Friday, June 17, 2005


Three years ago, a great man died. His name was Henry “Buddy” Arnold.

Buddy was the song leader at Otter Creek for 35 years and especially for me, the formative years of my faith. He was a veteran of World War II, one who parachuted into the Philippines and was married to Bernie Wyckoff. He had 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter. He taught at Lipscomb University in the theater department as well.

What strikes me about that listing of his life is that even though it reveals a great deal about him, it doesn’t tell you much about the man. Buddy loved life. He was a man with a generous heart and a kind spirit. He was a touchstone for my life at Otter Creek and one of the big reasons that I came back to that church. He always had time to hug me (even at 22) and always asked about my family who didn’t go there anymore.

When I was baptized at 13, it was touch and go as to whether my dad would be there to do it. So I asked Buddy to step in if Dad couldn’t be there. Dad made it, but I would have been honored to have him do it.

And 9 years ago, when Sheryl and I got married, there was only ever one person I wanted to officiate. And he did. And now I can look back on those pictures and remember the dinners we had at his house with Bernie to talk through the ceremony.

There are so many other stories about him. Him teaching Otter Creek the “Hallelujah Chorus.” One time when he was asked how he felt about new worship styles, he said, “My time is over. It’s time for a new generation to step up.” The grace with which he handled tough situations (as worship items usually are in Churches of Christ).

Buddy was a servant of Jesus. He was a man that exuded grace and love and a sincere heart to worship God.

I was so happy that Buddy got to see Kinsey and know her before his death. I’m sorry that she’s not going to be able to know him, although I know that there will be someone in her life that plays the same role.

I hope it’s me.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Well, not much to blog about right now. Things at work are pretty crazy and I haven't had time to do much thinking or pondering so today will be a mish mash of things I think are interesting.

I watched Hit Me Baby One More Time on NBC last night and enjoyed it way more that I should have. I even liked hearing Vanilla Ice do Ice Ice Baby again. The best version of that song I've ever heard was a mix of it and Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen (from which VI stole the beat). However, last night, the Knack's cover of the Jet tune was really good and I kind of think they were robbed.

You should really read Mike Cope's Blog from yesterday. Well worth the time and the thinking that it provokes.

You should also read Preston's Blog from yesterday. It puts Jesus into a great context and how we would think of him today.

Finally, I'm going to admit my vice to all of you. Well, okay, one of them. I like to listen to conservative Church of Christ lectureships. Yes, it's a personality flaw. But the truth is that at the church I grew up in (Otter Creek, where I currently attend) I was never exposed to this kind of teaching, so this is really a window into my religious heritage.

I say that to say this. A certain lectureship starts on Sunday that I almost wish I was attending. It is the Bellview Church of Christ Lectureship in Pensacola, Florida and the title of the lectureship is "The Blight of Liberalism." Not liberalism like Democrats or something. No, liberalism like the church I attend, or Highland in Abilene.

I know I shouldn't listen, but this is going to be such a train wreck I don't think I can turn away, particularly with lecture titles like: Stemming the Tide of Liberalism, “Moderates” Pave the Way for Liberalism, and The State of the Church Today.

Have a good one.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Something Bigger Than Ourselves

I don't know what got me thinking about this. It could have been this interview with Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics. In it, Wallis talked about some of the work he did in the 1970's during the Civil Rights movement. I started thinking about why white people joined the struggle at that time (and, btw, race is an issue I want to get into at some point). Was it to fight an injustice? Was it to help a friend? Something else? And obviously, this isn't an either/or question. There could have been many reasons.

However, one reason that hit me was the idea of being a part of something bigger than themselves. They didn't see themselves as one person or one small group fighting. They saw themselves as a part of a whole, a whole that they knew had the same goals they did. A whole they knew would support them in their defeats and would celebrate the victories. It was a sense of a larger community.

This is one of the big reasons that the Kingdom of God/Heaven concept has really started to appeal to me in ways that it never has before in my life. When Jesus talks about the Kingdom, he's not talking in a limited sense. He's talking big picture; he's talking about God's plan for this world. And as a follower of his, Jesus is saying, "Come on. There's something bigger going on here; there's more to what you're saying than what you think. You can be a part of that. You can help bring God's justice and mercy and grace and love into this world. You can be a part of a group of millions that are trying to do this." Or as a buddy of mine put it, we're trying to turn the world right side up.

It's one of those things of wonder I talked about last week. That as his follower, I'm partnering with Jesus and millions of others, past, present, and future, in bringing about the Kingdom. I'm a part of that.

Today, I'm participating in Impact Day with my employer. I'm working with an AIDS victim support services group called Nashville CARES. I did something similar last year with this same group and was exposed to people I wouldn't normally be around or associate with. Last year, I packed food. This year, I think we're going to AIDS victims' houses to do work around them.

I don't say this to say, "Hey look how spiritual and loving I am." I say it to ask for prayers. I firmly believe that God loves people with AIDS, no matter how they got it. I firmly believe that helping these people is a means of increasing the Kingdom and of exposing them to the love of God.

Pray for my attitude. Pray for my heart to not prejudge people. God is there among them. Pray for them.

One final thing: Check out Preston's Blog, also linked on the right. He's been a good friend over the last few years and has been a companion on this spiritual journey. He has some good things to say.
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