Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

My wife frequently warns me to be careful with what I say. She knows me better than anyone and I really should heed her wisdom.

I really should.

I’ll say something humorous. No one laughs.

I’ll write a cute e-mail. No equally cute reply is sent.

I’ll cleverly comment about an event. Silence ensues.

My so-called funny bone can be dry, obscure, arcane, and opaque. Okay, also misguided. So, whenever I’ve mentioned to people (now, or in the past) that I really don’t like weddings, I was being funny. Glib! Light-hearted!

And, with my wife’s cautionary voice echoing in the recesses of my gray matter, I should attempt to explain my not-funny reasons for any weddings woes. Continue reading →

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A Life Defined by Failure and Misstakes

Failure has seven letters; one for each of my literary rejections.

During the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission to the moon in 1970, Flight Director Gene Kranz famously announced, “Failure is not an option.”

Don’t we like to wish it never is?

And yet failure has been my companion. Failure has defined and refined my life and faith.

I am divorced. Personal failure.

I never found a publisher for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh novels I have written*. Failure has seven letters; one for each of my literary rejections.

I was forced from a job by a fellow pastor who casually and cunningly lied about my situation. Professional failure. Continue reading →

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How Much Should a Pastor be Paid for a Wedding?

It was my first church where I was a full-time minister.

I recall spotting the best man striding purposefully towards me. It was after the wedding service, but before the reception had begun. He was pale, skinny, and so (so) young! In a tuxedo looking like he’d co-starred in a teen slasher film that ended badly and predictably at a prom, he stopped in front of me.

“Thanks,” he said, “for doing Tommy’s wedding.”

“You’re welcome.” (I don’t remember the groom’s name, but why not Thomas? Tommy to his pals.)

“He wanted me to give you this.” The best man reached into a jacket pocket and then handed me a folded envelope.

“Gotta go take pictures for the wedding party thing,” he said. “But thanks, again.”

I slipped the envelope in my Bible. Since the wedding was for the granddaughter of one of the long-time church members, I knew quite a few in attendance. I socialized, soon moseying over to where pictures were being taken and posing for a friendly photo with the new newlyweds. The reception followed. Boring me, I left early.

It was on the way home that I glanced at the envelope. Continue reading →

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