletin recommending that "everyone should wear a cloth face covering when out in public places to protect others in case they are unknowingly infected with the virus." When we heard…

Creativity Lifts Our Spirits!

Ingenuity inspires, entertains, and lifts our spirits! I was recently blessed by the creative expressions of my own family in wishing me a "Happy Birthday!" Because of the shelter-in-place initiatives due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was not possible for us to have a traditional family gathering to celebrate my 69th birthday this week. I cannot ever remember not having multiple family members present during any birthday celebration over the years.  I had one friend express the obvious in his greeting, "Happy Birthday! At least this is one you will not forget!" My response was predictable, "You got that right!"

Thanks to the imagination of some of our very creative children and grandchildren, I received a very unique birthday greeting on my special day. It came by way of a video collection of well-wishes that were segmented together and attached to a text message. The contributors represented locations far and near including cities named Chatham, Georgetow…