They Also Teach Who Only Serve as Dean

They Also Teach Who Only Serve as Dean

I got a letter with a check in it the other day. The writer was contributing to the endowment scholarship fund of Wayne and Wilma Gallup.

They served as deans of students at Trevecca for a couple of decades. They lived near the campus, raised a bunch of football players who had two little sisters, and knew everybody. The whole family attended the campus church and pretty much filled the youth group. Wayne had a remarkable voice that was like ocean waves quaking when they came ashore. He and Ed Whittington sang many a heavenly duet in the old College Hill sanctuary.

[Read more…]

Remembering Faye Speer

Remembering Faye Speer

If you’re young, you should know I’m writing about a time long before when you were born. But if you’re a little bit old (like me), you remember the singing Speer Family, the first family of gospel music. They were to early Christian music what Billy Graham was to evangelism crusades.

Faye Speer was born into a Nazarene preacher’s family, came to Trevecca when she was 15, and married the son of the Speers, Brock. They traveled the country singing gospel music to thousands. They were early versions of Christian rock stars, but never carried themselves that way. They were quite humble—except for cut-up younger brother, Ben.
[Read more…]

I Preached At An Old Church

I Preached At An Old Church

A few weeks ago, I preached at an old church.

How old? 202!

Founded in 1813, The Sartinville United Methodist Church in Jayess, Mississippi, was having its 202nd Homecoming and they invited me to preach.

To get there, you have to know where you are going. It is well off the beaten path, miles from the nearest interstate, and not quite on the way to anywhere.

[Read more…]

Miles: The Unwilling Sled Dog

Miles: The Unwilling Sled Dog

“Miles” was not a very good dog name. His owner wasn’t literary enough to be thinking about Miles Standish or any other famous Mileses. This dog was a “Heinz 57” mutt. I think they named him Miles because he looked like he’d walked a long way. They got him at the Nashville pound.

Miles suffered through two children too young to understand the meaning of cruelty to animals. Being a pound dog, Miles figured it was those two kids or the gas chamber. So Miles stuck around.

[Read more…]

Heaven In Their Heart

Heaven In Their Heart

The church I grew up in was known as “a holiness church.” We didn’t handle snakes, speak in tongues, or cast out many demons—but we had our own brand of odd.

There was a lady who requested prayer on Wednesday nights for soap opera characters, going into great detail about the trouble they were facing. There was the man who brought his guitar to church and sat on the front row, hoping to be asked to play a special number. He was better than the rejects of “American Idol” ever thought about being. We had a Sunday school superintendent who thought we could improve Sunday school attendance by hosting a chitlin’ fry following church. (If you don’t know what part of the animal you’d be eating, don’t ask.)

[Read more…]

Class Reunions and Homecomings

Class Reunions and Homecomings

Are you going back this year? Will you attend homecoming and/or your high school or college reunion? Is the class of 1964, ‘74, ‘84, ’94, or 2004 beckoning you to come back and see all your long-lost pals?

Sometimes we want to go back. Sometimes we don’t. My conclusion is that yesterday looks better and better in the rearview mirror. The things that once embarrassed us when we were cool young college students are not so embarrassing now that we have kids of our own. The failures that marked us early in life have melted away as we learned to accept who we are.  We have less to prove. We’re all aging. Raising kids has humbled, if not humiliated, us.

[Read more…]