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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Real Joy Never Runs Out, Never Runs Down

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


Real Joy Never Runs Out, Never Runs Down
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Entropy.
What pops into your head when you hear that word?
Well, just to prove that I listened some in a science class forty-plus years ago, here ya go: “The tendency of a body in motion to remain in motion and a body at rest to remain at rest.”
Impressive, right?
Not so much. Because, I’m now reminded, that is the definition of “inertia,” not “entropy.”
Okay. Let me think. “Entropy” is “a wasting away...

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"In Times Like These, It Helps to Recall . . ."

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


In Times Like These, It Helps to Recall . . .”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.”
Yep.
I’m not sure where I first heard that statement, but I’ve always thought that its truth packs a punch. I did a little “search engine” research and found it attributed to Paul Harvey or Will Harvey. Some versions say “remember” instead of “recall.” I don’t know Will Harvey, but I certainly remember...

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"Talking Dog for Sale: Five Dollars"

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


“Talking Dog for Sale: Five Dollars”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve long ago forgotten where I found the tale I’m about to relate, but I like it. Personally, I very much doubt that it’s factual; it does, however, hold a lesson or two that are true indeed.
As the story goes, a fellow was walking down the street one day when he saw a hand-lettered sign in a yard: “Talking Dog: Five Dollars.”
Quite curious, the man walked up to the front door of...

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When Love Fails and Christ's People Fuss

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


When Love Fails and Christ’s People Fuss
By Curtis K. Shelburne
If heaven were not already Paradise, the mere fact that no misunderstanding will mar its joy would make it heavenly.
Drat it! I got word recently of yet another misunderstanding and its sad fruit: broken relationships, deep hurt, and the waste of precious energy that could be put to far better use.
Careful now, lest you think I’m writing about anyone we might both know.
Remember the story about the fellow in England who...

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A Conversation With the Apostle Thomas

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


A Conversation With the Apostle Thomas
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Ah, Thomas, I hate to mention this, but you could have saved yourself a great deal of trouble if you’d have just hung with the rest of the disciples on that first Easter evening.
You wouldn’t believe the spin lots of folks have put on the fact that you weren’t there that night. Yes, I know one would think that people would give an apostle of Christ the benefit of the doubt, so...

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"We're Still Friends If You Disagree"

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


“We’re Still Friends If You Disagree”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Since this column has my name on it, this should be obvious: The opinions expressed herein are simply my own to own.
G. K. Chesterton died far too long ago for me to tell him, in this life anyway, how much I love his writing. I do indeed love his way with words and his wit regarding politics (and everything else).
Regarding government in general, he writes, “All government is an ugly necessity.”
Regarding politics,...

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Won't It Be Nice to Be Out of Time?

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


Won’t It Be Nice to Be Out of Time?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Won’t it be nice to be out of time?
Say what?
I’m serious, and I repeat: Won’t it be nice to be out of time?
I don’t wonder that you’re confused. You’re probably thinking: Whaddaya mean? “Nice” to be out of time? I find myself “out of time” innumerable times every week, and running out of time may be many things, but “nice” is not one of them. Try another word, Bucko!
How...

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Resurrection Power Transforms the Ordinary

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


Resurrection Power Transforms the Ordinary
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“He is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”
Such power is difficult to imagine. We read the Gospel accounts and try to view the scenes in our mind’s eye. Mind-boggling.
Pick any of the events of that first Holy Week. Some are obviously filled with meaning and mystery. Some seem rather mundane, almost commonplace for that time and place, until the Gospel writers and Christ himself pull back the curtain just a bit. Any Passover meal is...

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"Then Simon Peter Drew His Sword"

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


“Then Simon Peter Drew His Sword”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“I could be wrong to swing this sword, but swing it I will! Try to arrest my Lord, if you will, but this sword says that there will be blood!”
Was something like that going through the Apostle Peter’s head when, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he drew his sword and swung it to defend his Lord?
An armed “detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees” (John 18:3),...

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