It was the same dream every night. She was standing at one end of an arena inside the center of a large barn, watching children as some of them rode horses and others groomed them. She watched for several minutes before making her way outside, where she saw three buildings in a U-shape around the barn.
Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Bell Ave. in Denton, shuttered its doors Sunday. Anyone seeking to worship there would have found an empty parking lot, no greeters, no worship about to begin.
A very lovely woman greeted me and my friend after the 9 a.m. worship service at Denton Bible Church, located on University Drive east of Texas Woman’s University. She eagerly asked, “What did you think about it?”
After attending multiple worship services this summer where children were excluded, it was a refreshing delight for me to be in one where children were obviously welcome and heard.
It didn’t exactly set out to be a time of worship. It was simply a social evening where I joined a friend, my friend’s daughter, her husband and their two children for a cookout.
LOS ANGELES — My first hint that this might be a radically different place to go to church was the fact that I had to make a reservation to attend.
MONTERREY, Calif. — We listened to the preliminaries while still outside the sacred space, the sanctuary. About 35 people ranging in age from 8 to mid-70s had shown up. Groups of two to four had slowly gathered, but did not enter into conversation with others.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — “Matter is mortal error.” I’m seeking to understand this phrase after attending worship at First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Thousand Oaks, California.
SAN DIEGO — “No children or babies are allowed in the sanctuary and the youth go to a different place.” With those words disturbingly ringing in my ears, since I think children should observe their parents engaged in worship, I was escorted into the cavernous “sanctuary” of The Rock Church (www.sdrock.com), the gigachurch founded by Miles McPherson, former defensive back for the San Diego Chargers and former drug addict, now turned motivational speaker/pastor/author.
Anyone close to news sources knows about the increasingly large number of unaccompanied children making their way to the United States through our permeable borders. They make the trek by God only knows what horrific means of transport.
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
Attendees at the annual Jehovah's Witness Summer Convention join in a song by signing in American Sign Language on Saturday at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses west of Denton. The participants in Denton were connected through a video feed to a larger gathering at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The three-day convention ended Sunday.
Eight years ago, I arrived in Krum as the next pastor of the United Methodist Church there. If I remember rightly, I told members on my first Sunday that we would not stay in their crumbling building any longer.
A friend of mine who has quite a knack for political analysis wrote this about the growing crisis in Iraq: “The problem is that elections don’t work very well in places that do not have a homogeneous population, especially if they have no history of democratic institutions. If you count forced relocation as a kind of genocide, what happened in Europe after the Treaty of Versailles poured democracy over everything was about as big an episode of genocide as the world has ever seen.”
The little girl, perhaps 5 years old, happily danced around the edge of the beautiful lake high up in Rocky Mountain National Park at the end of a long and grueling hike.
It’s summer vacation time for school children. And what will they do all summer? I see lots of criticism of the highly scheduled regime of our youth and children today, with their summers stuffed with camps and organized sports and other enrichment activities. This criticism is generally coupled with nostalgia for long, lazy summer vacations.
Our memories make us, inform us, shape us. They can fill us with the warm glow of love given and returned, of special joys and experiences. They can also burden us with a sense of obligation or make us cringe with shame.
What does it cost to do the right thing? Especially when doing the right thing means your whole life comes tumbling down around you? A whole life that is good, well-lived, and couples business expertise and success with the respect of the larger community?
Hundreds of people came — from homes and government offices, schools and businesses, Christian churches and Jewish ministries, the military, police and fire stations — to lift up special prayers Thursday at the Courthouse on the Square as part of the 63rd National Day of Prayer.
Denton will have two services Thursday on the National Day of Prayer. One service — scheduled at noon outside the Courthouse on the Square — is the most recognized in the area. It is led each year by Denton County Christian pastors, lay leaders and guests. The second service — an interfaith service at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church — will be led by pastors of the Denton Faith Alliance.
Today, the increasingly famous Denton Arts & Jazz Festival kicks off. I can hardly wait. Several years ago, I offered a message comparing the church to several different kinds of musical groups. I showed video snips ranging from genuinely awful beginner bands to superb choral/professional orchestra combinations.
It is my understanding that some in Texas want to enact a bill that would do the same thing as the controversial one in Arizona would have done.
On the first day of the Thin Line film and music festival, I joined a packed crowd to watch When We Were All Broncos, a documentary about the end of segregation in Denton.
Imagine this scenario: You and your family are, as are most people in the U.S., what is called “asset poor.” That is, if family income suddenly disappeared, you would have inadequate reserve cash to live even at the poverty level for three months ($1,962.50 per month for a family of four) and stay current with your “must-pay” bills.
Over Christmas, I saw Philomena, a well-done movie of evil masquerading as holiness, misguided good intentions, the need for closure, the temptation for revenge and the freedom of forgiveness.
I wrote this column last year and it turned out to be a huge hit on my blog, so I decided to run it again this year.
We all know what happened last weekend. Everything shut down. By Saturday morning, clergy were worriedly conversing with one another. Most of us have never canceled a church service before. We show up no matter what.
After months of anticipation, we have had the “reveal” at Krum First United Methodist Church. The Rev. Jessica Wright has been appointed to serve as the next pastor, starting Jan. 1, immediately following my retirement. There is much rejoicing here.
Holiday advice flows from every communication source, mostly on how to deal with too much forced togetherness of relatives and the stress of the next few weeks. And every year I ask, “If this is supposed to be such a fun time, why are we all so stressed?”