Not all indigenous customs honorable

Curtis K. Shelburne The last thing I wanted to do on a recent trip to San Antonio was to have to think much. Thinking is work and I do it poorly. I just wanted to relax. But my wife and I took a tour to a couple of the vintage San Antonio missions, and—here’s the […]

Preparing for marriage more important than preparing for wedding

Curtis K. Shelburne The setting Jesus chose for his first miracle is almost as amazing as the miracle itself. He changed water to wine at a wedding feast (John 2). I’m told that when my maternal grandparents decided to get hitched, they first hitched a horse to a buckboard and bounced and rattled down the […]

Start of the year good time to reflect on past, future

Curtis Shelburne Well, here we find ourselves again in January, and maybe some reflection is in order. On the one hand, author Thomas Mann is right: “Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when […]

Christmas more than just a day

Curtis Shelburne “Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to something beyond all emotions and feelings,” writes Henri Nouwen. “Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to a hope based on God’s initiative, which has nothing to do with what I think or feel. Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine.” Christmas is […]

Faith source of joy for holidays

Curtis Shelburne You think it’s cold here? I just got back from the North Pole and … Well, actually, it wasn’t that cold. And it wasn’t even north. It was more southwest. From Lubbock, Texas, to Brownfield, Texas. On the Polar Express train, complete with a conductor and hot chocolate and elves and Santa himself, […]

Stillness required when listening to God

Curtis K. Shelburne “Be still, and know that I am God,” urges the Lord through the psalmist (Psalm 46:10). And the prophet writing in Lamentations 3:26 observes that “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” God seems to be saying, “My child, take some time to be still and be […]

Wind should not ruin holiday

Curtis K. Shelburne I wish the wind would let up. I don’t like it. I can deal fairly well with hot or cold, rain or shine, and just about as many varieties of weather as you care to mention. (Okay, I admit that I don’t care for swamp weather: 90-plus degrees and 90-plus humidity. Given […]

Fame not necessary to impact lives

Curtis Shelburne Like most folks who were alive at the time, I remember exactly where I was when we got the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. I was just six years old, but I remember. Like most of you, I remember where I was and what I was doing when on […]

Spiritual growth not simple, easy

Curtis Shelburne DO YOU WANT YOUR CHURCH TO GROW SPIRITUALLY?” queried an item in my e-mail in-box today. I can be a little contrarian, and since the only option given for me to click on was a “Yes,” my first reaction was, “No, not really, but thanks.” Well, duh! Aside from the fact that it’s […]

The Greatest’s place not at table

Curtis Shelburne I want to ask you a question: Where’s your place at the table? You’ve got one, don’t you? I don’t mean a table; I mean, a place. I’m almost certain that you do. There’s a place at your dining room table that’s your place. It’s not that you can’t physically sit somewhere else […]

Time away good for the soul

Curtis Shelburne It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Though I love my usual “neighborhood,” it was nice to wake up today in another one: Robert Lee, Texas. It’s the Semiannual Pastors of the Shelburne Variety Robert Lee Ministry Conference which I’ve been religiously attending now for thirty years or so. It’s by far the […]

Honoring God more important than Earth

Curtis Shelburne I’m afraid I’ve discovered that I’m not very “Green.” Whenever we fall to self-righteousness, we are religious about it, but overtly religious people have in no way cornered the market. Chest-thumping of any sort is every bit as effective as Bible-thumping if you want to be a self-righteous jerk. All you need is […]

Cemeteries help keep life in proper perspective

Curtis K. Shelburne I’m weird, and I know it. But I sort of enjoy spending some time in cemeteries. I’m talking, of course, about the times when I want to be there, not the times when I have to be. Big difference. There’s been way too much of the latter recently, it seems to me. […]

God’s instructions important to read, understand

Curtis K. Shelburne I just bought a new weed-eater. The old one was sputtering along just fine in excellent two-cycle engine form, but two of my sons have just moved into a different house and needed weed-whacking equipment. In a gesture of paternal magnanimity, I donated the old weed-destroyer to the cause. I didn’t tell […]

Ideas, good or bad, lead to consequences

Curtis K. Shelburne The amazing wordsmith G. K. Chesterton once observed that ideas (presumably, bad ones) can only be conquered by other ideas (presumably better ones), and, alas, “modern politicians have no ideas.” Ain’t it the truth? And when they do flirt with an idea or two, they seem to latch onto only really bad […]

Bible God’s “Google”

Curtis K. Shelburne It boggles my mind to wonder how I ever got by without Google. Every day, multiple times, I “google” some word or phrase looking for a trickle of the amazing flood of information available on the Internet. I chomp down on a Tootsie Roll Pop late one evening and pop off a […]

God’s warnings require our attention

Curtis K. Shelburne It had to be a government production, the sign I saw. Only a glassy-eyed bean-counting bureaucrat with common sense completely and laboriously expunged by years of mind-numbing training could have produced it. (Your tax dollars at work.) Posted above a busy tramway, the sign proclaimed in large letters: TOUCHING WIRES CAUSES INSTANT […]

‘Nice’ Pharisees lack compassion

Curtis Shelburne We need to ponder long and often the particularly fascinating truth that our Lord Jesus was the sinless “friend of sinners.” “Sinners in denial,” Pharisees past and present, are seriously bothered by that. “Confessed sinners,” past and present, who know they fall terribly short, love him deeply for it. Only two types of […]

For everything there is a season …

I love seasons. And I’m thankful indeed to live in a place where we really have them. I like summer, though it is not my favorite. The best thing about summer, I think, is that since kids and teachers have at least a few weeks off, life even for the rest of us tends to […]

Future of ministry now

On my desk for months has been a little book I’ve finally opened. It has been eye-opening. In the Name of Jesus was written by priest, professor, and writer Henri Nouwen and includes his “Reflections on Christian Leadership.” Originally published in 1989, the book was Nouwen’s look ahead to Christian ministry in the twenty-first century. […]