Posts Tagged friends

Great Reception at Charleston Baptist Church Forever Young Seniors

There is one thing all Baptists have in common. We like to eat and fellowship. You can never go wrong by attending a Baptist Pot Luck meal and the Forever Young Seniors at Charleston Baptist Church are no exception to the rule. These folk have a great time together.

If the truth be told, they do not need a guest speaker. Their fellowship is enough to carry them through. Today they were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. My friend Randy Moody took a fair amount of grief over his green Dollar Tree hat.

I was flattered to be their quest speaker for the meeting. They were extremely receptive and polite while I talked about what I learned while writing, Our Father: Discovering Family. They even bought copies of that one and, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. We had a good exchange of ideas. I always have more fun around church people. My friend Phyllis Haynes from First Baptist was also there.

Randy Moody introduced me. Randy, Sarah, his wife, and I have been friends for more than thirty years. They are marvelous Christians who make life better for all who know them.

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Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

I am holding onto my theme for the New Year. Gratitude sums up how I feel about my life. I have so much to be grateful for. All I need do is look around me and I know that I am blessed. I have a loving wife, children and grandchildren that I am proud of, a sister and brother-in-laws that bring joy, and nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews that are wonderful. I have friends that keep me centered and that spur my spiritual and mental growth. They are wonderful story tellers. I am surrounded by creative people. My neighbors are thoughtful and kind people.

The church I attend has sustained me through the deep valleys in my life. The writing group I attend encourages me to try new things. Although no one enjoys going to see the doctor, we like and trust ours. Brandy and Jan, care givers for Carol and helpers to me, are simply wonderful.

My friend, Dr. Monty Knight, recently said when speaking of the motion he has lost in his right arm, “I am not unhappy that I can no longer do these things. I am happy that I got to do them.”

As another year approaches I want to develop an attitude of gratitude and practice it more lavishly. For one who was not supposed to survive, I am here looking forward to what lies ahead. Yes, there are still things on my bucket list, but I am grateful for the buckets I have already filled and for all of those wonderful people that helped me fill them.

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Friends and Family Give Life to Living

“I don’t complain about what I can no longer do. I am thankful that I got to do them at all. I have enjoyed so many blessings.” This was my conversation with my friend Dr. Monty Knight on our way to lunch with our lunch buddies. He has blessed my life in so many ways. This is what friends do. They are there when you need a friend to remind you of what you believe.

Several years ago, my son Michael, downloaded a group of my favorite hymns. He gave me the collection, “The Gospel According to Dad.” What a gift. I can play it while I am at my computer and be reminded of what has been given to me. Faith passed down through the generations grows stronger as the years mount up. It is amazing that my son knows me so well. He chose the selections.

When the telephone rings just after 9 a.m. every morning, I know without looking that it is my daughter, Suzanne, just checking in to see how my morning is going or to reassure herself that I made it through the night. By the same token my friend, Gene, will call about 9:15 in the evening. My sister checks in on a regular basis.

When my friends Bob and Rose Boston were on their way to Mt. Pisgah to celebrate their wedding anniversary, he called to let me know that they were passing the signs to Woodruff, my home town. He said that they have a big sign posted, “Home of Mitch.” Preachers can tell some mighty whoppers.

I can count on my friend, Joyce, to call to tell me about an unusual word or a great quote she has found. She and I share a great love of quotations. I look forward to her uplifting conversation. Every Christmas my friend Sally will send me the big print edition of, Daily Guideposts Devotionals. What a treasure.

If I miss being in church, I know that Clyde will call to tell me how much I was missed. His calls almost make it worth missing an occasional Sunday.

From time to time just when I need it Carol, my wife, will tap me on the shoulder and say, “You’ll be alright, Mitch or she’ll sing, “You are My Sunshine.”

I pray that you have some of these folks in your life. These are the angels that we are promised. They bring joy and thanksgiving to the heart.

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Mission Is Who We Are – Say Something Nice Sunday and Beyond – Bishop Stacy Sauls

Mission Is Who We Are

Monday, May 4, 2015

Say Something Nice Sunday and Beyond: It’s What Friends Do

Mitch Carnell, a Baptist minister friend of mine is on a crusade to promote “Say Something Nice Sunday”. He became discouraged as denominational conflicts rage, both among Baptists and ourselves, at the lengths we Christians go to say nasty things to hurt others. He’s right, of course.

Say Something Nice Sunday is planned this year for June 7, and it involves two challenges to promote civility for 30 days:
• To “refrain from saying anything ugly, demeaning or derogatory to anyone in my church, workplace and/or daily activities”
• To “say something nice, uplifting or encouraging to at least one person every day”

“Say Something Nice Sunday” doesn’t’ sound like something Episcopalians would buy into. Too bad. Might we say instead that it has something to do with what we would call respecting the dignity of every human being. And then it begins to hit home.

Of course, we see all around us that “Say Something Nice Sunday” might be just what we need, especially in the lead-up to General Convention, that once-every-three-years event when we have the chance, for good or ill, to be most true to who we are. The initial signs are not too encouraging. Already it is brothers and sisters who see no inhibition in the love ethic to saying the nastiest of things, the snarkiest of things in the name of humor, the most misrepresented things to advance one’s agenda at the expense of someone else, on listservs and blogs, some disciples seeking to cause harm to other disciples. If proclaiming the Good News is part of what it means to be a Christian, the things we say about each other electronically present a picture that would not make one very much want to be a part of it. If I didn’t know us better, it would make me conclude that we are one angry, maybe vicious, group of people.

So my pledge is that the communications efforts of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on behalf of The Episcopal Church, will take the Say Something Nice Sunday pledge. We begin now. We will go beyond 30 days. We will neither say anything ugly, demeaning, or derogatory nor will we provide a platform for those who do. We will be the gold standard in Christian communication and not substitute the standards of secular politics for the commandment of Jesus, which happens to be the Gospel for this Sunday: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. . . . You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn. 15:12-14). I know we’re all human, and maybe it’s best to temper our expectations, even of love. But isn’t the essence of being human according to Jesus to be a friend, even by grace a friend of God?

Maybe I’m wrong about that. Church politics always makes me wonder. Surely General Convention is not an occasion for such.

Just 30 days. That’s it. Thirty days that happen to include General Convention. Is it too much to ask—to be friends for 30 days, friends of Jesus?

Bishop Sauls contributed a chapter to my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. Smyth&Helwys. 2009.

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