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Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Love My Boots...

This mornin' I got up, took a shower, and got dressed.  The last things I put on were my boots.  Truth is, I love my boots.  I've got two pair thanks to my sweet bride... my Dan Posts are my preachin' and sparkin' boots, and my Ariats keep my feet all kinds of comfortable on those days I can just relax.

My boots tell a lot about me, I guess.  Around once a year, I have to have my Posts resoled 'cause I wear 'em clean out; and the toes of my Ariats get scuffed every day... hence the oiled leather so I can get 'em looking good again.  They're more comfortable today than they were a year ago, and in ten or fifteen years, I'll have 'em just right... and no, don't even think I'll consider throwing them away for a new pair!

Of course, there'll be new pairs of boots along the trail, but the memories and dances that the old square toes of my Posts will hold by then will be too many to let me get rid of 'em.  Eventually, they won't look good enough to wear when I'm preachin'; and one Friday night I'll reluctantly retire them from date night.  They'll sit in my closet and wait for the days when I can sit in the back yard, smoke a cigar that brings back too many memories, kick up my feet in a chair and let the leather tell me the stories we've lived together.  Every line and crease tellin' about a trail we road, a saddle we sat, a dance where I held my girl tight for a waltz in Fredericksburg and kicked a little saw-dust around the floor doing the jitter-bug.  We'll talk out a pipe about the shores of the Mississippi down in the Frenchman's part of town, and they'll help me to remember the long, sweet fingers of my bride laced into mine like the stitching of good tack.

Many cities have seen the soles, and they could tell you stories you'll never get to hear... but I'll listen on mornin's like these; in times when JeeP's big enough to wear 'em for himself, and I finally give 'em to him, I'll just see him wearin' them like a pants leg when he's two, and remember Jordan bringing them to me in mornings already fading way too quickly.

Yes, I love my boots... as good on the trail as they are on the dance floor!  Made in Texas... right to wear even if you have to go to New York City!  I'll take my Posts into a cajun shoe-maker today, and they'll be good for another year!

May the trail be easy enough to ride and tough enough to enjoy!


Monday, May 11, 2009

My Pipe

Yesterday morning I found my favorite pipe!

Since our recent move to New Orleans, I had lost the very first pipe Penny ever bought for me, my favorite vintage Ben Wade Meerschaum Jambo pipe.  I discovered this particular pipe on my favorite web-site some years ago being sold out of an old pipe store in England... it was "New Old Stock" which meant that it was made back when a Ben Wade was really something to smoke, but that it had been sitting there for about 45 years just waiting for me to send an auction reminder gently over to my bride's e-mail... and to my complete delight, she took the hint!!!

It really does smoke like a dream... just cool enough in the hand, perfect temperature for the tobacco, and now beginning to turn that wonderful golden brown that meerschaum has long been known to achieve.  And for the past weeks, I've thought that I had lost it until yesterday morning when I reached into the sport-coat I chose and found that beautiful work of art!

Today is a study day for me at the office.  I love opening up to the new week's text in Scripture on Monday... its a fresh adventure into the ancient, and this morning was no disappointment.  I had plenty of fodder to dig through the Greek and Hebrew, the differentiations of the original Davidic text being quoted by the Christ, and the distinctions of Yahweh to Father when travelling from the Psalms to Luke's account of the Gospel.  I inked up my fountain pens, wrote notes in the margins of my beautiful new goatskin bound Cambridge Bible, and settled into a glorious little banter of translation and interpretation at my desk.

Its not a bad way to spend a morning... and it reminded me a few minutes ago of my old meerschaum pipe.  Even as the pipe smokes smoother the longer I smoke it, so do the pages of Holy Scripture grow clearer and more beautiful every week as the grand adventure draws me ever onward.  Little things jump out at me from old, ancient words, capturing my mind and inviting me to celebrate with those who have gone before me.  So long as I will journey the path before me, I find the fellowship of those who have been there ahead of me... and it is, for me, a glorious journey.

I wonder how that old pipe will smoke in twenty years... and I wonder what new, indeed truly ancient, discoveries I will find in these same texts those same twenty years from now.  Whatever lies beneath the surface upon which now I stand, I await the next discovery and revel in the jewels I have been shown today.

My the journey make you strong and yield great discoveries; and may the grace of Christ be with you today!


Thursday, May 7, 2009


Yesterday, I read a survey of clergy pertaining to their satisfaction with their own prayer life... the same day I received some unsettling news about our nation's observance of the National Day of Prayer, and it suddenly became imperative that I prepare our worship center with the bread and cup of Christ, and invite my parishioners to come by and join me in prayer before going to work.

The watershed moment for me, oddly enough, was not held within the response of my congregation, but within the moments preceding the onset of the formal time of prayer I had announced.  

As I knelt for prayer at the altar of communion, my heart was stilled just moments before the 6 AM service time, and I was suddenly brought to remember that just weeks ago, we had celebrated Holy Thursday, the day of Christ's death.  Now within the tradition of my raising, Maundy Thursday was not a huge point of observance, but this morning, as I took communion and celebrated the sacrifice of Christ once again, I was stirred and stilled all at the same time by the somehow right-ness of this time.  Could it be that all these twenty plus years of serving in the clergy I have missed such a central celebration as observing a special time of prayer and remembrance on the week-day of the death of Christ?  I'm fairly certain that there is no profound difference between Thursdays and Tuesdays in the eyes of Heaven, but this morning was different somehow.

It seems to me, that in the Protestant church, for the many beauties of the Reformation, that over the centuries we have somehow forgotten some of the beauties of tradition... and I don't believe that was the goal of such men as Luther.  Today is a new day, and perhaps a day to awaken the heart of Ancient Christianity.

For me, I believe that I will continue this simple Thursday morning ritual.  For me it is centering, purifying, and draws my attention to the grace I am given.  As I head into my weekend, I am reminded of what is truly important, that which is not of myself, but greater than I... from the Grace of Christ to the love of my wife and children, to the souls of my congregants.  I am reminded and honed for my work, and that is a good thing.

So happy Thursday to you, this morning... the day of Christ's amazing sacrifice!

May His grace find you today... indeed, may it rest upon all who seek Him!