Thursday, January 19, 2012


Georgia asked me to put this note in her school folder:

We first had a talk about writing notes and signing mommy's name. Then I wrote her a real note for ice cream.

At age 4, she skipped Bible class to hang out in the coffee spot.
At age 5, she's writing notes for her teacher to be from me.

Please pray for us. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jonesy Girl

Jonesy turned 7 with a splash this year. She wanted a swimming party and a sleepover. So, we booked a room at a hotel and honored her with both wishes. Oh my Jonesy girl, we love you so much!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

As you read this, please understand that I'm not trying to make a point.  Not trying to sway your politics.  I am often quick to form opinions about things, but my mind is running cirlcles right now and I'm just sharing the burden of my thoughts.
I saw something yesterday that disturbed me.  It has interrupted my thoughts every waking hour since I saw it.
On the south side of Ft Worth there is an abortion clinic near the railroad tracks.  I'm sure there is one in your town, though you may not realize what it is.  They are usually nondescript, inconspicuous buildings with no windows.  They usually don't have much in the way of signage other than a small sign by the door that says Women's Clinic or something to that effect. 
I've been by this particular clinic hundreds of times.  Occasionally there are quiet protesters across the street sitting in prayer.  Sometimes they have signs that say God Loves You and Your Baby, or You Have Another Choice, etc...  Sometimes there are protesters protesting against the protesters, but I've never witnessed any confrontations, chanting, yelling, or signs with hateful or condemning language from either side of the issue.
As I was bringing my train by there yesterday, I looked over and saw that the clinic had displayed a banner, the type that you'd see at a car dealership or furniture store announcing their current sale.  It was about 5' X 10', each corner secured to the building by a piece of rope.
It proclaimed, "Good Women Have Abortions".
I hadn't seen or heard this before, but it must be a popular slogan now because I found this picture online of a sign that looks just like the one I saw yesterday.
It unsettled me.
My mind has been disturbed by what those four words are saying.
Does it mean that to be good, a woman must have an abortion?
Is it an if-then statement?  If good women have abortions, then those who carry their babies to term and deliver them are bad?
Does it mean that those who are pro-life have sent a message to those who are not that points a finger and says, "Because of what you are choosing there is no good in you!"?  So do they feel the need to proclaim in self-defense that they are good?
I've thought about how precious my children are to me and how Leslie and I have rejoiced with every pregnancy.
I've thought of those who long and ache to be able to conceive, but have been unable.
I thought of my co-worker who was relieved and rejoiced that the woman he left his wife for had miscarried because he didn't really love her and didn't want the burden of a child to connect him to her.
I thought of Jesus telling the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."
I thought of St. Paul's letter to the Romans in which he said, "...God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
I've thought of how we live in a broken and cursed world in need of redemtion and resurrection.
I've thought about how there is good and bad in all of us, but no matter how bad or how good we are.....
What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.  As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; 
there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.” 

“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”  

“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
  ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”
  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
   Romans 3:9-18
The they is them and it is us.
It is you and it is me. 
Standing in need of a savior.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Time of the Preacher Resolutions for 2012

1. Be less abrasive in my writing. As I was recently advised, "If they don't know you personally, it may be hard for them to reconcile what you write in one post with what you write in the next." This one also made my personal day to day resolution list.

2. Do a short review of each book I read. This is a retry-resolution, but one that I'd really like accomplish this year.

3. Do another week-on-the-railroad post. Another re-resolution.

4. Record more of what my children say and do. They change so quickly and I forget too much.

5. Write about the past. Record memories from years gone by. Some of you might have to help me with accuracy.

How I Did With Time of the Preacher Resolutions for 2011

1.  Now that I have a laptop to take on the road with me, I resolve to not have extended lapses between posts.
Extended Lapses? I think it's a relative term so I'll give myself a pass on this one.  I did use my hotel time to write quite a bit, but I also spent most of the year on the extra board so I didn't stay out of town as much as I have in the past.
2.  I’ve decided to join facebook as a way of increasing traffic here at TOTP.
I heard the other day that facebk is now worth $50 billion.  When I went to the facebook site to check it out, I saw that they have a slogan:  “It’s free, and always will be.”  Then I started thinking.

