February 18th, 2018

Catawba Valley Interfaith Council

February 18, 2018

Thank you, Don Flick and the Catawba Valley Interfaith Council, for entrusting me with this privilege.  With as many options as the Council had locally for today’s presentation, it is humbling to represent the Christian perspective in this significant conversation.  I also want to thank my friend Dennis Jones for getting this dialogue started so well last week.  He said he didn’t feel qualified to reflect on Bruce Feiler’s work.  I don’t feel qualified to follow Dennis Jones!

You probably know (or might guess) that my heritage, training, and vocation are distinctively Christian.  Not many of you know that I was raised in a Muslim country and I have a Jewish grandson! Read more »

February 3rd, 2018

This is undoubtedly a first for Corinth Reformed Church – a funeral meditation by videotape. The reason for it is not all that complicated. I’m the only pastor Nancy has known for 25 years. Nancy’s children very much wanted me to be a part of this service, and I very much wanted that as well. But as you meet together today, my wife Linda and I are in Hawaii enjoying our first grandchild, who was born in December. As important as it was for Nancy’s children and for me that I be a part of this service, we all knew that Nancy adored her own grandchildren, and would be adamant that where I belong right now is with my grandson.

Still, there is an undeniable irony here, and I’m not sure any of us really wanted to ask the question families often ask, “Would Nancy Dowdy want it this way?” Pioneering the replacement of personal presence with technology does not sound at all like Nancy Dowdy. Read more »

February 1st, 2018

I suppose it’s only fair that I begin with a brief explanation of why I chose the Scriptures I read. Kelly described her grandmother to me as “a needle in cotton,” a phrase from Tai Chi. One blogger explains, “the motion is soft and flowing, yielding gently like a ball of cotton, but with cold, hard steel on the inside. The practitioner yields to a push or a punch, making the pusher or puncher feel like he is moving against air, then suddenly turns the force around into a shock that knocks the other party off his feet.”

When I preach a memorial service, I like to look for some aspect of the person’s life that illustrates a biblical principle, or illustrates the Gospel, or reveals the character of God. We humans, after all, are created in the image of God, so we should be able to find in every human being some reflection of what God is like. Read more »

January 28th, 2018

Jesus intends to be both uncomfortable and unpredictable. 

Luke 4:14-30


Emotionally drenched

This week has been messing with my emotions. Linda and I are beyond excited about seeing our grandson for the first time when we fly to Honolulu in three days. But our daughter Jeni texted midweek to say she has the flu. Even though she lives in Wilmington, there are so many other people sick with colds and flu we are concerned that we might get something that would alter our travel plans. Read more »

January 22nd, 2018

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize.”  (Hebrews 4:15)

Luke 2:41-52


My twelfth year

I’ve always loved middle schoolers. Teaching 11-12-13-year-olds in Confirmation is one of my favorite parts of my job. I’m not sure I ever connected my love for middle schoolers with my own experience in life at that age until yesterday.

My twelfth year began in Pakistan, where my parents were completing 18 years of missionary service. Along with my three older siblings, I lived away from home at boarding school six months out of the year. I was a bed wetter until age 15, and I remember the fear that one of the other boys in my class would tell all the girls in the sixth grade, including my girlfriend Becky, that Bobby still wet the bed. Read more »