While I Was Away

This is the first post I have written after being away from this blog for four weeks. During this four weeks, I not only took a break from this blog but also from my normal responsibilities at our church.

A couple of these weeks were vacation and a couple of them were to enable me to think and plan some of my teaching/preaching for the coming school year. (It is much easier and more natural in our setting for me to think about the academic year instead of the calendar year.)

Now for some good things that happened while I was away:


1. I was able to spend much time reading. I probably read more than any summer in recent years. I read Embracing the Love of God, The Poet of Tolstoy Park, The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me, Resonate and pieces of other books. I was amazed at how often there were threads that took me from one book to the next.

2. I spent one week co-teaching a D.Min. class with Dr. Allen Black at Harding School of Theology (formerly Harding Graduate School ofReligion). This was stimulating for me as I listened to Allen talk about various passages in the Gospel of Luke. Those in the class also stimulated my thinking with their comments, questions, and perspectives.

3. While at Harding, I had several very good conversations with Dr. Mark Powell who teaches theology. These conversations were particularly helpful to my thinking. I was glad to get to know Mark better and look forward to more exchanges in the future.

4. Charlotte and I spent some time with her mother, sister Carole, brother-in-law Keith, and nephew John. It was also a good time to see old friends such as Doug and Dereece. We then went to Murfreesboro to see our daughter Christine, son-in-law Phillip, and grandson Brody.

5. I enjoyed spending a number of mornings drinking Intelligentsia Coffee, which I bought at Fresh Market in Memphis. Oh my! What wonderful coffee! (I’ve heard Scot McKnight mention this incredible coffee a number of times. He is right. It is wonderful!) Along with a cup of this coffee, I ate Biscoff cookies. Nice.

6. For a week, Charlotte and I stayed in a little cottage in Fairhope, Alabama. Fairhope is on the coast, about 20 miles from Gulf Shores. It is a quaint little community. What a wonderful, relaxing setting! We ate shrimp and more shrimp and had no schedule. I was away from the blog, Twitter, and Facebook (with only a few exceptions).

7. Charlotte and I spent three days of our vacation in Oklahoma City with our younger daughter, Jamie. She is getting married in two weeks and we wanted to help her by doing some projects around her house.

8. It seems that some of the most profound moments in life come at the most unexpected times and places. This summer the heat has been very intense across the nation. Any sign of rain is particularly welcome, especially in areas like central Texas where the rain has been scarce. The other day, I was coming out of a Wal-Mart as another family was walking toward the store. Suddenly, it began to rain. Just as the family was about to enter the store, their little child (looked to be about 6 years old) raised his arms, looked toward the sky and said, “Thank you God!”

What a moment! To hear the gratitude of a child, coupled with his complete lack of self-consciousness about expressing himself.

(Tomorrow’s post is “These 5 Habits Really Will Help You Enjoy Your Family More.”)


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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14 thoughts on “While I Was Away

  1. Jim, going to Harding for the D.Min classes is one of the best times each year. I feel back that I was not in the Luke class, especially since you were there. I have one class left for the D.Min, in March. Glad you had a great time of relaxation.

  2. Matthew, thanks for the kind note. Glad you are enjoying your D.MIn. classes at Harding. I enjoyed being there very much.