"If I try to hang onto the past, to the old way of doing ministry, I will be left behind, yet that’s exactly what I’m tempted to do. Are there risks inherent in change? Absolutely, but the risks of looking back and trying to recreate the past are even greater."
I sometimes wonder what happened to the man I used to be. Friends and colleagues once described me as a man ahead of his time. Now I feel like a dinosaur. I don’t know if life is going faster and faster or if I’m just slowing down. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not throwing in the towel. In fact, I’m running as fast as I can. I’ve even managed to get a web site replete with pod casts and blogs. I’m on facebook and twitter, but every time I learn something new it’s already dated!
I’m tempted to think that I hate change simply because I’m getting older, but then I look back over my life and realize that change has always been hard. In 1980, I moved my family from Craig, Colorado to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to become pastor of Christian Chapel. Although there were a number of challenges I was excited. As far as I was concerned it was the chance of a lifetime and yet our early months in Tulsa were characterized by a profound sense of loss.Category: June 2009
Like some of you, I have now reached that point in life when it is not unusual for yet another friend, or family member, to depart this life. The past four years have been especially difficult for Brenda and me, as we have lost both her father and mine, as well as my mother, and a special friend. Still, I was shocked when I received a telephone call informing me that Larry Dalton had died suddenly.
He was barely sixty-three years old and appeared to be the picture of health. We had reconnected in February, at Christian Chapel’s 35th anniversary. As we chatted, he informed me that he was leaving Nashville and moving back to Tulsa. I complimented him on the Christmas music he had done for Reader’s Digest and told him the Christmas concerts he had performed at Christian Chapel were still the highlight of my Christmas memories.
The service was about to begin, so he excused himself and made his way toward the platform. As I watched him walk toward the piano, I couldn’t help marveling at his youthful appearance and fitness. He worked out regularly and was an avid bicyclist. Involuntarily, I found myself trying to suck in my sagging stomach, but to no avail.Category: June 2009
It is an incredibly beautiful morning in Northwest Arkansas. The sky is nearly Colorado blue, the humidity relatively low with temperatures in the mid-seventies. Earlier this morning, I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the porch overlooking Beaver Lake, but in spite of the natural beauty of God’s creation my heart is heavy. This peaceful morning belies the reality of our world where violence begets violence and well meaning people risk becoming a monster in an attempt to destroy a monster. The thing that prompted my melancholy musings this time was the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller. He was shot and killed on Sunday morning while serving as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas.
The response from both sides has been predictable. Pro-life organizations decry it as a senseless act of violence without justification, while pro-choice groups, like the National Organization for Women are blaming the tragedy on the pro-life movement. NOW has labeled the murder an act of "politically-motivated domestic terrorism" and has called on the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to put their full resources behind the effort to "root out and prosecute...the criminal enterprise that has organized and funded criminal acts for decades." It doesn’t take a prophet to see where this is leading.
Everything about this tragedy is grievous. I’m grieved that George Tiller was murdered and that his wife, children, and grandchildren must suffer this senseless tragedy. And his murder was so pointless. Killing him does nothing to end the tragedy of abortion; in fact it probably hardens the resolve of pro-choice groups and legislatures. Without a doubt it makes it more difficult for pro-life advocates.Category: June 2009