Day: March 3, 2018



“What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say.

This quote is a favorite of mine. It’s certainly not original to me. Most who occupy their time searching for the origin of quotes believe it to be a variation of a saying attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson in an essay published in 1895. The essay is titled “Social Aims” and the original quote reads: “Don’t say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.”

What a great quote! I wish Jesus had said it to the scribes and Pharisees. Instead, he summed up the gist of this quote in a single word: hypocrites! Not once but half a dozen times, Jesus hurls this insult in the direction of the scribes and Pharisees, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Take a look at Matthew 23 and count the times. The passage begins with Jesus warning the crowd and his disciples by saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.”

Anytime I read about the scribes and Pharisees, I squirm just a little. Remember, before they were cast into the role of the “bad guys,” they were the most respected, dedicated, disciplined, and studious leaders of the Jewish community. As pastors and teachers in Christ’s church, are we not the modern-day counterpart of the scribes and Pharisees?

If we were to poll the general public outside the Bible Belt, Christian leaders might not fare any better than the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’s day. This is not what we want to hear. However, if the church has an image problem, we need to face it. Perhaps we need to heed Emerson’s advice and stop talking. Instead of ruminating over what we will say next, perhaps we need to be listening. What can we learn from the critical voices of those who have walked away or never crossed the threshold of the church?

What can we learn about ourselves that may be contributing to the negative perception others have of the church? What action does the church need to take to make amends with any who have been hurt or harshly judged by members of the church? If we, the church, are not leading with love, welcoming the stranger, proclaiming the good news of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, then it’s time we ask ourselves who we are representing?

During this season of Lent, as we reflect on our walk with Christ, may we also take note of our walk with our neighbor and one another. For Christ’s sake, may we remember to do as Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with saying: “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”


Janice Six is associate pastor of First Central Presbyterian Church



I love football! It’s pretty obvious since I talk about it so often, using illustrations and stories. Growing up, we didn’t start football until the seventh grade, although we did do some practicing a year earlier. I was fortunate to be on a state championship team as a senior and attending several Dallas Cowboy games in the Cotton Bowl.

Danny Minton

Danny Minton

Football was a tough sport. We started in the summer with two-a-day workouts. Things were different back in the ’60s, and we only had one water break. I remember we had to bring our own Coke bottle that the manager would fill up and bring to the field when it was water break time. Throw in a couple of salt tablets, and we were good to go!

My senior year was rough on my body. It started during summer workouts with a severely sprained ankle. I was one of the starting tailbacks, so this put me a little behind, and I didn’t start until the second game of the season. On the second play I ran from scrimmage, I was tackled by a good sized linebacker who fell on me breaking my left collarbone. That put me out for another six weeks before I could return to the line-up, this time as an end on offense and defense. On the next to last game of the regular season, I suffered a hip pointer that kept me out of a game. The final injury came in our semi-finals matchup with Iowa Park when I broke my neck tackling an opposing runner and became temporarily paralyzed on the field.

With all of that, I’ve been asked several times over the years would I play football again. My answer is always the same, “You bet!” Why, after going through all that work, being injured multiple times with one almost maiming be for life, would I want to do it again? Well, as I started this out, “I love football.” I knew back then, going into it, that injuries happen. My parents knew it was a rough sport. I have two brothers with knee problems to show for it. However, all that didn’t matter, since I love the sport.

Jesus told those who followed him that they would face persecution. He told his disciples in John 15, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” (NIV) Paul was stoned, flogged, beaten with rods and faced all kinds of dangers while spreading the word.

So, the question is, “Why did Paul and others continue to follow him, knowing how hard it would be?” The answer is, “They believed in him and loved him.” Ten of the original 12 would die a martyr’s death, serving Jesus to the end.

Christians all over the world are killed or imprisoned because of their following Jesus and his teachings. In this country, we may not face death, but we do face a growing amount of verbal degradation and insults. Jesus warned us this would happen in his sermon from the mountainside, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Mt. 5:11,12)

What Christians face should come as no surprise. It’s hard being a Christian in a world that only wants to please itself. We face ridicule when we mention His name. We are called intolerant when we don’t agree with things the world believes. We are shunned as outsiders when we stand up for our beliefs. It’s going to happen, Jesus told us that over 2,000 years ago, nothing has changed.

So why do we continue to serve in the face of what is going on around us? The answer is simple, “We believe and love the Savior.” You see, when you love something or someone deeply, you keep going back to it. We may be injured and we may have to change some things in our life. We endure the insults, backbiting, and degrading remarks because we believe in the one who loved us first.

I can no longer play football! Most of us can’t do the things we did when we were much younger. Those days remain only memories of times long ago. However, we can still serve the Lord. It won’t be easy, but the rewards far outweigh the darts of Satan, the verbal abuse and snide remarks that the world throws at us.


Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ




Norm Bowman gives his friend Stephanie Hamm a hug during the March meeting of the Abilene Interfaith Council. Bowman was guest speaker. The two have been friends since high school Photo by Loretta Fulton


NEXT MEETING: 12 noon Tuesday, April 10, Gerhart Hall, Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander St.
PROGRAM: Loretta Fulton, “Covering the Religion Beat”
DETAILS: Free and open to the public. Lunch provided by donations or bring your own.



Stephanie Hamm and Norm Bowman grew up as friends at Burkburnett High School, close to Wichita Falls.

They still are friends but have taken different paths. Hamm is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Abilene Christian University. Bowman is an atheist. Bowman, who lives in Dallas, was guest speaker for the March meeting of the Abilene Interfaith Council. He was invited by Hamm.

Bowman’s walk toward atheism started when he was about 9 years old. His father was a United Methodist but was more likely to be on the golf course on Sunday mornings than in church. His mother was a Baptist who did good things for others like making blankets for the poor.

Bowman questioned messages he heard in Sunday School and church and didn’t get satisfactory answers.

“I came to the conclusion that what I was being told just didn’t add up,” Bowman said. “It wasn’t rebellion to me, it just didn’t make sense.”

He talked to ministers and psychologists, but still he didn’t feel a sense of faith in his life. And, he didn’t see anything good being done by people of faith around him. He saw people hurting others in the name of faith. He saw megachurches that wouldn’t open their doors to the homeless during bad weather.

“There are a lot of things I see that are very contradictory,” Bowman said.

Bowman’s wife is Hispanic and was raised Catholic. She now is agnostic, he said. They have two teenage children, a son and a daughter. The son is a fact-based, science kind of guy, his dad said. Their daughter “wants there to be a God.”

Bowman said he always has told his children he would take them to a church if they wanted to go. He does not try to force his beliefs–or non-beliefs–on his children.

“This is my road,” he said, “they have to take theirs.”

Among common misconceptions about atheism, Bowman said, is that they want to destroy religion and that they are arrogant. Personally, Bowman said, he does not have an agenda, certainly not one that includes destroying religion.

“My agenda,” he said, “is to find a happy medium and live in harmony.”