A Few Words in Praise of the Commonplace

Posted Jan 20th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Few Words in Praise of the Commonplace
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The commonplace. There’s a lot to be said for it, I think.
By the way, if you do an internet search for “commonplace,” you may be surprised to find that, for more than a few centuries, a “commonplace book” or, simply, a “commonplace” was a book or notebook in which people wrote down and kept quotations, sayings, notes of all sorts, little bits of helpful knowledge, poems, recipes, measures, verses, and...

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Launching into 2022 Feels Strange

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


Launching into 2022 Feels Strange
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Here we are, two weeks into 2022, and it still feels weird to me.
“It” is ambiguous both in that first sentence and in my head. It certainly refers to 2022, the year itself. How in the name of creeping chronometers did we get to this . . . point, point, point, point, point?
Well, that’s how. A split second and a clock-click, a pendulum-swing and a heartbeat at a time. Time’s faucet drip, drip,...

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The Calendar Really Does Say "2022"

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


The Calendar Really Does Say “2022”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The calendar says that it’s now 2022. My various electronic devices all agree on that opinion.
What? You say that it’s a fact, actual reality, and not just an opinion? Wow, your thinking is hopelessly dated, by which I mean, out-dated.
In the very advanced—one might say, progressive, enlightened, and “woke” society—objective reality is yesterday’s thinking; reality now is almost completely dependent upon how you feel about “your” reality. Yes, pilgrim, you, too, can...

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"The Central Miracle . . . Is the Incarnation"

Posted Dec 30th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“The Central Miracle . . . Is the Incarnation”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“The Grand Miracle.”
That’s how C. S. Lewis described the Son of God coming “in the flesh” at Bethlehem. And he writes, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation.”
If anyone had asked me, I might at first have been inclined to say that the “central miracle” is Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, his Atonement for our sins, and his glorious Resurrection. And it certainly would be hard to...

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"We Want Christmas to Be Perfect"

Posted Dec 23rd 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“We Want Christmas to Be Perfect”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
We want it to be perfect, you know. Christmas, I mean.
We really do. Something deep within us wants the lights and the trees, the music and the gifts, the family gatherings and candle-lit worship—all of it—to be Christmas card perfect.
Do I claim to be an exception? No, I do not. Truth be told, though, it’s not so much that I hope each new Christmas will be more beautiful than the last, I...

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"Do Not Be Afraid" of Christmas

Posted Dec 16th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Do Not Be Afraid” of Christmas
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I don’t know about you; I used to really enjoy celebrating the Fourth of July. But then somebody told me the truth about it.
Somebody who really knows (probably like sore losers on both ends of the political spectrum who “know” that our last two presidential elections were stolen; nefarious Russian “collusion” or magic vote-tampering, take your pick—anything but the more boring truth that the two losers ran rotten campaigns) has figured out...

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Finding Hope and Joy in the Light

Posted Dec 9th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Finding Hope and Joy in the Light
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9).
It’s the light, you know!
   Twirling, swirling, splash-silvering
         crisp snow below.
   Liquid luminescence and stardust inadvertently shed
         By pirouetting angels in the sky
                 above the Christ-child’s head.
   They fly, as has been said,
         by taking themselves lightly!
   Ah, the delight! Such glory and brightness!
         O’er that rude Baby King-sized bed.
   And look! Nestled warm...

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A Confession of Unfaithful Behavior

Posted Dec 2nd 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Confession of Unfaithful Behavior
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I guess I’d better confess.
Before I do, may I just say that I thought I could live with the guilt. I tried to convince myself that the transgression was not particularly serious.
But now I feel unfaithful. I feel dirty. Like I need a shower.
It was Monday afternoon. I’m never at my best on Mondays. I was tired. I was out of town. Temptation is always harder to resist when you’re weary and miles...

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"Count Your Many Blessings"

Posted Nov 22nd 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Count Your Many Blessings”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Here’s a modernized hymn for Thanksgiving (with apologies to Johnson Oatman, Jr., whose over-a-century-old lyrics I’ve messed with):
Count your many blessings;
Name them one by one!
Giving thanks for all good things,
To whom it may concern.
As most of you know, the first two lines are the originals; mine are the last two. I like Mr. Oatman’s original words much better. (He wrote lyrics for over 5,000 gospel songs!)
But, as Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking also of...

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True Love and Love's Extravagance

Posted Nov 18th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


True Love and Love’s Extravagance
By Curtis K. Shelburne
A brand new washer and dryer. That’s what, as the fervor and devotion of forty-six years of marital bliss burst into full flower, radiant color, and indescribable beauty—such that it could no longer be contained but must be expressed in utter extravagance and proclaimed anew—I recently bought for my wife.
May I hasten to say that I have not shackled my soul-mate to any laundry-room mechanisms. She is absolutely free and completely liberated....

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When Is a Win Not a Win?

Posted Nov 11th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


When Is a Win Not a Win?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
When is a win not a win?
If we don’t care how we win, we won’t ask the question. If a W is a W is a W, and we don’t care how it finds its way into our life’s “win-loss” column, the question above is nonsensical, not worth the breath it takes to be uttered.
A coach, at any level, can win an incredible number of games and still be a loser...

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Privacy Settings and Souls

Posted Nov 4th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Privacy Settings and Souls
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’m about to send $20 as a donation to my granddaughter’s volleyball team. I just thought you’d want to know.
I don’t know why you’d want to know, but evidently people are interested in these kinds of things.
Just so you’ll know, I am also wearing sandals as I am writing this (at home) rather than my other footwear alternatives. Don’t worry. I’ll let you know the moment I change shoes later, lest you be left...

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"My Cell Phone Has Been Stolen--Again"

Posted Oct 27th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“My Cell Phone Has Been Stolen—Again”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve just had another cell phone stolen.
It’s not really a big deal; it happens at least once a day. I think the thief who keeps stealing it is one guy working alone. I have no idea why he is so persistent and why he bears me such ill will.
To be accurate, the miscreant is not actually a thief; he’s more of a prankster. Yes, he does take my cell phone, but he...

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"I Wonder What They Were Fussing About"

Posted Oct 20th 2021, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“I Wonder What They Were Fussing About”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I wonder what they were fussing about.  
Before I pondered the possibilities, I began wondering if that first sentence needed to end with a question mark. Come to think of it, same question regarding the one I just wrote.
I’d answer, no and no. Both of my questions are technically “indirect questions” which, punctuation-wise, are more akin to statements than to questions. No question marks.
As an English major, editor, and sometime copy-editor,...

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

Posted Oct 13th 2021, 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...

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