More Powerful Than a Nuke. Part II.  An Encore for Encouragement!

More Powerful Than a Nuke. Part II.  An Encore for Encouragement!

Things are different.  I’m at the stage in my life now where my two sons have grown and left the house but my younger two daughters are still with us.  Because of that our Friday night family time usually finds us taking in movies of the Sabrina type genre rather than the Expendables.  I’m dealing with it actually quite well.

A while back my oldest daughter ordered a movie called The Help through Netflix and while I wasn’t excited about the show itself, I wanted to be with my girls.  So Hinton Tacos and a girly show is what I prepared for.  The Help is a great show which is based off of a 2009 novel by the same name.  The drama chronicles the stories of African American  maids in Jackson Mississippi as recorded by a young white woman during the civil rights movement of the early 1960s.  Two or three times during the cinematic narrative a motherly black maid lovingly grabs the attention  of a young white girl she is responsible for and tells her that; “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.”   (more…)

The Problem with “Pastor” Steve!

The Problem with “Pastor” Steve!

I’ve never really been a fan of religious verbiage. I especially hate it when people call me Pastor Steve. God doesn’t call me that.  But the problem with the word pastor, in the English language, is that it means just about everything. Thus it sometimes doesn’t really mean anything.  Anything specific that is. The problem with me is that I tried to do and to be everything associated with the word and it just about killed me.  But maybe, in truth, the real problem belongs to all of us who call on the name of Christ. (more…)

Does it Work?  (Christianity that is.)

Does it Work?  (Christianity that is.)

Sometimes Boris would drive me nuts.  I mean really drive me nuts.  Ok, sometimes I suppose he just ticked me off if we’re being honest here.  I remember well the afternoons that Boris would come into our office at the college we rented from in Moscow, Russia.  We’d play chess and discuss everything from politics, to Christianity, to philosophy.  I liked playing chess with Boris because he was just about the only Russian over the age of 12 that I could actually beat.    The reason Boris pushed me to the edge sometimes was because he clearly had little interest in discussion for discovery, but rather just for the sake of being argumentative.  Boris longed for the Communist to retake the government in the national elections of 96.  Boris quoted Paul McCartney with as much reverence as the apostle Paul.  Boris referred to both Vladimir Lenin  and John Lennon with equal admiration while joking about Jesus.  Boris would deny the credibility of the Bible while all the time never acknowledging the proofs I’d give for its inerrancy.  Boris just liked to argue and I suppose that’s probably normal for a young man in his late teens and early 20s. I’m sure I’ve got my own history of annoying folks with my arguments as well.  So if you’re out there Boris, please know that I really do love you and miss you.

One of the criticisms of Christianity that Boris would level at me periodically was the supposition that Christianity was simply not practical. “It didn’t do much,” he’d say.  Maybe he was contrasting me to the Bolsheviks of old or something.  But for whatever reason he had that idea, I tried to illustrate to him that Christianity is anything but impractical.  (more…)

More Powerful Than a Nuke!

More Powerful Than a Nuke!

This past summer I was talking with one of my older friends from my hometown.  In our conversation I discovered that she knew my 9th grade English teacher, Dan Johnson.  My friend, Emadene, had taught school with Mr. Johnson’s wife and had nothing but good to say about the man.  Likewise, when I think back to the year that I was in his class I have plenty of encouraging memories of my teacher.  That year was truly an illustration of God moving in ways we don’t understand?  Mr. Johnson was indeed a providential piece of the total equation for the man I am today. (more…)

Finding Grace and Following the Guide. Or. (God and Sex Part II.)

Finding Grace and Following the Guide. Or. (God and Sex Part II.)

The bottom line is that when Deb and I got married, she was a virgin and I was not.  One of the modern myths about sex is that it’s just physical and no big deal. I don’t believe this and that is certainly not my journey.  The emotions have been all over the place in my adult life. At one point I can experience the true forgiveness and redemption of Jesus with an understanding of grace that people with less checkered lives just can’t understand.  On the other hand, there are still residual times when I ache for my choices of sexual activity before marriage. I don’t blame the girl. I know it was my decision and it pains me.  If there was anything that I could take back, it would be those pre-marital sexual actions that I took during the dark ages on my high school years and young adult life.  But I can’t. (more…)

The Daily Decisions And Transformation.

The Daily Decisions And Transformation.

I’m not a country western fan.  In fact, I like to tell people that God created music and then Satan made an attempt at it which resulted in country-western.  Really, there are so many different genres of music that I enjoy from classical to Christian hard rock. Head banger music is what our church admin assistant calls it.  I’ve picked up a love for Irish, Scottish, and English folks music of late and sometimes old traditional Russian music will find its way to my Pandora stations.  A seasoning amount of classic rock is threaded through my week as well.  But I just can’t make the switch to country-western. Ok, maybe some John Denver once in a while.  But that’s probably a bit more folk than western.  No, country music and I just don’t do business with each other.

My wife however grew up on the country twang.  Many of those songs bring fond memories to her and set her at ease.  I don’t naturally like country, but she does.  Thus the question of what do we listen to over the car radio. (more…)