Men who Put Skin on Jesus: Mark, Dex and Dick

Beginnings are tough, no matter where. I had arrived in Banks straight from the revival in San Jacinto and was full of how much I could offer. I was full of myself. This is never a good start for pastoral ministry. A constant refrain for many years there was, “They just don’t get it.” As…

Patience

I pulled up to the pump at Safeway.  Mike, grey-haired, a bit grizzly in appearance, with a cap on his head and bandana for a mask arrived at my care after a few moments. He apologized for the wait. I responded, “I am good at waiting.” As he pumped, Mike talked. As if it had…

Large Blessings in Small Packages

Our oldest, Anna, wanted to come visit with her two young daughters, reserved two nights at a campsite on the Oregon coast and invited anyone available to come. She drove two days to bring her daughters, 2.5 year old Bridget and 5 year old Josie, out to Oregon. They arrived at our house for a…

Blame

The two couples were sitting having dinner on the patio behind one of their homes. They have known each other and been friends for decades. Conversation turned to the COVID vaccine somehow, and suddenly one of the women got very, very strong in her statements against the vaccine. She began arguing with the other woman…

Resurrecting Hope

The woman who sat before me said, “Six family members died the between April and December 2020, the last of these was my husband. None from COVID-19. It’s been a tough year.” Devastating losses. How does a person walk through such losses? She is reacting in anger toward others around her. That made sense knowing…

Meeting God in a Friend

The strangest circumstance occurred. The board meeting I was booked to attend in Nashville got moved to Ada, OK. It also changed so just the executive committee needed to attend. The rest were to attend via zoom. Technically, then, I could have canceled the trip and stayed home. But, I was scheduled to stay with…

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

I spent time with our oldest daughter, her husband, two children and her mother-in-law last week in a town near Salt Lake City. This was the first trip out of town I’ve taken since last March. I was thrilled. I went for Pascha, the Orthodox Christian celebration, which often comes later than the regular Western…

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Four

In Chapter 4 of “Hello, My Name is Phillip,” Phillip recalls what happened when he turned 5. A fight in the car, a surprise birthday party, an accident, and an encounter with Jonah converge to bring a bit of hope. He learns something magnificent certainly: he is hearing from God.

Hello, My Name is Phillip — Chapter Two

Phillip James Smythe tells how he first met Big Skye, his best friend. Phillip also meets Miss Liz, a wonderful person, wearing slippers covered in dog hair. She sees Phillip and believes in him more than anyone yet has.

Where is there Light?

What if I just resorted to lists? Lists of what is happening both negatively and positively? Could we then see evidence of light in the middle of darkness? Could we find hope in the midst of despair? Yes.