Tuesday, June 30, 2009


One of the first who'll be last, I'm thinkin'

Ya know, I glanced at Neil's, EL's, MA's and Mark's stuff and it's all so stale it bored me. Same old delusions.

This guy makes those guys look like the amateurs they are.


Monday, June 29, 2009


Dung deal

"Theology is the study of God and his ways. For all we know, dung beetles may study man and his ways and call it humanology. If so, we would probably be more touched and amused than irritated. One hopes that God feels likewise."

-- Frederick Buechner

Photo from Wikipedia

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Not too proud to beg

PRAYER OF CONFESSION today at church:

"Lord of Life, we gather as a community searching for the will to respond to the world as it is, not as we imagine it. We come in search of healing, both body and soul. We come to ask for what we need, and not to let anything stand in the way of our relationship with the Divine. Give us the strength and the courage to "beg" for wholeness, and the will not to stop until we have found it. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth our Teacher and Lord we pray, Amen."

Hear a recent sermon.


Saturday, June 27, 2009


ER's seminary essay (draft)

A working paper, to submit, when tweaked, with my application to seminary. Y'all have seen the top part before ... I dunno. It's probably too personal. Not sure what they're looking for. But this is pretty much what they're gonna get.

Comments and criticisms welcome. Just don't be mean. Also, speak now or hold yr peace, 'cause I'll probably take it down after a day or two. ... But I'm not sure why I would, necesarrily. ... Anyhoo ... :-)



The preacher’s message was so clear I thought I could draw it. So I did. With a dainty “lady’s” pen and pad from Mama’s purse, a huge black thing with a vicious metal snap and a hard, flat bottom with sharp corners, I drew what I heard the preacher say.

At top: “God,” just the word, with some lines for light rays around it. At bottom: A stick figure of a boy: Me. Between, another stick figure, a cross, for Jesus. I put the cross there because the preacher said, according to the Old, Old Story, God loved us so much that he put it there: “A Savior came from Glory.”

I looked up and Mama smiled at my handiwork. As a hymn played, I stepped out into the aisle and I walked to the front, and I prayed with the preacher.

This I believe: At that moment, the spirit of Jesus, my friend, helper, Savior in ways even more mysterious to me today than then, at age 8 – his spirit of honesty, openness, willingness, kindness, love and justice -- did, in fact, come into my heart. Grace, Grace – “marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed” -- found me, in a Southern Baptist church in a small Southern town. And in that congregation I first learned my privilege and obligation as a Christian to give grace away as freely as it was given to me.

The spirit of Jesus saves.

The spirit of Jesus saved me from racism when in my teens, the Ku Klux Klan tried to resurrect. I could not square such rhetoric and meanness with the Gospel as preached at that little church.

The spirit of Jesus saved me from the mood of greed that dominated the 1980s when I was in college, a worldly spirit perfectly depicted in a familiar dorm-room poster of the era: “Poverty Sucks,” it says, over a big photo of a big man, a self-satisfied prig wearing jodhpurs, tweed jacket, sporty cap and riding boots, glass in hand, wine in an ice bucket on the bumper of a gaudy Rolls Royce.

The spirit of Jesus kept me in the 1990s, lingering, loitering it seemed at times, whispering, tickling the ears of my soul, pricking my heart, even as I went my own way in my own prodigality, wasting my substance, living riotously.

Not long ago, the spirit of Jesus wrecked a particularly stubborn cultural vestige of my upbringing, destroying my selfish, unthinking bias against same-sex orientation, as sure as he destroyed the money changers’ tables in the temple.

But, I want to be greedy. I want to waste my substance. I want to think myself better than others, black others, homosexual others, other nations' others, other religions' others. It’s natural.

But! There is God, me, and the spirit of Jesus, saving me from myself, when I let myself go. It’s so clear you can draw it.


I wrote a version of the above in 2007 for a Lenten study based on NPR’s “This I Believe” series. Writing is what I do – and editing – as a journalist and history researcher-writer.

I grew up on a farm among an extended family long involved with First Baptist Church in XXXXX, Okla. When fundamentalism swept the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979, it eventually swept the SBC away from me and the Gospel as I first heard it preached. For more than 20 years, other than attending a United Methodist church sporadically for several years while living in Texas, I was an absentee Christian.