With advertising revenue down and most subscribers more than six months behind in their subscription payments, I’ve decided to offer Time of the Preacher free to the public.  It is my hope that by joining forces with facebk, TOTP traffic will increase leading to increases in advertising revenue.  I plan to eventually be bought out by gougle or yahou.  Then I’m going to retire and move to Mexico.

I did join facebook.  Finally reached a total of 100 friends shortly before the end of the year.  Advertising revenue has remained flat.  Alas, no offers to buy me out yet and probably won't be anytime soon.  I'd be a public relations nightmare anyway.
Like many of you I have a lot of opinions about facebook.  I won't share those here, but as it relates to blogging, I like it better than I thought I would.  I was a little disappointed when so many bloggers quit blogging after they joined facebook.  I can understand their logic in doing so, but I found that being able to share new posts via facebook removed the pressure of having to post frequently enough so that readers didn't get tired of checking the site everyday and finding nothing new.
3.  I’m going to keep a record of the books I read and try to do a review of each one.  I’ve intended to do this in the past, but I’m going to resolve rather than intend it this time, so hopefully it will get done.
Nope.  Didn't happen.  My normal pace is to read a book or two a week.  That should have been at least 52 book reviews.  I think I did less than 5.  I'm going to re-resolve on this one though.
4.  I’m going to document a week of life on the railroad with as much detail as I can.  It is it’s own micro-culture and is a hard thing to explain.  I think if I can document a full week, then perhaps my friends and family will understand why I don’t know if I’ll be there tomorrow, but I fish a lot in the middle of the week.  
I did this.  If you missed it you can check it out here. 
5.  I’m going to take requests.  I’ve done this a time or two and am already working on the first one of 2011 (see the comments section from the Jan 1st post), but I’m going to open it up to all of you now.  If you have a request for an article you can email me or leave it in the comments section.
I responded to the handful of requests received.  I learned that it's not wise to resolve to do something that requires initiation by other people, so I won't resolve this one again, but I will still take requests.  Anything you'd like for me to write about?  You can leave a comment or email me at 
By the way, for those of you who have thought about commenting on a post but haven't because you don't want others to see it or you want to remain anonymous, I moderate all comments before they are posted for all to see. Just include your desire for that in your comment. 
6.  I resolve to resume the reader profiles that I started last year.
Big F on this one.  


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I've got some explaining to do...

I received the following comment yesterday regarding my Dec 12 post.
 I stumbled on your blog today and decided to check it out since we are acquaintances (though you probably don't remember me.) Like someone else mentioned you are a very good story teller. But I have to ask, do you really think that using derogatory names for people with disabilities enhanced the entertainment value of the story? "Whatever the PC term for water head is?" "Retard?" I honestly cannot believe that there are still people out there who use these terms, especially in such a public way as a blog. There are people who know and love people with disabilities who are very put off by these terms. A person with disabilities could even be reading this. I'll tell you what the PC term is: individuals with intellectual disabilities. You may not think it is worthwhile to use "PC" terms but, as a Christian do you really want to go around offending people? 

I'm genuinely sorry if I offend.  I confess that some of it is intentional.  Sometimes I go for shock value and get more value than I bargain for. Sometimes I point out the absurd by being absurd.   Sometimes I forget that people who don't know me read this stuff.
If you were to go back and read all of my posts from the last 4+ years you could probably find plenty to be offended about.  But I would also hope that somewhere in there you could find something to smile about, something to make you think.

 I've been told since I was a boy that I need to learn tact, that I need to be more sensitive.  That I need to know when to keep my mouth shut.  I understand those things about myself.  I'm working on it and the Lord is working on me.  To quote Kristofferson, I'm " a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction, taking every wrong direction on my lonely way back home."

My mother made this when I was a little boy.  It now hangs in my son's room.

On a related note, let me take this opportunity to clear up something else.  Many of you have asked why the title of this blog is Time of the Preacher.  
I am not a preacher.  I'm not trying to fool anyone into thinking I am. 
I borrowed the title from a song on Willie Nelson's album, "Red Headed Stranger."  It is a story of a flawed man whose desire to serve the Lord and the nature of the way he is come into conflict when life happens to him.  I can identify with that.  I think we all can.   

