The Spirit of Truth, The Spirit of Error

What’s the balance between brutal honesty and the weakness and ineffective timidity that allows us and those around us to stay gripped in the slavery of our own delusions? I ask this because as we approach Great Lent, we are going to be increasingly confronted with hymns, prayers, and homilies, dedicated to one goal – Authentic Repentance. And let’s face it, repentance isn’t very popular right now. There is an increasingly nagging thought…

We are Stardust

“By the time we got to Woodstock…” Sorry, in advance for putting that song in your head for the rest of the day. But there is one quote more from that famous Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song I want to share: “We are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil’s bargain, And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.” One more apology for those of us…

What’s Left Matters

I will never forget his face. You see, this man was asking me about giving to his church. He was absolutely amazed that his pastor had preached a sermon on tithing. Tithing is the belief that one should set aside 10% of one’s income to dedicate to God’s house and supporting the work of the faith. His question to me revealed his dilemma. “Hey, Barnabas, you’re a religious person. (I like to…

True Love

The weather in the Southern United States has been something of a challenge the last few days! And here we are on Valentine’s Day digging out of the snow and sleet and running around looking for cards. But there’s good news from Oconee County: “The Oconee County County Sheriff’s Office announces that Valentines Day has been CANCELLED from a line North of I-16 to the Georgia/Tennessee border,” the humorous Sheriff Scott Berry…

WATCH!

My youngest daughter simply has no concept of time, and when I say “wait, Katherine.” She immediately responds with “Daddy, are you coming!” It just doesn’t register with her that “”wait” means “wait.” Ah the attention time span of youth! Actually, there is more at work here than a mere inability to appreciate patience. Children are notorious for being unable to think beyond their own immediate needs. They haven’t developed that sense…

Signs, Signs, Everywhere the Signs

Do you know the word “apocalyptic?” Since I was a boy, growing up in a Pentecostal church in the South, I’ve heard gospel songs, sermons, and even watched religious movies, about the “end of time.” And that is what “apocalyptic” means – having to do with the end of time. It seems each generation through history has speculated in one way or another with the “end of time.” And it doesn’t require…

With Faith and Love, Draw Near

Several years ago I was part of a group on the square in Marietta, GA gathered to hear some political speeches by different politicians in the federal government in Washington, DC. One of those speakers was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This politician is constitutionally in line to be President if something catastrophic were to happen to the President and the Vice-President. A pretty powerful position to be in. At…

They Know Not

What is it about close relationships that either blind you or enlighten you? What I mean is, I’ve known folks who were so close to someone else that they were absolutely blind to that other person’s faults. I’ve seen it get so bad that the two people were so enmeshed with each other that they really were their own worst enemies when it came to other friends and relatives. There’s nothing like…

Keep Asking Why!

This message was a central focus of our recent clergy retreat. It is fascinating to see in my own life how easy it is to forget the basic and fundamental question of “why are you here?” Every time I’ve taken this fundamental and foundational understanding for granted, I’ve forgotten “who” I really am. And the results have always been confused priorities, ineffective efforts, and little to show for my labors. No wonder…

It’s 3 AM and I’m Afraid

A recent article in Psychology Today said that “Sleep loss from worry was at its highest during the ages 35-55. During the period of 55-60, worry began to decline as a factor in sleep loss, and leveled off with the onset of old age during the years 66-70.” Psychology Today, December 2012. In fact, one of the leading causes of insomnia in adults is that nagging inability to “shut off my brain”…