Thursday, May 31, 2007
But they apparently have an awesome choir, Supreme Voices of Faith. The not-quite 20 member group (the church has about 50 members) recently made a trip to Atlanta to appear on a variety show broadcast on several regional TV stations. They were promoting their new CD "Another Chance." Lewis produced the album, and snippets are available from the record label website. It's got a jazzy, soulful, gospel sound that they compare to Kirk Franklin.
Lewis said his goal for the CD is in the title.
"God is a god of another chance," he said. Too often, he hears from people who are waiting to get their lives together before the come back to church.
"People don't come to church because they don't feel worthy," he said. "God has to be the one to reform us."
He said if you walked into his sanctuary on Sunday, you might smell a little Saturday night alcohol or notice someone with bloodshot eyes.
"These are the people we're supposed to be preaching to," he said.
Palmer had nothing but praise for him, and only a little bit had to do with her recent TV appearance with the choir. She said she has learned so much more about the Bible and God than she had at other churches.
"He taught me that God is always with me," she said.
Although she almost had second thoughts about calling, she said she just wanted to give her pastor a little public acknowledgement for what he's been doing for her and the rest of the church. And I'm always thrilled to hear people excited about their faith and their communities, so here it is. Congratulations to Act on Faith!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Here's the last one from Bette Chiles Davis, a nurse and patient:
I entered the Schumpert School of Nursing in 1937, when I was 17 years old.
I am not Catholic and really did not know what to expect, but the Sisters were all very friendly and kind. They, also. made all of us as comfortable as they could.
The sisters taught us both in the classroom and when we cared for patients in the hospital setting. Their Christian influence was felt by each one of us and could be seen in our patient care.
The sisters are also very human. Being young and mischievous, several of the students decided to play a joke on the night supervisor. This was in the old red brick building. One sat in a wheel chair and pretended to be in labor and rang the night bell. One student ran down and was pushing the wheelchair toward the elevator, when a Sister came off the elevator and helped to get the "expecting patient" on the elevator. We were able to keep the "patient's face" hidden until we were taking her off the elevator. That was when we were exposed but Sister only laughed with us.
During the big snow in the mid-40's, some of us were sliding down the west front driveway on cardboard boxes. Two of the young sisters came out and we were throwing snow balls when they joined us. They wanted to slide down the drive way as well. A couple of us went to a near by store and purchased some boots for them to walk back up the hill where there was several inches of snow. We all were sliding down the hill and having a great time.
In 1940, I delivered my daughter, at Schumpert on the third floor of that same red brick building. As a patient I was priviledged to experience the thoughtful CHRISTIAN compassionate care offered by the sisters, docters, nurses, dietary, housekeeping and all other staff members.
I am now retired from Schumpert, and I can hardly believe that I have been associated with the Sisters off and on for 70 of the 100 years that are being celebrated.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
For me, it's time to catch up on all the reading I have wanted to do but haven't while I've been taking my masters classes. I have several spiritual/religious books scattered around my apartment: Philip Yancey's "Prayer," Rob Bell's "Velvet Elvis," Pope John Paul II's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," and I need to order Pope Benedict XVI's "Jesus of Nazareth."
Is there anything out there you recommend? Religious or even a secular book with some good spiritual themes?
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007
to nearly brand new...
Nearly 70 homes have a new paint job this week after Saturday's annual Paint Your Heart Out Shreveport event. I joined my boyfriend's office at Barksdale and a group from Comcast cable to paint the home of an 85-year-old lady in Sunset Acres. She, like the other homeowners, couldn't do it herself and couldn't afford to pay someone, so the city provided the materials and churches, businesses and organizations throughout the city provided the labor (I have to say that BAFB was particularly well represented).
It was a good reminder that volunteer work doesn't have to be hard or even terribly time consuming. It was just a matter of putting on some work clothes and doing what needed to be done. Everyone walks away with a sense of appreciation and pride.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
My city-girl instincts kicked in and I thought went through the options: He could be an ax murderer. He could just be lost. Maybe he's trying to sell something, at which point I can call security because solicitations are not allowed in the complex. I could ignore him completely.
