Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…

Category Archives: Theology

Crucifix…An Art Piece.

One of my treasures. It all just came together.


How To Find The Right Church…

An important point, overlooked in finding the right church, is what one feels once worship is finished. Extremely important.

The right church will leave us feeling that something important has happened. The time has been well spent. We feel a bit different about life and ourselves than we did when we entered the church.

Obviously, this can take many forms.

It could be inspiration. It could be a warm glow of inner satisfaction. It could be a sense of being disturbed. It could be a feeling of penitence or sorrow. It could be a determination to make a difference in the world around us. It could be a new sense of discovery and of understanding something we have wondered about. It could be a sense of having practiced the presence of God. It could involve the kind of happiness that comes from having been in connection with good friends. It could be the stimulation of having been stretched in some good way. It could be a feeling of wonder or awe.

It could be just a strange feeling that we are a bit different than we were before – the sense of having been touched by something authentic.

I found that during my search for a good church, the right church for me, I sometimes left worship a bit less of a person than I had been before. The time had been wasted. I hadn’t been stretched or inspired. I was mildly angry or depressed.

This is God’s way of telling us to move on. Every church can be the right church for someone. Blessed is the person who finds the church that is right for him/her!

A wise preacher once counseled a group of theologues that the purpose of preaching is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted. If church can do that for us, we are well advised to cleave to that church and give ourselves over to its ministries. It is the good church.

Do Not Grow Old…



“Do not grow old,
no matter how long you live.
Never cease to stand like curious children
before the Great Mystery
into which we are born.”

-Albert Einstein
The Human Side

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Thinking Jesus…

As I read Jesus, he hardly ever answered theological questions, laid down laws or organized folks religiously. He did wonderful things, told great stories, and refused to be poured into legalistic or ecclesiastical boxes.

He set people free, which I think is the ultimate expression of love.

Testing my Inner Theologian…

I took a little test to see where I stood with the classical theological giants. I do love Tillich and identify with the implication that I too am "no longer very influential."

You scored as Paul Tillich, Paul Tillich sought to express Christian truth in an existentialist way. Our primary problem is alienation from the ground of our being, so that our life is meaningless. Great for psychotherapy, but no longer very influential.

Paul Tillich
Karl Barth
John Calvin
Charles Finney
Friedrich Schleiermacher
Jürgen Moltmann
Martin Luther
Jonathan Edwards

Which theologian are you?
created with


Our distinguished politicians in Washington seem, as always, unable to reach compromise agreements that would take us a few steps toward solving American immigration problems. To grossly oversimplify, the right-wing folks simply gag at the thought of amnesty, which, like so many other good words, has become a synonym for threatening, evil things.

Amnesty – comes from the ancient Greek, word “amnestia”, which meant to “forget.” Or, to “forgive”. Both foundation words in the Christian tradition and in the art of trying to live a good life with family, friends and enemies.

Harry Denman, in his inimitable Alabama Methodist way, used to say: “I hear folks demanding their rights everywhere. When that day comes when we die and stand before the throne of judgment, I doubt that many of us will be demanding our rights – but asking for mercy.”

The theology may be rather colorful, but the message is sound and clear. Those of us who don’t need some amnesty for thoughts, words or deeds during our lifetimes are the ones who have earned the right (if there is such a right) to deny it to others. Or, “those who are without sin… let them cast the first stone.”

That’s just the response of one poor country preacher.

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