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Thursday, April 16, 2009

My time is consumed with so many details that the efforts I really seek get pushed into the back row. For example, I'd like to add something on my blog about my books, published at My fiction, or almost fiction, is Gather with the Saints, a collection of stories as told by a 12-year-old Baptist preacher's daughter. She tells of the rather bizarre funerals and deaths that occur in her home town of Wheeler, NC. Most have a nugget of real life, as told me by my colleagues in ministry, but then there are the ones that come solely out of my imagination. One, told in three parts, is the tragic balance to those others which contain a note of humor. The book is available online and also through retail book sellers.

I also have a book that comes out of my dissertation on the grief process. I added a fantasy story and narratives given me by others about signs from nature or elsewhere that relay the message of comfort: their loved one who has died is all right. The book, Signs of Hope:Messages for the Grieving, is for sale online but not in bookstores.

My collection of poems, Field Water, went through four revisions and was not for sale but for gifts to friends. Now I have decided to offer it for sale, also through lulu. Another book, for sale through lulu, is a collection of sermons delivered during the fall of 2008, Preacher's Dozen and a few more.

You can find these at, by putting my name in the search window. If you find something you think worth reading, pass on the good word to your friends. I will be working at marketing these books in new ways soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am going to copy excerpts from a recent blog I have on our Fellowship Presbyterian Church blogsite. It speaks to an important issue we face in these times.


Recently I attended a day-long Legislative Seminar sponsored by our NC Council of Churches and learned of the almost unsolvable concerns of immigrants, especially Latinos, who are given so little in terms of a welcome from the general public. We enjoy their labors but we don’t seem to enjoy their presence, judging by the efforts to get as many as possible back to their home countries, however that may be accomplished – either legally or illegally. We are reluctant to educate them or train them or raise their economic situation, all of which would in the long run make them contributing members of our society. I think we have a different standard when we read our scriptures, which call for us to “welcome the stranger.” We too once were strangers, or our ancestors were, for all were immigrants to this country except for the native peoples, and they too may come from immigrant stock of several millenia ago.

St. Benedict made hospitality a prime standard for his group of monks. As Sister Joan Chittister's commentary on the Rule of Benedict, notes about this matter of hospitality: “Hospitality in a culture of violence and strangers and anonymity has become the art of making good connections at good cocktail parties. We don't talk in elevators, we don't know the security guard's name, we don't invite even the neighbors in to the sanctuary of our selves. Their children get sick and their parents die and all we do is watch the comings and goings from behind heavy blinds. Benedict wants us to let down the barriers of our hearts so that this generation does not miss accompanying the innocent to Calvary as the last one did. Benedict wants us to let down the barriers of our souls so that the God of the unexpected can come in.” She adds, “ . . . hospitality is clearly meant to be more than an open door. It is an acknowledgement of the gifts the stranger brings.”

Isn't it time “to let down the barriers of our souls” and let the God of the unexpected enter in?