Monday, December 30, 2013

William Easton

Talk about an enjoyable guy who happened to be a pastor for close to four decades.

Bill Easton is that kind of guy.

Articulate, friendly, upbeat, and more.

That's Bill.

I enjoyed working with him on councils and committees in Pontiac, MI., and beyond.

At 69 he was rushed to the hospital December 20th and died yesterday, according to reports.

When I heard the news on WWJ on the way home from Livonia, I whispered a prayer and relished memories of this spirited leader.

At Clergy Village and the assisted living facility, Bill's dog accompanied him to see ailing pastors.
Father Tom Villerot lit up when he he'd see the dog.  Many would.

I will miss him.

Many will, I'm sure.

He was a pastor of pastors who seemed to love life to the fullest.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Time, New Man, Woman

Each new year, in fact, each new day, gives me the chance to be a new person with a fresh start.

At boot camp, the three-decades-old inmate is struggling with his three-month program.  "I need prayers and divine help," he noted to me the other day.

At the point of struggle one may want to quit.


There's a breakthrough there somewhere in that challenge to be the new person.

All of Scripture speaks of keeping one's eye on the prize, the end product, the goal, heaven, for sure.

2014 can be such a year.

But, detail will be necessary for that to happen in any one of us.

It's required.


Specifically, how will I make this new year different and renewing?


I told my chiropractor I wanted to put into practice the O positive blood-type diet of no gluten, no potatoes, no pork.

Like a workout, he adjusted my bones.

I felt the ache.

"It's all hard in there," he said.

Come every four days, he recommended.

I'll work on this project.

Indeed, I will starting today.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Why I Believe in Christmas


Because I need to believe in it.

Its power and presence I cannot afford to be without.

Its infectiousness persuades me.

With Charles Dickens, among other classics on Christmas, this tale grips my faith, and, my imagination like no other story.

Christmas' miracle of sharing astounds me.

It grabs at my heart strings.

It captures my attention daily when I'm awake to witnessing its contagion everywhere when others help, seek out the lost, assist the needy, and, helps the neighbor ousted from his home earlier today in Roseville, Michigan.

Without Christmas, this culture would be less.

Others would be less also.

And, the world.

And, me.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Global War on Christians

They're indisputably the most persecuted religious body on the planet, according to John Allen in his, The Global War on Christians, a tome just published.

Allen details a litany of heroes in this modern era that matches anything in the church's long history.

The staggering story of Catholic Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa is told here when he died in 1998 amid the engulfing wars in the Congo and Rwanda.

The archbishop was shot in the street.

Referencing numerous cites, Allen notes how Christianity suffered 45 million martyrs in the 20th century alone. 

These were mostly due to communism or Nazism, and more.

This heartbreaking narrative that would anger any human being has me wondering why there is such silence in the face of such horror today.

Allen's trek of such atrocities among Christians is not a rant on Islam.  This is not all about evil deeds of Islamists. 

Persecutors of Christians have been secular, also, fueled by Marxist-Leninist ideology.

However one views them, these days are special times of sharing, healing and hope in the holidays.

They are promises, even pledges.


They are.

Through six decades of life, I have learned that hope helps people carry on amid tragedy, heartache and more.

When the waitress at Big Boy's earlier today told me that her husband broke his back when he fell of a ladder trimming a tree, I knew she carries hope in her heart.

She does.


It's that evergreen virtue, or strength these days.

It is.

It sees people through storms in their daily living.

And, amid darkness needed even for a little bit of light to see through, this hope shines in the season, these holidays.

It does.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sex Abuse

Another case of sex abuse.

Now, John Nienstedt, a native of Detroit, is charged.

When will this end?


Amid allegations, the case is being investigated in Minneapolis, while its archbishop stepped down.

While clerical rumors have a way of swirling, this latest announcement continues an unhealed wound for my church.

What's the answer to this sweeping scandal that parents, for the most part perpetrate, but cannot be charged?