That changed in 2005. Three things drew me back to church. First, I started blogging and getting into heated discussions with other bloggers about the church, religion’s role in public life and public affairs, and what it means to “be a Christian.” The least I could do, to keep myself honest, was to go back to church. Also in 2005, the United Church of Christ’s “Bouncer” ad, which depicts bouncers turning away gay couples trying to enter a church, “convicted” me, to use the good old term, of my homophobia. I had been examining the thinking I inherited for some time; I was a dancehall bouncer for awhile in Texas; that ad spoke to me, and I consider the episode an important revelation-epiphany. Also in 2005 came Hurricane Katrina, and the images of wrecked and washed-up humanity – poor, mostly black people, like so much driftwood – on my TV screen caused me to repent of the indifference with which I had started to hold others. I think years of the forced detachment required of a journalist had cauterized into coldness. I continue to repent. I had learned about Mayflower Congregational-UCC Church in Oklahoma City, and I started attending. I joined in 2006. I volunteered for a committee in 2007. I started a two-year term as a deacon this year.

Scholarly study of theology and Christian history has interested me since I took an introduction to New Testament class as an undergraduate at Oklahoma State in the 1980s, but my career kept it a hobby. My success in a rigorous seminar on the Reformation as a history graduate student in 2004 at the University of Central Oklahoma spurred my interest. Rejoining church life has turned it into a longing that I just have to treat.

My calling is as a communicator. As a Christian, I feel drawn to strengthen my ability to communicate the Gospel (which I summarize here as the revelation of God in Christ and God’s ways for humanity in what we know of the teachings of Jesus), whether through writing, editing or preaching; to better inform my research and writing on the nineteenth-century “civilization” efforts toward American Indians; to be in the vanguard of the Christian faith tradition as it evolves; and to bolster myself, head and heart, for sojourning with people who find themselves drawn to God and to others, no matter, as the UCC puts it, where they are on life’s journey.


Friday, June 26, 2009


Never take one Baptist fishin'

He'll drink all your beer.

Take two.

That is all. :-)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Y'all do me a favor, 'k? Be tools of the Lord!

Tell me to get off my butt and "write" this dinky lil teeninsy 2-page "essay" on my religious background and why in the hell I want to take seminary classes. It's the only thing I haven't done yet and the only thing keeping me from puttin' the application in the mail. That dang ol' debble, or somethin', is runnin' a movin' chicane to keep me from gittin' it done!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


If you could save time in a bottle ...

... tell me the first thing that you'd like to do.

I'd use it like salt, keep it in a shaker and sprinkle it throughout my days, to bring out the flavor of life here, to cover up bitterness there. In bulk, I'd use it to preserve.


Monday, June 22, 2009


'Truthfulness, speech and wise silence'

A Quaker's take on all the noise in the world.

Silence IS countercultural. Wow.


Sunday, June 21, 2009


Time to open my 'Daddy sack'

This is the stuff I brought home to Texas when Daddy died March 28, 1989. I opened it and looked through the stuff today for just the third time. I looked through it one year after he died, and 10 years after he died, and now today. A gal I know from Burns Flat, OK, who is like a tiny female version of myself in some ways, had her daddy die the other day, and I'm sendin' fellow redneck cowperson prayers her way.

It's not a huge deal, this seldom-opened sack. But it's a deal. I know what's in this sack. Couple of Zippos. Sunglasses from seeing the Thunderbirds a day or two before he died. Get-well critter. Cattle ear tag. This whiskey bottle was one of a few different ones my brother and I found out in the milk house right after he died. He had a hunch! Teetotaling Mama wouldn't let the stuff in the house.

The sack. Safeway.

I'm gettin' it from both sides today. I miss Daddy. Mama, too. And I miss my Bird -- but she called me today! Yippee!

And I'm fixing to call my father-in-law to see if he wants to come up this Friday to go to an Oklahoma RedHawks (triple-A baseball) game. We've been talking about it.


