Explanatory Notes

I have been writing and posting this Pastor's Journal ever since arriving at First Baptist, fourteen years ago. I have written weekly reflections like this, in one form or another, for the past forty-five years.

It has occurred to me that maybe I should explain why and how I do it, so you will not misunderstand my motives.
  1. I write about my life like this, not because I think that I lead such an important or exemplary one, but because my story, my experience, is one of the few things I have to give you. There are my sermons, of course. And biblical counsel when you come for it-- but my life is what I have to share.
  2. You have a story, too, and I'm always hoping to inspire you to reflect upon and share yours just as I do mine. To look for things in any given moment through which God may be speaking to you. To start keeping a journal of your own, "a butterfly net for the catching of days." 
  3. I write every day. But only one per week actually gets posted. This, and my "Take Five" column on Friday gives me ample space to communicate my thoughts.
  4. Back in 2005 my main motivation for writing was to introduce myself to the church. To let you get to know me more quickly than we could make it happen between the pulpit and your seat in the congregation. I wanted you to realize that I am a relatively "normal" person with most of the trials and foibles that anyone else has. To make myself vulnerable and accessible. 
  5. I do not write about politics--what's the point in alienating you or discussing things about which you are as informed as I am, probably more so? I have definite political convictions, though, and will talk with you individually about them if you promise not to get angry or judge me. I will write about moral issues and clear biblical ethics and values. There will be times when these naturally collide with politics. Please do not get angry with me for            quoting Jesus. We are supposed to be following Him after all. 
  6. I will quote others in my journal from time to time. Writers, philosophers, actors, Presidents, etc. It doesn't mean that I endorse their lifestyle or their opinions. They may not be Christians or even fine people. But their comments are relevant to whatever it is I am writing about. I quote writers a lot, and tell of episodes in history, because I am attempting to support all of the teachers out there who are trying to impress upon their students the importance of knowing about these figures.  And Christians are not the only people who have something wise or significant to say.
  7. No one has to read my weekly offerings. It's not a requirement for church membership or even friendship. Audrey doesn't always read them either. If you're not interested, that's fine with me. 
  8. To be honest, I write these entries more for me than for you. Writing helps me to process what is happening in my life. Often I do not really know what I think about a certain thing until I write about it. 
  9. They form a record of my life that will help me remember it all when my mind starts to go. And, if I ever write any kind of memoir, my journals will provide all the raw data I will need. I may change a few of the names, and collapse some of the experiences to make it a somewhat interesting story--but I'll have a head start in writing it. 
  10. Anything I ever write about you--or any person I have known--will be positive. I don't write about my sins--or yours. It will always be PG rated and, hopefully, inspiring and encouraging.

Sometimes I think I'll stop writing my journal, at least for others to read. But I have realized that I am obsessive compulsive about it and cannot quit. I have been doing it so long by now I don't think that I could stop if I wanted to. Whenever something is happening, my first thought is to live and enjoy it in the moment. But my second thought is this: How can I write this and make it sound interesting for others?
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