I don't know.

I do know that it breaks my heart.

And, opens up once more, this unhealed wound.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snow's Way of Changing Things

The first big snow storm Sunday sent schedules in a tizzy, reports show.

Three events were changed for the afternoon when more of the wet, white stuff still powdered the Detroit area, concluding Royal Oak, Roseville and Harrison Twp.

So, not wanting to endanger life, I decided to go to the baptismal party at Big Jack's in Roseville.
I'd forget the other two events, including a house party, and, a Knights of Columbus event on the other side of town.

I'm glad I chose to be at Mason's baptismal party.

Memories of Mason, and his future, were written on tags placed on a memory tree.

Mine read:

"Stay close to your family and God," I noted.

It's a recipe worth guiding the young lad's life, I thought.

How could anyone lose with God and family, anyhow?

A crowd ate home-made soup, cabbage rolled over beef, and more Polish dishes that Mason's mom made through the night after a long trek home from the mountains where Tamara and her husband drive rigs and truck beds for a living.


Who would have though that this Christian initiation rite could mean so much to young Mason who relished all the attention, and, to me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Season

Later today a crowd will gather for a first holiday event of the season.

We will discuss how faith traditions promote peace during the holidays.

With Nelson Mandela in mind and heart, that should not be such an arduous task.

Be peace.

That's what I promote.

Show it with my life more than with any words I can capture.

Like Pope Francis, Time's person of the year, he acts on the stage of life and seems to use few words.

Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders will 'break bread' and converse about these holy holidays.

We will.

It is a always good to be with them.

Monday, December 9, 2013

All Is Calm, All Is Bright

It really is!

Calm comes from within.

It reminds me of the guy who was thirsty on a pilgrimage and handed a lad a $20 bill waiting for change after asking for a bottle of water.

The lad wondered what the pilgrim wanted.

"Where's my change," he said.

"Change sir, change comes from within," the lad responded.

It does.


No one can rob my calm, or, make me angry for that matter during these busy and often-time frenetic days of December.

Calm down.

I like to remind myself of those words.

They work.

With practice, they do.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Getting Hands Dirty

So, the pope wants his clergy to get their hands dirty.

That's a heralding request.

For sure.

Out in the streets with the outcasts?

I don't know.

Certainly, I concur.

But, will clergy do this?

I'm unsure.

Clergy aren't use to visiting the down and out, let along those marginalized, and more.

Practice, however, will move them along with the mission of Pope Francis.

And, some thunderous support from the Maker.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela

When resentment could have been his, Nelson Mandela chose inclusion.

In his Long Journey Home, he stands tall in stature, as perhaps the most remarkable man to live after being imprisoned for 27 years.

Asked if he forgave those who imprisoned him so long, he said he had to, otherwise he'd still be in jail.

Mandela raised human dignity across the globe.

A heart for generosity and more, Mandela is a model for the world.

For sure.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Going to the Dogs

Walking dogs can be fun!

Running freely in the spirit of joy is how I describe my little Chiwauwa  who is only months old.

Cara loves to run with no one and nothing stopping her pace.

She enjoys chasing Woofie, my Bichon Frise.

Cara also likes biting and pulling Woofie's ears, legs and fur.

Their spontaneity is a learning experience also.

With little thought, Cara goes!  Woofie, on the other hand, is more cautious and deliberate.

Dogs will be dogs.

A dog's life.

Let 'em be!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Hopes, Helps

While some people idolize these seasonal holidays, I find it best to keep them all in perspective in order to survive well.

There are 364 other days besides Christmas and New Year's.

When one makes either of these days such an idol, one is doomed to fail to meet expectations.

Wanting all in the family to be home for Christmas is unrealistic.  And, it turns out to be a disaster when high expectations rule.

Securing seasonal serenity involves keeping all times and seasons in balance without raising one's levels of hopes so high that no one is able to meet that stretch.