Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Wrong Place at the Right Time

Brother Bob’s 3rd Quarter 2013, Newsletter

We all experience uncomfortable situations now and then. It keeps life interesting. However, there are times when we should listen to that little voice inside our heads.

During the month of May, I attended the Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference. I’d met with my good friends, Chuck Sasser and Dan Case, and we’d picked some sessions to attend. Chuck had chosen one, dealing with the writing of romance. Dan and I, though harboring dubious doubts, went along with it.
As one might expect, the romance genre encompasses various levels of graphic exposition, ranging from prosaic to poetic, depending upon one’s preference of prose, when reading about virtual human encounters. To say that Chuck’s choice turned out to be of the more explicit nature is putting it mildly.

Now Chuck admits to the encroachment of a certain amount of hearing impairment. With us sitting in the back of the room, I suppose it’s possible a good portion of the speaker’s oration hadn’t made it through. Anyway, Chuck sat there with a big smile on his face while Dan and I shifted uncomfortably in our seats. Being the only males in the room didn’t help matters. I realized having to hold my wife’s purse in the lingerie department wasn’t the most embarrassing experience of my life after all.

Available options raced through my head. I didn’t want to be rude, get up and walk out, but I had to do something. That’s when it happened. During a rather climactic moment of the program, while mesmerized participants eagerly waited to hear the next vivid words, the sound of my cell phone, which replicates a Harley Davidson with remarkable clarity blasted through the room. I usually turn it off during the sessions but I’d miraculously forgotten, leaving the device fully functional. Most of you are familiar with the movie scene where the girl whips her head around, her hair following in sensuous slow motion. Well, multiply that by fifty or sixty and add piercing, angry eyes and you’ll have a decent image of my becoming the focus of attention. Grabbing the opportunity, I jumped up and bolted from the room.

I brought the phone to my ear.

“This is Tom Harrison,” the voice on the other end said.

I tried to rid my thoughts of sexual images planted there during the session. Even though I had not initiated attending the class, had not known the extreme nature of its content, I felt like a teenager, who’d been caught looking at dirty pictures. “Pastor, Tom, what a pleasant surprise.”

I belong to a large congregation and having the head pastor call is out of the ordinary, to say the least.

“Is David around?” The pastor asked. “I want to wish him a happy birthday.”

I explained to the pastor that he’d reached my cell phone, and that I was not at home, but was attending a writer’s conference in Norman, Oklahoma. I finished my conversation with Pastor Tom then thanked him for calling. He’ll never know how his impeccable timing rescued me that day.

Thanks, Chuck. Payback is coming.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

What Does Christianity Mean?

What is Christianity?
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Most people, including many who claim to be Christian, simply do not understand the answer to this question. I’ve stated this before but it bears repeating: I’m not new to believing in God, but I am relatively new – within the last four years – to actually getting it, and asking Jesus to come into my life.
But I haven’t really answered the question, have I? Let’s go back a couple thousand years. The book of Acts explains the Apostles actions after the departure of Jesus. At this point, His followers were little more than an unorganized and frightened group of people. However, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Jesus had promised, they understood completely the importance of who they were and what they stood for. They were no longer Jewish, in a religious sense, but were followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. It was during this time that the Christian Church began to form. Realizing the need for a cohesive and comprehensive statement of who they were and what they stood for, the early followers created a creed. The Apostles Creed, which dates back to a time period shortly after the ascension of Jesus, explains Christianity in perfect detail. It reads as follows:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
The affirmation of one holy Catholic Church declares belief in only one true church. The word catholic comes from a Biblical Greek term, katholikos, which means universal.
That’s it. That’s what it’s all about.
At this juncture, I’d like to make an important point – real Christians are not self-righteous, holier-than-thou individuals. On the contrary, we battle with sin and our sinful nature on a daily basis. Accepting Jesus into our lives does indeed change us, but it does not take us out of the world. We are still very much in the game, susceptible to the same weaknesses, fears, and desires as everyone else. The only real difference is that we have realized this and have asked Jesus for his help.
So, what do you think? Did I answer the question?