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Broken Chips/Broken Body

Broken Chips/Broken Body
This blog has been on hiatus since March 6, the day we left for a two-week trip to New Zealand.Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing and reflecting on experiences and observations from this marvelous trip. One morning I walked down to the waterfront in Queenstown.Queenstown is in the middle of the South Island, surrounded by mountains and sits on a lake. (Several scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed near here.) As I was looking at the lake and watching the seagulls fly around, a guy walked up to me. It didn’t appear that he had had a bath in several days and was accustomed to sleeping outdoors. He asked if I wanted to feed the seagulls out of my hand. I said, “No, thank you,” basically as a polite way to distance myself.He said, “You can offer them these chips in your hand, and they will eat out of it.It’s pretty cool.”He extended his hand to me and opened it.In the palm of his hand were some broken potato chips.“Try it,” he said. I looked …

What To Do?

What To Do?
What am I to do? This is one of the most important elections in our time. Is all I am to do is vote Or is there more being asked of me?
What am I to do? Gun violence continues. Another shooting this week – 5 died. Is all I am to do is hold them in my prayers?
What am I to do? In my study of racism I see that racism is not just between people. It is deeply rooted in our society In how banks and schools, judges and businesses have and are treating blacks. In the “talk” Black parents give their teenage kids. Is all I am to do is learn and be aware?
What am I to do? Global warming seems to big for me. Yet the Earth cries out in pain For the suffering of Life on her and in her. Is all I am to do is hold that pain?
What am I to do? The rich get richer and the poor struggle at 2-3 jobs. The middle class is shrinking. My wife and I are in the top 1% of the world in income Which means we make more than $32,400 per year. Is all I am to do is give to worthy charities?
What am I to do? War continues. When will t…

The Coyote Invitation

The Coyote Invitation
When you go for walks, are you mindful of who you might see?I do not mean in terms of other people, but of other living beings. Yesterday when I went to get the mail, I was greeted by two robins up in the red oak tree.I stopped, looked at them and said a word of welcome. When the dogs and I go for walks, I am in the habit of looking down.It’s a good habit so I don’t trip over something.But every once in a while, I look up and around.Sometimes I stop. (The dogs like it when I stop because they want to look and smell.)I see who has come to greet me – mockingbirds, squirrels, rabbits, ants, Bradford pears, red oaks, dandelions, and daffodils. Sometimes I am simply noticing. This helps to take me out of the chatter my mind. But sometimes I wonder, “why have you come to me now?”This happened to me recently. On a cold and wet Friday afternoon, I decided to have a prayer walk at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat Center.Montserrat was the place where I participated in two eight-da…

A Valentine Story

A Valentine Story
When I graduated from seminary at the ripe age of 25, I was single and decided I was not going to date anyone in college.I had a Master’s Degree.Anyone I was going to date needed to have graduated, be working, and have some real life experience. Our God is a wonderful God who laughs at our pronouncements. I soon moved to Malvern, Arkansas to start at my first church.First Presbyterian provide a nice 2600 square foot, newly renovated manse.My parents came up from Lake Charles, Louisiana to help me get moved in.One afternoon, Mom came in and said “Hey Clay, there is a nice young lady out there with her dad. They are trimming bushes and putting the branches in the back of a pickup truck. Do you know her?”I went to see who it was, and it was Crysta Gillespie.I told Mom, “Yes, that’s Crystie and her dad Roland.They are members of the church. Oh, and she has a boyfriend.”I also knew she was a college student.Two strikes against her.Yet, I was impressed with her working in th…

Ravens and Burros

Ravens and Burros
Recently on a guided meditation the image of a raven came to my mind.It reminded me of an encounter I had with ravens and three wild burros in 2016.I was back at Ghost Ranch Conference Center in New Mexico.It was January and cold. I had planned a day with Matthew, who a few months early had gone with me to the Black Place where we encountered the Wild Mustangs (see blog from 10-10-19).This day, Matthew asked if I wanted to find the wild burros. Ghost Ranch had once had a burro herd, but many years earlier had released them across the highway from the conference center.The burros of today were descendants of that burro herd. Matthew and I parked and walked past the locked gate, up a muddy road.Matthew said the burros have over 11,000 acres to roam.There’s a good chance of not seeing them. As we walked and watched, I asked Matthew what he thought seeing ravens meant.I had seen ravens again and again during my time at Ghost Ranch.Matthew said “They mean change or death, w…

Who Am I?

Who am I?
Who am I As I stand before Life? Some guy from Louisiana Living in Texas A Presbyterian pastor A husband of thirty-two years A father of a daughter and a son A son, a brother, an uncle A follower of Jesus
A Wild Mustang A Lost Soul An Angry Prophet A Frustrated Poet Looking for his song to sing.
Who am I In the depth of my soul? None of these answers seem enough They are all right and yet Who am I?
I get glimpses of me Some I like. Some I don’t Some parts of me I want to party with Because they are so cool Some parts of me I want to send away Because they’re not who I want to be.
Some parts of me have no name I don’t know them at all Yet somehow, I am less Due to my ignorance of me.
Who am I? I really, really don’t know. So many in me I want to meet and welcome home And love. I sense lots of energy in me to be released. Lots of energy

Giving the Talk

Thank you for all the encouragement and support for my keynote at the Collin College Martin Luther King, Jr. Power Leadership Breakfast. I really appreciate all the comments you made on last week’s blog. It is so wonderful to know that I am not alone in whatever I do, even if I am standing on a stage by myself.You are with me. I reached a point before the talk where it was what it was.I had put into all I could.I was ready to let it rest.I had a good energy around what I was going to say and began the process of working on how to deliver the talk. The last fifteen years when I preach, I write an outline then memorize the outline so I can preach without notes. This is dangerous because I’ve been known to forget what I was going to say and because I can go off script, which I often do. This is good because preaching without notes helps me to connect to the listener. I see the outline as a guideline. I will insert comments that come to me while I preach. Once I have the outline…