Category Archives: Preaching, Sermons

Issue 379 – 1984: A Vintage Year

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 379     –     Dec. 10, 2018     –     An Occasional Blog by Stan Paregien

I’ve been to a great many funerals over my lifetime and presided at many of ’em as the clergyman or one doing the eulogy. I can truthfully say that too many of them were either far too long and/or way too somber and formal. I know, ’cause I preached some like that in the early years of my ministry.

However, I learned a lot about what to do and not do and about what to say and what to avoid when I was an Associate Minister at the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City from 1968 to 1970 or so. That is because I observed and learned from a master public speaker and encourager: Virgil R. Trout, the Minister of the congregation. His regular Sunday morning and evening sermons were 15 to 20 minutes long, and they were among the most therapeutic, encouraging and instructive I ever heard. 

Virgil was especially skilled at personalizing the funerals for which he was the officiant. I went with him a few times on occasions where a funeral home just needed someone to say a few words over the deceased, with few (if any) family or friends in attendance. Still, by the time he ended his short eulogy you felt the person in the casket was important, because Virgil reminded us God feels that way about each of us and believes in us right to the end. 

Okay, so what has all that to do with the title of this blog, “1984: A Vintage Year”? Good question.

This week, on Wednesday and Thursday, millions of us watched on TV as our nation and the world said goodbye to George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States and the father of the 43rd President. He was a remarkable man, not only for his many career achievements, but for his plain decency, his unfailing loyalty to friends, his sense of humor, and his strong love for his God, his country and his family. Quite a guy. 

The first funeral for Mr. Bush was in the magnificent National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Every detail was perfectly choreographed. It had to be with that many people and world-wide TV coverage. Yes, I think it was far too long (about 3 hours worth). If I had been there, I would have had to run to the nearest restroom at least twice during that three-hour extravaganza.

It was even a tad funny to see all those presidents (one present and three ex-presidents) and their wives sitting in the same pew. The Obamas and the Clintons were more than a little uncomfortable being so close to the guy who had been smearing them for the last three years. But it was good for all of them and for the nation to see them working through that moment.

But let it be said that the military and the police and Secret Service did there their just as they were trained. The musicians, singers and speakers were all in sync to produce a memorable experience. It was inspirational and instructive. It unapologetically showed all who were paying attention the importance President Bush and Barbara and their whole clan put on a personal walk with God and a real relationship with Jesus Christ.

The second funeral, at the Bush’s family Episcopal Church in Houston, was a replica of the first. Same officiating minister, for one thing. It was different in the details or ceremonies or length (mercifully, it was only about 90 minute), but no difference in the vivid witness of a grieving family who lost both Barbara and George within a seven month span and yet relied on faith, family and friends to make it through the long days and to move on.

Wow. It was all just a positive shot in the arm for me and I think for the nation. Their preacher, a Rev. Levenson from the Episcopal Church in Houston presided at both services, plus the burial. 

Our son Stan Jr. lives in the St. Louis, Missouri area. He called us that night a few hours after the body of President George H.W. Bush had been taken for burial next to his wife and their daughter inside the walls of the George Bush Library in College Station, Texas (our daughter, Stacy, lives and works just a hop, skip and a jump from there. She and her daughter, our granddaughter Christal Magness, drive by there every day). 

As Peggy and I visited with Stan Jr., I said: “You know, it seems like I went over to Tulsa one time to hear ol’ George speak. I couldn’t tell you a thing about it, but I believe it was right in downtown Tulsa and was some kind of a rally or fundraiser of some sort.”

“Hey, dad,” Stan Jr., said. “I went with you to that event. It was down there in the heart of Tulsa. And, yes, we got to see Mr. Bush.”

See there, all you doubters, I haven’t really lost as much of my brain power as you thought. More than I’d like, but just not that much. We did not get very close to Mr. Bush in Tulsa, but here is the one and only photo I took of him:

1984--065--OK--Tulsa---George Bush speaking in downtown plaza -- Copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr

Quotes from George H.W. Bush

It is my considered judgment that you [sitting President Richard Nixon] should now resign. I expect in your lonely, embattled position this would seem to you as an act of disloyalty from one you have supported and helped in so many ways. My own view is that I would now ill serve a president, whose massive accomplishments I will always respect and whose family I love, if I did not now give you my judgment. — George H.W. Bush on August 1974, speaking to President Richard Nixon shortly before he resigned, when Bush was Republican national chairman.

