On this Thankful Thursday I am thankful for the gifts that The Rev. R. Marshall Blalock brings to my life. Marshall is the senior pastor of Charleston’s historic First Baptist Church. He is a staunch supporter of the Hamrick Lectureship and Say Something Nice Sunday. Both events have brought him some undeserved criticism. I like his response, “The members of First Baptist are sophisticated enough to decide for themselves.” When I first presented the idea of Say Something Nice Sunday to him, he was immediately enthusiastic. Without his blessing, the idea would have died on the spot. Marshall is a good cook, especially of Frogmore stew and red rice. These are great skills for a Baptist preacher to have. Marshall has a good sense of humor. He has a vision for missions that is contagious. We are a little bit worried about him since his only daughter will go away to college in the fall. First Baptist Charleston is an usually complex place with almost every viewpoint of Baptist identity represented and yet the overwhelming spirit of love for one another engulfs the congregation. To his great credit, he has managed to keep national politics out of the pulpit. The church honors the contributions of women having elected women as deacons since the late 1960s. There are dozens of activities taking place at all times. Marshall is required to perform a constant juggling act. In spite of the recession the church is doing well and Marshall remains enthusiastic about the future of the 329 year old church. On this Thankful Thursday I am grateful for the gifts that Marshall Blalock brings to my life.  The photograph is by Mervyn Gibson and  is used by permission.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the contributions of someone special to our lives and to tell her or him of our gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.