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The Talk: Struggle of Dance and Love

The Talk: Struggle of Dance and Love
This Saturday I am the keynote speaker for the Collin College Power Leadership Breakfast.When my friend Ada asked if she could submit my name, I was honored and said yes.I was pretty sure I would not be chosen because I am a 59-year-old white guy.I always imagined the speakers for these events as dynamic black speakers.I was selected.Perhaps my friend Ada made a good case. Or the committee heard of the work I have been doing in racism.God certainly has a mischievous sense of humor. My talk is to be 20-25 minutes.I have struggled with what to say.It is not that I don’t have enough to say.I read books.I listened to podcasts.I had deep conversation with people around racism.I have pages and pages of notes.But people do not want to hear me report on what I have heard and read and seen. I am being asked to share out of who I am, out of my reflections on Dr. King, out of my own broken heart around racism.I am asked to speak a word of hope in the midst of …

The Call of the Ants

The Call of the Ants
A few months ago I was kidnapped by ants. (It was the first blog) They took me down into the depths They asked me to speak to my people Of the Earth’s deep pain My people are causing.
I said yes, Not sure what I was agreeing to. I was told Ants would be my reminder. Whenever I see an ant, I am to remember my task.
Lately I’ve seen no ants. I have forgotten my task. My people continue to cause great harm to the Earth. My people continue to cause great harm to each other And to the ants and other living beings.
But I have been busy. There was Christmas and the New Year There was Thanksgiving and trips to parents. There were meetings and readings and many things to do. Surely the ants would understand.
The invitation still stands. Busyness does not rescind Nor does avoidance.
I must confess to the ants and all that lives in and on the Earth. It is not that I do not know what to say. It is that I am afraid I will be heard. My people will hear me.
They will hear that I talk and listen to ants, to t…

The First Calling

The First Calling
I first heard a whispering of a call into ministry before my junior year of high school. I grew up at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Lake Charles.We attended every Sunday, both Sunday School and Worship and I participated in the youth groups in Junior High and High School. The call whispered while I was attending a summer work camp at Camp Lacombe, outside of New Orleans. The purpose of this work camp was to get ready for summer camp. I remember walking through the woods with the other high school campers and our leader, the Rev. Ted Roelings. I thought “this is good. I like being here in the woods.I liked Ted. He’s a nice guy, for a minister. I enjoyed the work we were doing. It was good to serve together.” Then the thought came to me.“I could be a pastor like Ted.” At that time, I did not know what I wanted to be “when I grew up.”Perhaps I could be a minister. I quickly pushed the idea out of my head.Who wants to write a paper every week? I didn’t like writing o…

Following the Fool

Following the Fool
Today I want to share the story today of what launched me on this journey into the Wild. In the Fall of 2014, I had served as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Whitesboro, Texas for over four and half years. It had been a wonderful time, yet I felt myself getting disconnected. Bored. Not looking forward to going to the church building and participating in the ministry of the church. This church of 65 members, located a few miles west of Sherman, Texas had done many wonderful things while I was there. Started a Saturday morning community breakfast in their fellowship hall that served between 100-150 people each week. Participated in a mission trip to Guatemala. Renovated the 1878 sanctuary, last updated in the 1950’s.Offered tutoring to 3rd graders from a local elementary school. Loved one another and the community.Learned, worshipped, shared with one another.I was thankful to be their pastor. It had been a great experience. Yet I felt pulled away.Why?I didn’t…

Jesus and Mary

Jesus and Mary
A few years ago, I was at the old St. Paul’s Hospital in Dallas to see a member of the church I was serving.I stepped out into the courtyard of the hospital and found a bench to sit on.I decided to have a prayer time. I looked to my left and saw a statue of Jesus. I looked to my right and saw a statue of Mother Mary.I held my left hand out and said, “Come Jesus come.” I held my right hand out and said, “Come Mary come.”In that moment, in a way I cannot explain, I felt the presence of Jesus on my left and Mary on my right.My thought was Jesus should be on my right and Mary on my left but that was not what I experienced. It could all be in my imagination, but it felt so real. This soon became a method of praying – holding out my left hand and saying, “come Jesus” and holding out my right hand and saying, “come Mary.” After I began this Wild Mustang journey over four and half years ago, I was meeting with my therapist friend Suzi and our good friend Patti.Patti had stage fou…

Mother Earth and Racism

Mother Earth and Racism
This blog began in August telling of my encounter with ants at Ghost Ranch. I told a story of encountering ants who spoke of the grieving, hurting Mother Earth. and asked if I would work for the healing of the Earth. They wanted me to speak to my people, the humans, about the great pain we are causing.I said that I would, not knowing what I would do.This blog is one attempt to speak and I appreciate those of have read it and commented on it. The issue that has come up for me again and again since my encounter with the ants has been racism, not global warming or the size of my carbon footprint or human destruction of the rainforests. Racism?What does racism have to do with the grieving, hurting Mother Earth? How will addressing racism heal what is happening to our planet? I define racism as the judging another by the color of their skin.I do that, though I do not want to.By my own definition, I am a racist. I have worked hard over many years to move beyond this sur…

The Gift of Story

The Gift of Story
The last Sunday in September I had the chance to preach at the first church I served.I went to First Presbyterian Church of Malvern, Arkansas right out of Seminary at the ripe age of 25.First Presbyterian Church sees itself as a church for new pastors. This church gives new pastors plenty of grace and opportunities and helps them learn how to be pastors.It also challenges them out of na├»ve thinking. I loved my time there.The best part was that I met and married my wife, Crysta. Since we have family in Malvern, I have returned many times over the years and had many chances to worship with this community. But I had not preached since I left over 29 years ago. Crysta had a high school reunion coming up and I reached out to the pastor Courtney, telling her I wanted to share with the church where I was in my journey of faith.She graciously offered me the chance to preach.I decided I would share three stories from the last five years that had a significant impact on my under…