And my opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will. And the Congress will push me to raise taxes, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again. And I’ll say to them: Read my lips. No new taxes. — George H.W. Bush on Aug. 18, 1988, during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” — George H.W. Bush on March 22, 1990.

To those who say we no longer need a CIA, I say you’re nuts. To those who want to dismantle CIA or put it under some other department … you’re nuts, too. And to those who feel the right to know takes precedence over legitimate classification of documents or over protecting our most precious asset, our people, the same to you. You’re nuts, and so’s the horse you came in on.” — George H.W. Bush on Sept. 17, 1997, at ceremony marking the 50th birthday of the CIA.

I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don’t always agree with them.—George H.W. Bush

I’m conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.   – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

We are a nation of communities… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. — George H. W. Bush

I’m not trying to get myself up a notch on the ladder by shoving somebody else down on the ladder, whether it’s a candidate or the president of the United States or anybody else. I just don’t believe that’s the way one oughta campaign, I’ve never done that.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

You know I vowed when I became President not to talk about the loneliest toughest job in the world and I didn’t. — George H. W. Bush

I have a form of Parkinson’s disease, which I don’t like. My legs don’t move when my brain tells them to. It’s very frustrating.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

We must act on what we know. I take as my guide the hope of a saint: In crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity. – George H. W. Bush in 1989.

I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world [i.e., having been President of the United States], but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband. – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

There is a God and He is good, and his love, while free, has a self-imposed cost: We must be good to one another.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

In what has been deemed his “most devastating” quote of all time, the former president promised voters “no new taxes” during the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans: “Read my lips: no new taxes” (Aug. 18, 1988). It certainly wasn’t the first time a presidential candidate broke a campaign promise when he became president, but it proved catastrophic for Bush, who raised taxes on the wealthy and lost his re-election campaign in 1992.

Don’t forget: Old guys can still have fun and still do stuff. — – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.  Mr. Bush met with Headline News anchor Robin Meade on June 16, 2009, just four days after his 85th birthday, Those words were addressed to Meade by Bush to explain what they were getting ready to do. Then they went up in a perfectly good airplane and each of them, joined to an expert jumper, parachuted safely to the ground. President George H.W. Bush did the same thing on his 90th birthday, too.

No nation can fully understand itself or find its place in the world if it does not look with clear eyes at all the glories and disgraces, too, of the past. We, in the United States, acknowledge such an injustice in our own history: The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.  – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.

The Class of 1959

We had a class reunion for our Class of 1959 (Fillmore Union High School in Fillmore, Calif.) in the summer of 1984. Here are a few photos of those who attended. Yep, I was there as well.

1984--002 Fillmore, CA -- Reunion of the HS Class of 1959

1984--002--A Fillmore, CA Reunion of the HS Class of 1959

 

1984--003 Fillmore, CA -- Reunion of the HS Class Of 1959

1984--004--A Reunion of the HS Class Of 1959

1984--004-C Reunion of the Class of 1959 -- Cartoon

1984--004-D Reunion of the Class of 1959 -- Cartoon

1984--004-E Fillmore, CA Reunion of the Class of 1959 -- Chili Blagg - Pat Brown - Mary Ann Shipley Real - Roger France

1984--005 Fillmore, CA - Reunion of Class of 1959 - poem by Stan Paregien

By now, many of those folks shown in the photos above have died. Next May, 2019 will mark the 60th anniversary of when we all graduated in 1959 from Fillmore High School. No, I have no plans to attend any reunion. 

1984--007--StacyParegien

Our lovely daughter, Stacy Paregien in 1984.

 

1984--008--WapanuckaOK--AlumniReunion

This is one of those vintage Wapanucka (Oklahoma) High School’s Reunions. This one in 1984 included my father Harold’s two sisters – Mrs. Alvin (Loretha) Young of Duncan, Okla., and Mrs. John (Eupel ) Higgenbotham of Santa Paula, Calif. – and my stepfather Chester Spradling and his wife (my mother, Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling), plus my maternal uncle Harry Snell and his wife (my mother’s sister) Opal Cauthen Snell of Jay, Oklahoma. 