I decided to open the door just wide enough to say hi. He handed me a flier from his church.
"I'm just spreading the love of Jesus," he said.
"Thanks, have a nice day," I replied.
I fully appreciate people who are willing to go door to door spreading their faith. It shows conviction and guts and faith, since you never know what you're going to find when the door opens. And being a religion reporter, I'm naturally interested in other peoples beliefs.
But in today's world, where the news regularly warns us to lock our doors and be suspicious of who knocks, I was not about to engage this guy in further conversation. My mom is probably out there shaking her head at me for even answering the door.
It left me wondering whether churches have adjusted their witnessing strategies to make up for today's climate. I have a few suggestions. Send out two people -- preferably of the opposite sex. Maybe wear some sort of identifying clothing. Everyone recognizes the Mormons in their white shirts and ties. And don't be surprised if you get lots of terse responses in apartment complexes full of single women.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
The first group of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (why do orders have to pick such long names?) arrived in Shreveport 100 years ago. I'm putting together a story about them and I would love to have your stories to go with it. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any anecdotes.
Today's Sports story by Roy Lang took the trend to a new level. He writes about a local youth minister who is also an amateur mixed-martial arts fighter. I don't really know anything about the sport -- although some of my friends from church are fans -- but the subject of the story had a great quote that highlighted the disconnect.
"The Bible says 'love everybody,' said (Joseph) Freid. "It doesn't say you can't beat on them at little."
So what do you think about this trend of mixing God with more secular trends?
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
What do y'all think? Why did his ministry become so successful? How will he be remembered?
Monday, May 14, 2007
The story in today's paper came up more for political reasons. The Department of Social Services is asking the legislature for a monthly raise for its foster parents from $374 to $510 per child. But there's a lot of faith behind the families who are wiling to take these children in, children who have seen and experienced far more horror in their 5 or 10 years than I have in 28.
Foster parent Lori Gates of Bossier City put it well, "They’re taking on children that are not their own and have no connection to and they know the money is not going to cover it."
One thing she's trying to do with the Northwest Louisiana Foster and Adoptive Parent Association is raise money for foster children so they can go to camp this summer. If you want to help her, call 742-2718.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
40,000 square feet
a 40-foot tall glass window/door in the shape of a cross
60 years of history
My first thought was "isn't this a little excessive?" Then I thought about the preacher, who has reached more than 210 million people, some in countries no one thought possible (the Soviet Union, for example). He also reshaped the way we think about modern multi-media ministry with his radio and TV appearances. And I'm sure he would say its not a monument to his accomplishments but to the work of God.
Sometime in the next couple of years, I hope to get out to North Carolina and then I'll take a detour to see it for myself. But if any of you get there first, I'd love to hear what you think!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
So here's some shots and scripture from Sequoia National Park and into San Francisco. Again, if you want to make them bigger, click on them.
"(Man) searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light. But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?" (Job 29:11-12)
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Is. 55:9)
"He brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers." (Psalm 78:16)
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
And this is one is a quote from Ben Franklin at one of the Napa wineries, just because it made me laugh...
"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy."
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." (Matt. 5:13)
I wondered how much those prayers helped her be in the right mindset, and how cool it was that her mom(?) set that example of daily morning prayer. How much would that help other children if their parents did the same thing?
Monday, May 07, 2007
to Death Valley where everything looks more like this:
was quite the shift physically, mentally and emotionally. Vegas is all glitz and glamour and surface level excitement and fun. But the desert makes you think. It looks barren and desolate and almost simple on the surface. Underneath, however, it's constantly moving and changing and evolving.
Being there made it easy to see realize why Jesus and many of the other prophets went into the desert when they wanted to be closer to God. The only way to survive there is by the grace of God.
Hopefully, my time communing with nature will give me the strength to deal with the baggage claim people at the airlines...