August, 2006

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Thoughts about the weekend of Aug. 26

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

My wife of nearly 45 years celebrated a birthday this past weekend.  We went to a fishfry and Bluegrass Gospel concert in the pavilion at Hebron Baptist Church. (See EthicsDaily column on this church from a few years back concerning a similar event.)  The food was excellent.  But there was no pound cake.  Over the years I have learned that it is wise to top off 10 or 12 pieces of catfish with a nice slice of pound cake.  My theory is that it soaks up the greese.  (Jackie does not agree.  She notes that the basic recipie for a pound cake includes a pound of butter.)

The music was provided by a local group, Speed’s Mill, and by The Kids, a trio of their kin who are all sub-teens.  The are excellent. Recently, they opened for Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver at a concert in Tuscaloosa.

About 75 or 80 persons made up the audience.  The church is prospering and growing.  My thought is a loving church draws people because we all want to love and be loved.

Sunday, I traveled to Argo First Baptist Church near Jasper, Alabama, to help them celebrate their 75th anniversary.  I commented on the brief history that appeared in the bulletin of the church for that event.

  • The roots of the church were found in the endeavor of two women in the community to create a Sunday School of the children in the area.  No missionaries.  No approval from anyone.  No big investment.  Just a couple of women with a passion for children and for their salvation.  My reading of the origins of many churches has often revealed a similar story.
  • It is important for rural churches to keep a focus on children.  Sometimes I have seen churches grow old in their membership because they were unwilling to reach out to love children who were not”church broke.”
  • To seek to form a church in the depths of the Great Depression must have been an act of great faith. Thousands of churches closed in the 1930s, particularly in rural places.
  • Today Argo FBC worships in a fine, well-appointed brick building.  But for most of its life, it had a “make do” existence.  But it was committed to its passion and God, in his time and in his way, has blessed.
  • The connection of the church with its association of churches has been a blessing.  At times the association and the State Convention have provided help to get it past a time of crisis. Not a great lot, but what was needed.
  • The congregation celebrated its faithfulness for 75 years and pledged itself to be faithful in the years to come.

Back to Bible posts

Friday, August 25th, 2006

I got started with what I hoped would be a series of comments on rural related Scriptures as provided in The Message version of the Bible back at the first of the year.  This was tragically interrupted when four church buildings in our area were burned by arson.  Since then I have devoted a lot of time to linking those who wanted to help the churches with pastors and church leaders.

Now, with one of the church back in its restored building, another planning to be back in the first of October and the remaining two in good temporary housing and planning to break ground on new building this fall, I want to resume this effort.

I will resume in the 3rd Chapter of Genesis with this observation/ question–are the curses upon humankind and on the land recorded there a theological or a sociological statement? Are these prescriptive or observational statements? By this I am wondering if the pain of child birth, weeds, and toil in the soil are somethings that God has done to humankind, or is God simple describing some of the consequences of our sin?  Or are these statements which include both a curse and a description of our lives.

The Field of Churches

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

More than 15 years ago I helped write a book about pastoring multiple churches for Southern Baptist church planters. It proved to be a “best giver”. Recently, I have had some inquires about the possibility of the book being revised, updated and republished. Since it was a book that was initially intended for Southern Baptists, and the requests were coming from others who have different experiences and perspectives, it seemed that the wisest approach was to make the original text available to a broad cross-section of persons who might comment about the topic in each chapter and then a new version could be produced. Since I have not been working in this area for some time and others of the writers are retired and/or dead, this seemed to be a good way to go.

The original text of the book is to be found in the following links:Field of Churches: Introduction\r\n\r\nChapter One