 

1984--009--StanParegien

Little ‘Ol Me in 1984

1984--023--GeneParegien-LisaShields-April13

Stan Paregien Jr. (better known as “Gene” until he went into the Air Force in 1985). He and his date for a prom or such at Stroud, Oklahoma in 1984

1984--025--StroudOK--BoysState-GirlsState

1984--026 Stroud, OK -- City Of Stroud, OK

We lived seven miles north and one mile west of Stroud, Oklahoma in 1984. We had 10 acres of land (our “farm”) which featured an old “shotgun” style house and a couple of nice barns. About 7 of those acres were a good stand of hay which we bailed once or twice a year.

1984--027---StanParegien--Evelyn--LosAngeles

The above photo is of me with my mother, Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling, at the airport in Los Angeles in 1984. She was as lovely a person on the inside as she was pretty on the outside. She was a very strong person with a deep love for the Lord and his people . . . and for every person who came her way. She had a servant’s heart, to be sure.

1984--030--B Dallas, TX Evelyn Spradling with founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

My mother did very well when she was a sales representative for Mary Kay Cosmetics. She worked really hard at it, and she liked to visit with everyone she met. So in 1984 she got to meet the Queen herself, Mary Kay.

1984--035--B Fillmore, CA -- Evelyn Spradling -- Eupel Higgenbotham

Here is a photo of my mom celebrating her 62nd birthday in Fillmore, Calif., by holding up a cake which her daughter, Roberta Paregien Loffswold Fournier, made for her. Looking on, at right, is my father Harold’s youngest sister – Eupel Paregien Higgenbotham of nearby Santa Paula, Calif.

1984--035--D Washinton, DC -- National History Day --- Gene Paregien

Our son, Stan Jr. (“Gene”), and his friend Dess Applegate won this competition two years in a road. So they made two trips to Washington, D.C. Much later, as the chief Public Affairs Officer at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, ILL, Lt. Col. Stan Paregien, Jr. goes to Washington at least once a year with his base commander to meet with congressmen and senators and, over at the Pentagon, various military leaders. Kinda heady stuff.

1984--036--A Fillmore, CA-- Parade Float -- Spradling -- Gary

This 1984 photo was taken at the annual parade in Fillmore, Calif., sorta saluting “The Old Days.” That’s why my stepfather Chester Spradling and my mom Evelyn (at left) and her cousin Troy & Lucille Gary were dressed up this way. They were on their Mobile Home Park’s float and it won the trophy the unidentified man is holding. These four folks, whom we loved very much, left us several years back. Of all things, Chester Spradling actually grew up in the town of Fillmore. Nope, not Fillmore, California. He was born in tiny Fillmore, Oklahoma. He and his first wife lived in Oxnard, Calif., until she died and he married my mom and moved across the county to live with her. He was a great guy, a real gentleman.

I wrote the following poem, “Our Twenty-Second Anniversary,” in May of 1984. We are now in our 56th year of loving on and living with each other.  It has been quite a journey.

1984--041--A Stroud, OK -- May31 -- Stan Paregien -- poem for our 22nd anniversary

1984--041--B--StroudOK--May31--Peggy--StanParegien--22nd-anniversary

1984--042--StroudOK--StacyParegien--on-Paula

Stacy Paregien on one of the several horses we had at our little farm over the years. She was a very good rider and loved any and all animals (as her mother did/does).

I had Mr. Charles Mozley for Social Studies and as a drama teacher (I was in one play, for which I received an Emmy . . . or was it a Showoff Award. Heck, I forget. Anyway, Mrs. Mozley was a really wonderful teacher and a genuinely nice guy. He was a little funny looking, being a small leprechaun kind of guy with one blue eye and one brown eye. Hey, If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’. He would stop lecturing every once in a while to state some something he hoped we’d remember. His only words I recall are when he smiled that impish smile and announced, “I have only two faults: I cannot resist pain . . . or temptation.” I’ve thought about that every once in a while over the years. He pretty well summed it up.

In 1984, he got to thinking about which of all our high school football teams was the best to ever play at Fillmore Union High School in Fillmore, Calif. He decided it was the team of 1958 — the team on which I held down the right end position. No, funny people, I was not just at the right end of the bench. I started almost every game. And we beat every doggone team we faced by a bunch. That is, until we played my old school where I went to junior high school, William S. Hart (the silent screen movie star) High School in Newhall (now known as Santa Clarita). Those guys, several of whom I still knew, kicked our butts all over that field in front of 6,000 folks. We lost 25 to zip. And that, dear readers, was the end of that.

