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...

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"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...

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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...

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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...

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"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...

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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...

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"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,...

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"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...

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"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,...

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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...

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Freedom Must Be Cherished--Or Lost

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


Freedom Must Be Cherished—or Lost
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Freedom. It is not a gift any government benevolently bestows upon its citizens; freedom is the gift of God to everyone created in his image. It is a serious blessing to live in a land founded by those who believed that the responsibility of our nation’s leaders was to recognize and protect the freedom that is already the birthright of those given life by their Creator.
     It’s a blessing to be able to...

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Riding the Rails Can Provide Important Lessons

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


Riding the Rails Can Provide Important Lessons
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I like trains. I always have.
I’m not sure what it is that particularly fascinates me about them; maybe it’s the whole package. I like the sounds of their whistles. I like the sounds of their various linkages and mechanisms. I like the look and sounds of steam locomotives. (They seem magical to me, even if you don’t bump into Harry Potter and his friends on one.)
I like the deep guttural roar...

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Bowling, Physics, and Fatherhood

Posted Jun 17th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Bowling, Physics, and Fatherhood
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“I didn’t remember it being quite that far down. I don’t remember being so tempted to ‘loft’ the ball. And what in the world is wrong with these rented shoes? Or maybe it’s the lane surface? This just doesn’t feel right; in fact, it feels kinda terrible.”
“It” was a recent attempt at bowling. I’d taken maybe a 15-year break. (Probably more like 25.)
When my dad was in his 80s, one of my brothers asked...

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"Courage Is Almost a Contradiction in Terms"

Posted Jun 10th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Courage Is Almost a Contradiction in Terms”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms,” writes G. K. Chesterton. “It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”
Yes, and we wonder, don’t we? We always wonder how much courage we really have, for how can we know until we’re tested?
I still have my draft card. I remember when I was still in high school, Amarillo’s Tascosa High, being required to make the short...

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A Cat, Some Kittens, and Some Surprising Joy

Posted Jun 3rd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Cat, Some Kittens, and Some Surprising Joy
By Curtis K. Shelburne
True confession #1: I don’t feel the least bit guilty about my next true confession.
True confession #2: I have never been much of a cat person. I’ll pick a slobbering dog over a condescending cat every time.
I do admit that those types are not necessarily the only choices. But enough truth lies in the stereotypes that we all chuckle knowingly at Winston Churchill’s variously-quoted truth: “Cats look down on you,...

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