Saturday, June 20, 2009


Good enough day for Cheever

I did so much, yardworkwise, today, I could take a chance on readin' two more of John Cheever's bleak-dark-terribly-mundane-but-hard-to-put-down short stories. But only 2. That dark-hearted s.o.b is hard to take on an average day.


Friday, June 19, 2009


Plans, schmans

Apparently, it was *not* the Lord's will that I:

1. Be able to do the one hour of work I had to do today from home, preferring, rather, that I spend two hours *trying* to do said work before giving up on my work laptop working, then having to go into the office anyway.

2. Get some serious yard work started, let alone done.

3. Feel well this afternoon, because I don't.

4. Go to three seminars tomorrow on Orthodox Christianity, because now I have to do yard work.

On the other hand, I think I will be able to go the Orthodox lecture tonight, which is the main one I wanted to hear anyway, which seemed to have been dashed when I thought work-work was going to delay the yard work, which would have kept me from going to the church, that is, until I got to feeling puny and didn't even start the yard work.

So, I reckon it could be that what the Lord wanted was for me to go this thing tonight, and it took a p.o.s. work computer, then my feeling unwell this afternoon, to make it happen.

But I doubt it.



Thursday, June 18, 2009


Obama's fly is starting to annoy me now

Lincoln had a fly, too!



Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Y'alls' grilling faves, please

Here it is mid-June, and I have not yet grilled once! Sheesh. This, that and the other have just kept me from it. But the drought ends Saturday: Half-inch-thick ribeyes for chipotle-type sandwiches, and roasting ears.

That's one of my favorites from the grill. What're some of y'alls'??


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Rooster Cogburn had an orange tabby cat named General Sterling Price, for the Rebel general from Missouri, in 'True Grit'





By God





Monday, June 15, 2009


Northbound and down, loaded up and truckin'

To Ohhhhhhh-klahoma ...


Sunday, June 14, 2009


Bird 'n' Beau backyard still life, Spring, Texas

Store-bought washer pitchin' game. Store-bought! Who'd a thunk it?


Saturday, June 13, 2009


To my Bird and her Beau ...

... on the occasion of their weddin' party (the weddin' havin' been a private courthouse affair a week ago):

To my Bird: Having sailed past age 30 with no wife and family of my own, I'd given up by the time I met your mama. Imagine my surprise, and my delight, to stumble onto a package deal! A little family just for me! You are the apple of my eye. I could not love you more, nor be prouder, if you were my biological daughter.

To her Beau: You've shown yourself to be a man of honor toward my Bird, and toward her family and toward me personally. You've been there for me a time or two. I'm there for you, and y'all. I could not be happier for you and my Bird, and I am proud to have you for a son-in-law.

My prayer: That, in your own way, which is the only way, y'all love one another, love God and love your neighbor as yourself -- because *that's* what it's all about.


Oh, one more thing, Bird: Hola y pan tostado! (inside joke)


Friday, June 12, 2009


A gen-yoo-wine Texas beer joint

Dig it. Just 2.4 miles from Yank and Bird's house!

Rusty barstools with torn Naugahyde covers. Vintage '70s Lone Star beer signs. A shuffleboard with working score board. Jukebox. Pearl Light sign. Coldbeer. Attached cafe open for lunch weekdays, grill on weekends, steak night Thursday night.

Various NASCAR and Houston Astros accourtrements. Sundry lifesize scantily clad Bud beer babe signs. Neon. Smoke.

Not one damn thing fancy about it at all. And better even than a "cigar lounge" -- they just don't give a damn if you smoke a cigar or not.

Redneck heaven -- erudite or otherwise.



Calling all cat persons

So, I called the vet where all our critters are boarded until Tuesday, to ask them to check Ice-T for something I'd forgotten to mention, and the lady said he had been freaked out since we left him Wednesday and hadn't let anybody touch him.

He was wailing when I left him. I'm scared to death he's going to be permanently traumatized, although Bird, who works as a vet tech, says most cats do the same, and that he'll be OK when he gets returned to his home and his peeps.

DrLobo, just keep your horror stories! The rest of y'all, feel free to assure me that my beloved, sissified, totally-misnamed kitty Ice-T will forgive me, and get over it. Sniff.



