In a "Deepfake" World, Who Can We Trust?

Posted Oct 13th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“In a ‘Deepfake’ World, Who Can We Trust?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I never thought this could happen, but I know now that it could. Imagine for a moment.
Imagine the losers of our last two presidential elections calling a joint press conference and apologizing to the American people. First of all, you’ll have to imagine politicians sincerely apologizing for anything, but stay with me on this.
Imagine words expressed with deep feeling: “We lost. We just flat lost. We ran lousy campaigns and...

Read More
 

"You Kids Close the Door!"

Posted Oct 6th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“You Kids Close the Door!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I confess.
I just committed three killings, and I enjoyed each one. Even as I write, I’m planning another. Maybe more. [Update: Yes, now four. Make that five.]
It’s barely 10:00 a.m. Murder and mayhem before lunch. And I’m still far short of Friday’s serial killing count: almost 100 shot and killed while I was grilling burgers.
When I stop to think about it, I have to admit that the creatures I delight in killing are...

Read More
 

"Our Father Wants to Give Us the Best"

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


“Our Father Wants to Give Us the Best”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.”
So writes the wise old Scottish preacher and author George MacDonald.
It’s true, isn’t it?
Our Father tells us that happiness lies in learning to be content with what we have, whether we have a little or a lot....

Read More
 

Sniffing Out Real News From the Garbage

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


Sniffing Out Real News from the Garbage
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve never considered myself to be much of a prophet—not in the popular sense of the word.
If you read the Bible books that bear the names of the prophets of old, you’ll find, as my Old Testament professor was fond of saying, “The Old Testament prophets were more ‘forth-tellers’ than foretellers.”
Yes, indeed, some amazing foretelling, by God’s power, is certainly there. But much more involved was “forth-telling,” proclaiming whatever message God...

Read More
 

"Step Out of the Traffic!"

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


“Step Out of the Traffic!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“Be still, and know that I am God!” says our Father through the psalmist’s words in Psalm 46. And he continues, “I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world” (46:10).
As usual, I love the way Eugene Peterson captures the feel of this in his Bible paraphrase The Message: “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
If...

Read More
 

Red River Rocking and the Community House Porch

Posted Sep 9th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Red River Rocking and the Community House Porch
By Curtis K. Shelburne
It’s so good to be back!
I’m sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the Red River Community House, Red River, New Mexico. It’s a Sunday evening, Labor Day weekend. This morning I sang and preached at the RRCH. Usually we’d do a concert in the afternoon, but COVID-19 resurgence concerns made that probably unwise this year. I’m just glad to be back at all. No surprise, Labor...

Read More
 

"That's Good, But Let Me Help You Make It Better!"

Posted Sep 2nd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“That’s Good, But Let Me Help You Make It Better!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
My good friend Darrell Bledsoe, whose list of incredible accomplishments as a music producer, musician, choral director, songwriter, arranger (and the list could go on) is more than impressive, was my friend before he was the producer of my own four albums of music.
Early on in our really enjoyable journey together, as we were beginning work on the first album, Darrell smiled and said, “Curtis, I’ll have a...

Read More
 

Compound Interest and the Health of Souls

Posted Aug 26th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Compound Interest and the Health of Souls
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve got a fascinating fact for you, but first, a question. (Stop me if you’ve heard this.)
If someone (with money to burn or semi-truck loads of pennies) were to give you the choice of taking either one million dollars in cash right now, or a penny, one cent, that would be doubled every day for one month (30 days), which would you choose?
Let’s stipulate that no calculators are allowed. Take all...

Read More
 

The Fraternity of the Furrowed Brow

Posted Aug 19th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


The Fraternity of the Furrowed Brow
By Curtis K. Shelburne
What does it mean when you lose your smile?
I once heard a “face reader,” a fellow who works with jury consultants, businesses (hiring personnel), and large corporations say that 40% of our facial “terrain” is inherited but 60% is what we’ve unconsciously made of it. He and his colleagues claim to be able to tell a fair amount about personalities and character traits by “reading” faces.
Oh, I know. Part of this sounds...

Read More
 

"Back in the Saddle Again"?

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


“Back in the Saddle Again”?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“I’m back in the saddle again!”
Sometime during the COVID-19 pandemic (first edition, 2020), once we got back to in-person worship at our church, I started singing a “special” song each morning as sort of a “call to worship.” Last Sunday, I found the “saddle song” quite tempting (but no).
As I mentioned in my last column, even though we’d taken prudent precautions, my wife and I managed to jump the line and get in...

Read More
 

A Column Written in COVID-19 Isolation

Posted Aug 5th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Column Written in COVID-19 Isolation
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The past week or two have been, for my wife and me, surreal.
Having done everything we prudently could do not to contract COVID-19, we managed to welcome the little beastie aboard. Delta variant. Nasty guest.
“Prudence,” I think, involves a needle times two (and, if a booster, Needle #3, is offered, yes, please, ASAP!). I’m glad most of my friends are happily inoculated. I love deeply more than a few who have chosen...

Read More
 

"Time for Bed, Child! Go to Sleep!"

Posted Jul 29th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Time for Bed, Child! Go to Sleep!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
When I learned that CBS’ 60 Minutes news program was doing a story on sleep, I was interested. Sleeping is one thing I’ve always been really good at. But if anyone has pointers to help my technique . . . So I made sure to watch what was a fascinating program, and I learned a lot.
In 1980, a study was done using rats who were kept awake indefinitely. After five days,...

Read More
 

"At 50, Everyone Has the Face He Deserves"

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


“At 50, Everyone Has the Face He Deserves”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“At [the age of] 50,” writes George Orwell, “everyone has the face he deserves.” Well, that kinda hurts, largely because I suspect it’s true.
Not that long ago, I happened to rush past a mirror at church, shot it a quick glance, and then almost broke my neck in the subsequent double-take. Somebody else was looking back from that mirror!
I might not have been particularly surprised to see one of my...

Read More
 

"Trapped on a Ledge, a Guy Prayed, and..."

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


“Trapped on a Ledge, a Guy Prayed, and . . .”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Question: What is the proper attire for a person attending a mask-burning event?
Answer: a smile.
I laughed when I learned that our local senior citizens’ center was hosting a “mask-burning” a few weeks ago. It was partly “tongue in cheek.” Ditching your mask is very helpful if you’d like folks to know that your tongue is in your cheek.
Those good folks really weren’t engaging in civil disobedience,...

Read More
 

Mercy Received Should Also Be Mercy Given

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


Mercy Received Should Also Be Mercy Given
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Some things never change. Most things, in fact. “In times like these,” said one wise man, “it helps to remember that there have always been times like these.” Yes, and people, too.
  While no one is absolutely one or the other, people here will always be by default basically cold people or warm people, institution people or “people” people, and, at heart, grace people or “law” people.
  I remember a Bible...

Read More