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

Posted Dec 7th, 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, 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, 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, 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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The Day the Healer and Real Healing Came to Bethesda

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


The Day the Healer and Real Healing Came to Bethesda
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
What a surreal sight it must have been. The lame, the blind, the paralyzed, and people suffering from all sorts of diseases. A sad assemblage of hurting humanity, lying, sprawling, crawling, languishing around Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda. In the fifth chapter of his Gospel, the Apostle John describes the sad scene.
As is so often the case surrounding the most poignant examples of human suffering, humans trying to survive...

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What Sets Christianity Apart? Grace!

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


What Sets Christianity Apart? Grace!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Author Philip Yancey writes that at a British conference, scholars from around the world were discussing the most basic beliefs that set Christianity apart from other world religions.
As they debated some important possibilities, C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and he was told that they were asking what Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions might be. He answered, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
Yancey continues, “After some...

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When Foundations Shift, Cracks Begin to Show

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


When Foundations Shift, Cracks Begin to Show
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Wow, I wonder how much farther that old sagging column supporting the corner of this old sagging house can lean out southward before the corner of the house just collapses and wordlessly pleads, ‘Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!’”
Nothing about that column is plumb, square, or level anymore, but I do notice some symmetry this morning. I’m writing my weekly Focus on Faith column weakly, sitting beside a weak...

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God Pays the Price for Bread That Is Free and Freeing

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


God Pays the Price for Bread That Is Free and Freeing
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35).
Five little barley loaves and two little fishes. That’s all Jesus had, you know. And even those were sort of borrowed that day by the Sea of Galilee.
But the Lord who turned water into wine at a wedding feast took...

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Hymn-tinkering. Just Say No.

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


Hymn-tinkering. Just Say No.
By Curtis K. Shelburne
It was none other than the venerable Charles Wesley, writer of hundreds of grand hymns, who in the preface (1779) to one of his hymnals pronounced a word of stern warning against anyone who would mess with the words—and thus the theology, not to mention the beauty—of one of his hymns. He had little use for “hymn-tinkerers.”
During most of my growing up years, my home church, and most others of our brand, used a...

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Is the Tweeter a Twit? That Is the Question!

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


Is the Tweeter a Twit? That Is the Question!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
Twits.
Twitter is for twits.
That has been my opinion pretty much ever since I learned several years ago that birds tweeting sweetly in the sky had been joined by twits tweeting, sweetly or not, in cyberspace.
It just seemed like a very lucrative, very bad, idea. I found it hard to believe that our world would be improved by folks, many of whom are incredibly short on impulse control already, suddenly...

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A Wise Answer to a Thought-provoking Question

Posted Sep 28th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Wise Answer to a Thought-provoking Question
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Surely everyone who spent much time growing up in the western world in the 20th century knows a universal law which is almost as time-tested as the Law of Gravity. It is this: Thou shalt not throw out old National Geographic magazines. Doing so may not be illegal; it is just not something that civilized people of good upbringing would ever do.
In fact, I can’t remember who I heard propounding this...

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A Storage Philosophy for Garages, Closets, and Hard Drives

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


A Storage Philosophy for Garages, Closets, and Hard Drives
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“I might need that.”
Step into my garage, my office, my shed, or my closet, and you’ll quickly discover that those four simple words are the guiding philosophy of most of my life and all of the spaces I occupy. 
Those four words are the reason I’m convinced that the best rental property imaginable these days is not made up of lots and houses folks have acquired to rent to other...

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Good Hearts Have Room for Lots of Good Songs

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


Good Hearts Have Room for Lots of Good Songs
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I keep thinking that the folks up, way up, at the Red River Community House (Red River, New Mexico, elevation 8,650 feet) will one day wise up and get tired of us, but they haven’t yet. So this Sunday morning my wife and I were at RRCH on yet another of a nice string of Labor Day/Red River weekends.
I helped lead worship at the Community House this morning, and...

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"I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter"

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


“I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
I wish my phones were a little smarter—both the smart phone that lives in my pocket and is too often screwed into my ear, and the landline phone whose cordless babies are strewn all over our house.
Both phones are pretty amazing. The one in my pocket will do math calculations, connect to the Internet, check my email, give me compass headings and altitude, show me star constellations and planet...

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"I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter"

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


“I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
I wish my phones were a little smarter—both the smart phone that lives in my pocket and is too often screwed into my ear, and the landline phone whose cordless babies are strewn all over our house.
Both phones are pretty amazing. The one in my pocket will do math calculations, connect to the Internet, check my email, give me compass headings and altitude, show me star constellations and planet...

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