The Jesus Seminar, on the road in OKC*

At my church! Can't wait. Y'all come!


*Not meant as a blanket endorsement of The Jesus Seminar. :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Inside baseball in Houston

I'm not real big on roofs over outdoor sports, but Minute Maid Park is pretty fine. It's like an older park they put a top on. Just 11 years old, though.

Houston Astros 2-1 over Chicago Cubs in the 13th.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


G.T.T. 2 C newly wed ...

Mr. Yankee and Mrs. Bird Beau!


Tuesday, June 09, 2009


'Ameritianity' -- idolatry on its face!

I say this a lot these days, but this beats all! It takes some doin' to think you're striving for righteousness and actually be so un-American AND un-Christian!!!


They literally removed "Christ" from "Christianity" and replaced it with the name of the idol, "Ameri" -- to form a new nonword! Amazing.


Monday, June 08, 2009


Fake it 'til you make it; or, 'put on Christ'

Woke up this morning thinking about what it means to "put on Christ."

It sure doesn't come naturally, so to speak, and it doesn't seem to come supernaturally.

One of the complaints I've seen quite a bit from the Decons is that there's no quantifiable difference in the morality of a set of X number of Christians versus a set of the same X number of non-Christians -- which, actually, is a little silly, if you ask me, "morality" being one thing and "love" being another.

So, if it doesn't come naturally, and it doesn't come supernaturally, it has to come deliberately. And, I suppose, after awhile it might become habit.

Galatians 3:27, though, seems to suggest that by one's baptism into Christ, "putting on Christ" becomes definitional -- mystical, supernatural, etceteral.

I don't know. That reminds me of the salvation as "fire insurance" that I grew up around.

I think it takes an act of the will, inspired by the gift of Grace. It takes work. Because it's not faith OR works, I don't think. I think it's faith AND works -- and I'll let the theologians argue over whether one "flows from the other" and which one comes first.

Actually, I think it flows both ways.

What do y'all think?

(Here's Charles G. Finney's hardshell Calvinist take on "putting on Christ." Lots of good stuff in it, but it IS hardcore.)

Sunday, June 07, 2009


So help me Jesus

"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves."

Praying that I eventually start getting this right more often than not.


Saturday, June 06, 2009


He was against Obama before it was cool?

Yes, I know I probably shouldn't aid and abet in getting this "message" out, but it's just so BAD, and so off the mark I think it NEEDS to be spread around like the bulls--t it is. Wow. Talk about fishbowl syndrome.


Friday, June 05, 2009


Why U.S. Sen. James Inhofe is a big fat idiot

Inhofe calls Obama 'un-American' after speech

-- ER

Thursday, June 04, 2009


U.S. Sen. James Inhofe is a big, fat idiot


Wednesday, June 03, 2009


RIP, Terry Harper, SPJ exec, blogger

So this is it. I have shuffled loose the mortal coil. My soul has been hurled into the great void. I am taking the proverbial dirt nap. I bought the farm. I kicked the bucket. I have checked out. Crossed the River Styx. Bought a pine condo. Ceased to be. I am wandering the Elysian Fields. Gone belly up. Checked out. Cashed in. Sleeping with the fishes. Danced the last dance. Run down the curtain. I am pushing daisies. I have joined the choir invisible. I have paid Charon’s fare. I have succumbed. I have sprouted wings. I am history. I am dead.

He was 45.

Read all of "The Final Thump."



Meet Juno, my first grandkitty!

She's 8 weeks old. And Bird and YankeeBeau had her out of wedlock! Barely. 'Cause they're gettin' hitched Friday before a JP in a Texas courthouse!

Yes, Dr. ER and I are both button-poppin' proud!

And we think it's cool that they're gettin' hitched, too. ;-)


Tuesday, June 02, 2009


OMG! OMG! OMG! What am I thinking? I just printed off the application materials for seminary!


Mebbe I'll go for it. Another way of saying "I simply don't have the time" is "I need to put the discipline back into disciple."

We'll see.


Monday, June 01, 2009


Green (1/8th) Acres sprout in the city - The Denver Post

Like the story. LOVE the American Gothic-esque photo!


Green (1/8th) Acres sprout in the city - The Denver Post

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