For those of you who've never heard it before....
For those of you unlikely to ever listen to the whole album or watch the movie, here is the wikipedia synopsis of "Red Headed Stranger":
A concept album, Red Headed Stranger is about a fugitive on the run from the law after killing his wife and her lover. The content consists of songs with brief poetic lyrics and arrangements of older material
The story begins with "Time of the Preacher", where the character evokes his love for his wife, whom he suspects is unfaithful. In the following song, "I Couldn't Believe It Was True", the infidelity is revealed. This leads to a short version of "Time of the Preacher," wherein the singer ends with the line "Now the lesson is over, and the killing's begun". The reaction of the husband is depicted by Nelson in a medley of "Blue Rock, Montana" and "Red Headed Stranger". The first song describes the double murder of the unfaithful woman and her lover by the Stranger, who states "And they died with a smile on their faces." This leads to the second song of the medley, which describes the grief of the Stranger. This section is followed by Nelson's cover of the 1947 Fred Rose, song "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain", where the fugitive laments the loss of his wife. In "Red Headed Stranger," the protagonist commits a subsequent murder—he kills a woman he believes is stealing his horse. The horse, to which he undoubtedly holds a sentimental attachment, had belonged to the Stranger's wife.
The story continues with the Stranger traveling south. In the song "Denver," the character falls in love with a woman he meets in a bar in town. One of the lines from "Blue Rock Montana" is repeated, with a variation: "And they danced with a smile on their faces". The following song, "Can I Sleep in Your Arms?", shows the desire of the Stranger for redemption and love. Next is "Remember Me", where he announces that his vows to his deceased wife are broken and he is free to love. The story ends with "Hands on the Wheel", which depicts the Stranger as an old man who is accompanied by a child, allegedly his grandson, and his new love. The song marks the end of the sorrow of the Stranger, and his redemption years later. The album ends with the instrumental song "Bandera".

An interesting scene from Edge of Darkness in which the characters discuss "Time of the Preacher"....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And As We Begin 2012....

I am glad to be done with 2011.  I had some good times, caught some fish, enjoyed my children and my wife, but it was also a year of tragedy, death, illness, broken marriages, and hurt for many who are dear to us.
Just because I can turn the page on my calendar doesn't mean that the pain from 2011 will end, but I do think that fresh starts are refreshing, a time to take a big breath and let it all go.  Then take another deep breath and let it all go.  Then take another deep breath. And hold it.  And feel hungry in a way that seems strange...
No, I'm not going to start smoking pot.
Until the summer of 2036.
The hardest part of 2011 was that while so many folks around me were going through the valley of the shadow, my little family had a great year.  I know that our time of trials is coming someday.  My personal resolution for 2012 is to continually root myself firmly in the Immoveable I Am. 
Our dear friend, Latayne, had this to say in response to the many comments and compliments about her faith as her husband, Dan, the greatest showman I know, has battled Guillain Barre Syndrome over the last month:

"Many, many of you have commented on my faith through this. I am honored by what you say. But I want to make it clear that what you are seeing is not personal strength nor a feature of my puny character. What you are seeing is a person who has been prepared by reading and believing God’s Word. When the storm came, I held onto that. Anybody can do that. You don’t have to be strong in a hurricane if you are attached to something immoveable.
When I wrote my book *The Hinge of Your History: The Phases of Faith,* I wondered if my strong assertions in that book would be put to the test. I have found what I said in peacetime to be true as well in the heat of battle. What Dan and I and all who love him are experiencing is a feature of the structure of faith: Promise, Contradiction and Resolution.
We are in Phase Two, and we know what to do. We know Who is holding onto us in this hurricane.
I urge you, if you do not have that knowledge and that foundation, now is the time! Do not wait until the flames of the furnace are at your feet.
“Put on the full armor of God”—truth, righteousness (from God), readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Spirit’s own sword of battle, God’s Word– so that “when the day of such evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

And yes, the rumors are true.  Fertile Myrtle and Potent Pete (aka Leslie and I) are expecting our fifth child sometime around the end of July.  We're honored that the Lord has seen fit to bless us with our children and entrust them to our care.  They are our joy and delight. 
We covet your prayers for our family and this pregnancy, as well as for those whom we love still hurting and recovering from the trials of the last year.

I'll post my 2012 resolutions for Time of the Preacher soon.  I came through on 3.5 of last year's 6 resolutions .  Pretty good for a batting average, not so hot as a free throw percentage. 

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