When Dust Returns to Dust, What Kind of Wealth Matters?

Posted Feb 22nd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


When Dust Returns to Dust, What Kind of Wealth Matters?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Wealth. How varied and strange are the uses of that word.
More often than not, when we use the word “wealth,” we’re talking about money, a necessary commodity, for sure. But measuring wealth is not as easy as it might seem. A boatload of financial wealth, if allowed to possess us, may amount to less than a nanoparticle of the wealth that matters, the sort that frees us. (Oh,...

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"Ah, Winter! How Do I Love Thee?"

Posted Feb 15th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Ah, Winter! How Do I Love Thee?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Ah, winter! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Reason #1: Christmas usually comes during winter, thus Reason #1 by itself would more than tip the scales.
Reason #2: Christmas singing (where “yours truly” gets to croon Christmas tunes) comes, yes, indeed, during Christmas which . . . well, refer to Reason #1.
Reason #3: My favorite days tend to be days during which I get to spend at least a...

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Thinking About Thinking Can Be Difficult

Posted Feb 8th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Thinking About Thinking Can Be Difficult
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve been trying to do some thinking—which is harder than I thought. I’ve tried it a few times before, but what’s made this latest attempt particularly difficult is that I’ve been trying to think about thinking.
This is Alan Jacobs’ fault. A Baylor University professor, Dr. Jacobs has recently written a book entitled How To Think. I figured he wrote it because as a college professor grading thousands of student papers, he sees...

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"Lord, How Often Do I Have to Forgive?"

Posted Feb 1st, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Lord, How Often Do I Have to Forgive?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The Apostle Peter once came to Jesus with a question: “Lord, how often do I have to forgive?” (Matthew 18:21).
“Lord,” he seems to be saying, “I’m a reasonable man. I want to do the right thing. If my brother or sister keeps sinning against me, how many times do I let it go by? Maybe, say, seven times?”
It seemed reasonable. It seemed fair to Peter. To be honest, it seems...

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Posted Jan 25th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


And So This Panda Walks Into a Café and . . .”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
One of the most delightful (“filled with delight”) books that I’ve ever been given (thank you, Betty Little!) is the “Runaway #1 British Bestseller” Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by author and journalist Lynne Truss. 
I find it interesting, surprising, and incredibly encouraging that, at least back in 2003 when this book was published, folks had the good sense to buy it and propel it to bestseller status. 
You...

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"There Is Nothing New Under the Sun"

Posted Jan 18th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“There Is Nothing New Under the Sun”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“There is nothing new under the sun,” writes the wise man in Ecclesiastes (1:9).
That argues for knowing something about what has already taken place under this old sun. And that means learning, and learning means reading. Three cheers, for sure, for math, science, and technology, but, however proficient we are with them, if we’re willfully ignorant of history, we’re just technologically advanced (and very dangerous) fools. 
You see, the same challenges keep...

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Some Questions as We Sail into the New Year

Posted Jan 11th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Some Questions as We Sail into a New Year
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Well, we’ve done it again. Managed to blunder on into another new year.
Hmm. I wonder why just now I said “blunder”? Amazing how just a few letters carelessly tossed together can affect the taste of the whole word’s salad.
I could just as easily have said “wander” or “stumble” or even “stagger.” None of the above would have been much nicer or more optimistic, I’m afraid, and I apologize for...

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God Comes to Us Not As We Wish We Were But As We Are

Posted Jan 4th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


God Comes to Us Not As We Wish We Were But As We Are
By Curtis K. Shelburne
At first the quotation I’m about to share may sound a bit cynical, but when you have a little time to think about it, I think you’ll agree with me that it is not only realistic and true, it is filled with hope.
You see, when God came into this world “in the flesh,” he was laid in a manger, a feed trough, in a...

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Thank God for Shepherds and Stargazers!

Posted Dec 24th 2017, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Thank God for Shepherds and Stargazers!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Thank the Lord for shepherds and stargazers!
While muckety-mucks in Rome were trying to figure out new and improved ways to shake even more shekels from the pockets of the subjugated populace and further filch the meager bread of the common man, the Highest of Kings was pretty much ignoring Rome. The most powerful of all earthly kingdoms was less than nothing compare to His. The true King was dispatching a troop of...

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May Christmas Open Our Eyes to Real Gold

Posted Dec 21st 2017, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


May Christmas Open Our Eyes to Real Gold
By Curtis K. Shelburne
It’s always good, but never better than during these holy days, to recognize the difference between genuine gold and the sort that blinds fools (and all of us when we’re foolish).
You probably remember that alchemy of old was the attempt to turn common metal into precious gold. Most blacksmiths, I suppose, were content enough to ply their useful trade and hone their craft, and their communities daily reaped the benefit...

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"Christmas Seems to Come Around Once a Week"

Posted Dec 14th 2017, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Christmas Seems to Come Around Once a Week”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Years ago, when a friend and church member who was well into his eighties told me that for him Christmas seemed to come around about once a week, I believed him.
But now, having tasted life at sixty, I’m getting Jay Butler’s point even more clearly. I might not say that Christmases seem to flit by “once a week,” but they surely do seem to come around far more quickly than...

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Some Thoughts on Cats and Dogs, Candles, and Romans 14

Posted Dec 7th 2017, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Some Thoughts on Cats and Dogs, Candles, and Romans 14
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Getting ready. That’s what Advent is about.
At church we lit the first candle of Advent this morning, and, as I write on this Sunday evening, I’m sitting in a quiet house, enfolded by the warm glow of the light from our Christmas tree.
I didn’t grow up observing Advent or, for that matter, any of the other seasons of the “Christian calendar.” I was unaware that there was such...

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From the Turkey to the Manger

Posted Nov 30th 2017, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


From the Turkey to the Manger
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’m writing on the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving. Though most of us still have a bit of turkey left, we’re well on the way through the “My, what a wonderful bird!” stage and on into the “Let’s slap a hunk or two of turkey between bread” stage. We’ll soon belly up to Stage III: “Okay, let’s grind up what’s left and make turkey salad sandwiches.” Not for me, thanks. I’m okay with...

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Thanksgiving: A Time for Giving Thought to Gratitude

Posted Nov 23rd 2017, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Thanksgiving: A Time for Giving Thought to Gratitude
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“The worst moment for an atheist,” writes G. K. Chesterton, “is when he feels a profound sense of gratitude and has no one to thank.”
Though any season is a great time for gratitude, Thanksgiving certainly lends itself at least to some thinking about the subject whether we’re believers, agnostics, atheists, or anything-else-ists.
Even an unusually intelligent golden retriever might do well to ponder on Thanksgiving morning the fact that somebody makes...

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Some Clues That the Holidays Are on the Way

Posted Nov 16th 2017, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Some Clues That the Holidays Are on the Way
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Well, it’s official! The holidays are on the way. The calendar says so, of course, but other clues abound.
I just spent a day singing Christmas songs for folks at a great Christmas craft bazaar. I’ve often fussed about “rushing the season” and worried that Halloween goblins and Thanksgiving turkeys are increasingly at risk of being run down by out of control and out of season Christmas sleighs, but a...

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