The Dragon of Monroe County
Tellico Plains is a charming village at the bottom of Tellico Mountain. And in this village there lives a dragon. I’ve seen it. It lives, breathes, grows, and waits for unsuspecting motorcyclists to pass its home on the Cherohala Skyway. The dragon’s identity depends on us. It depends on our ability to perceive its “dragoness.” We use all that we know about dragons to see this creature. Continue reading
I miss you. I miss my church family. I miss Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, cleaning the bathrooms, and even the rowdy UMYF. I miss you.
I didn’t quite realize when I suddenly accepted a job in East Tennessee how rarely I would be home or how much I would miss being with you. How often have we sung John Fawcett’s great hymn, “Blest Be the Tie that Binds?”
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
Do people ask you why you have stayed at your church? I have fumbled through this answer before, but I’ve never told the whole story. I’ve talked about the love and emotional strength I borrowed from all of you during my divorce. I’ve described the long, unwavering, practical support you brought when I broke my ankle. I’ve reflected on the long hard slog of my dissertation and the encouragement I received when things were not going well. You put up with a lot of whining over that one. Continue reading
One of the stations in our sacred space invited our visitors to step out onto the kitchen porch, gaze at the stars, and thank God for the beauty of the earth. Our visitors stood in the cold, on our back porch, and searched at the sky. Looking for a star. The star. Most evenings, the sky was quite overcast. It was hard to find any star, much less, follow one.
As the youth were setting up this station, three deer were grazing in the playground. The kids were thrilled to see these graceful creatures, always reminders that even in our highly developed city, peaceful, beautiful, wild animals might appear, always reminders that God is the Creator. But it was hard to see the stars. So it was not clear what we should do.
I have to admit that my New Year’s resolutions are not all that new. This will sound familiar to my friends and my family:
I am going to get organized.
I am going to be on time.
I am going to eat healthfully.
I am going to exercise regularly.
I am going to be more responsible about money.
I am going to stop wearing goofy clothes.
Now, why do I think this year will be different?
Because something is different this year. Continue reading
When we had a giving campaign years ago, I remember Shari and Jim describing how they created their budget, and the first thing they paid was their tithe to the church. That made an impression on me, and I began making the same habit. Now that I do most of my banking online, it’s even easier! I can give my minimum amount to the general budget regularly each month automatically. It is the easist and most rewarding way to give. When I can give more, I can write a check, but I always know that the base giving is taken care of before I worry about bills and other obligations. I never worry about being on vacation or missing what I pledge for any reason. The credit union does it for me! I highly recommend electronic giving! It flies through the air!
Our church website is an amazing tool. A wonderful thing happened as a result of our website. The new Young Adult Sunday School Class is studying 10 Things I Hate About Christianity, and the author of the book, Jason Berggren sent us a very encouraging comment. Go to hickorybendumc.com and read Jason’s reaction to our book study.