Monday, September 24, 2012


My sister was in for the weekend and we enjoyed dinner at my nephew’s yesterday afternoon, helping her celebrate her 70th a few months early. Although she lives just outside Miami, she remains a Bengals fan, so, along with some quality conversation, we also watched them win one by the skin of their nose. Usually I visit the nephew’s church with them when she is in town, but with such a long interim between our scheduled visits to the Detention Center, my apology was all they got concerning an invitation there. It’s a new “off-shoot” of the one they’ve attended in Cincinnati for years now, the three of them strongly invested into its ministries and outreach, This one is on the Kentucky side of the river, closer to home, a huge business-gone-bankrupt building remodeled for worship, attendance already well over what they expected at first. Beth doesn’t like it, their doctrinal values too far from her own upbringing. I understand; but admit to hearing great sermons both times we have gone with them. That said: with our own pastor gone again last night, one of the preachers who sit in abundance among the members of our congregation had been given the pulpit and, in truth, the experience took me back a few decades. A Tennessee-Alabama native originally spawned in central Florida, there’s no mistaking such roots when he opens his mouth to speak. Without resorting to jokes, he manages to insert humor into his message without losing your belief that what he speaks comes from his heart; and all that’s missing from old-time holiness is the “hack”, that vocal gasping for breath in between every other sentence. In truth, I found myself standing with him several times, giving him my support from the balcony. It was an up-and-down, yoyo agreement, however, for while his words pointed to a religious system off-track, he continually indicated it was the “other guys”, not us, who stood guilty of his indictment; and when, nearly forty-five minutes into it, still just telling it as he sees it, the man began to insist that being “born-again” meant a believer no longer sinned in any form or fashion, this fellow just left. From the start, there’s never been a doubt in my head about “amazing” coming far short in describing God’s grace; but, in like manner, one might just as well have trouble searching out an adequate adjective for His patience with us. We are, indeed, a “peculiar” people……

1 comment:

  1. That we are! Very peculiar. You know, fear that God would turn his back on me the first time I screwed up, was what kept me from turning to Him for a long time. It was a literal leap of faith into His arms that I was His for keeps.