1984--057--CA--Fillmore--Football Team of 1958--by Charles Mozley--Sept

1984--059--OK--Stroud--Stacy Paregien -- fall

1984--061--OK--Stroud--Stan 'Gene' Paregien Jr in Letterman jacket -- fall

 

1984--063--B--OK--Stroud--Stan Paregien Sr -- card from Richie Vallen's mother, Connie Valenzuela

When Business People Lie

If they ever put a photo next to “bald-faced lie” in the dictionary, I’d nominate this document. In 1982, the area of Oklahoma and surrounding oil-related states went into a deep recession. The rest of the nation barely noticed, but thousands of families in the area were hit hard. Many banks and oil-related businesses declared bankruptcy and/or went out of business. That included many of my clients when I was in the life & health insurance business. Pretty soon I found myself having to take another job. And that was as a lab technician at Allied Materials Company in Stroud, Okla. We refined crude oil and made and sold jet fuel as well as  roofing tar and related items.

Allied had been in business in Stroud for some 40 years. They provided many of the best-paying jobs in Lincoln County. Then rumors started going around that the company was in trouble. I still have a video recording of the president of our company being interviewed by radio and TV reports. He stood right there and told them there was no truth to the rumors, that the company was doing fine. And below is the letter which he addressed to we employees. He was lying through his teeth.

1984--069--OK--Stroud---Closing down in the fall of '84 the Allied Refinery--where Stan Paregien was working as a lab tech

Things rocked along. We shut down for our regular “turn around,” during which we did major updates and repairs to our equipment. We even had 40 or so certified contract welders taking the place apart and putting it back together. Very expensive job, of course. And then these news stories hit the newspapers and the end was near.

1984--070--OK--Stroud---Closing down in the fall of '84 the Allied Refinery--where Stan Paregien was working as a lab tech

Even our dear sweet, lying dog of a company leader had to admit they were closing the doors on most of our operation. It was terrible news for our community and the entire area.

1984--072--OK--Stroud---Closing down in the fall of '84 the Allied Refinery--where Stan Paregien was working as a lab tech

Even then, he did not tell us all of the truth. The fact is that the Environmental Health Department discovered and proved the company was illegally disposing of toxic materials and asbestos materials at their dump, which was on a creek which flowed right into nearby Deep Fork Creek. Numerous residents learned their water wells had been polluted for many years. So it was a sad, bitter day when 280 were terminated in November of 1984. 

All those refining towers, furnaces, tanks and lines that were updated or repaired a couple of months earlier? A year or two later Allied sold them for scrap metal at pennies on the dollar.

Well, as my all-time favorite radio newsman Paul Harvey used to say after telling a morbid story: “Wash your ears out with the following good news.”

So here is little poem which my sister, Roberta Paregien Loffswold Fournier (Class of 1961 at Fillmore; my wife graduated in the Class of 1961 at nearby Ventura High) wrote:

1984--089 A poem, 'My Home Town - Fillmore, Calif' - by Roberta Paregien Loffswold Fournier - died on June 5, 2015

There you have it, a roundup of reasons why I could say why 1984 was a “Vintage Year” for us in particular. A few hard knocks, but lots of wonderful times with friends and family. 

Thanks to the good Lord for helping us make it through another year. There were even bigger changes ahead. Stay tuned for more sometime down the road.

— Stan

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17

THE END. Or pert near it.

Issue 378 – Extravagant Love

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 378     Oct. 9 , 2018    An Occasional Blog     Bradenton, FL

Extravagant Love

Do you ever get excited about getting to share something wonderful you’ve discovered? Sure you do. If we have found a restaurant where the food is good almost beyond description . . . and those who wait on us are fast, friendly and efficient . . . and the price is unquestionably reasonable, . . . well, we can hardly sit still until we can share that fantastic news with any and everybody we meet. Right. You betcha.

That’s what this section of this particular blog is all about. Here’s a little info about some really challenging and inspiring and motivational books I have read over the last year or so. I have posted their respective covers and a few introductory pages so you can get a taste of this absolutely delicious mental food for thought. Yep, friends, this is really, really good stuff and I present it for you consideration.

WARNING AND DISCLAIMER:  Buying and reading these books may be hazardous to your sacred cows and prejudices.

At least that has been my personal experience, and I’m still thinking about how . . . as these authors share . . . I can be more open and and receptive to ideas and people which force me to think outside my comfortable box (hey, it’s comfortable here in my box with my big-screen TV, newspaper, cup of coffee and a cookie or two). They each challenge us to be more impromptu and proactive in our lives, to follow the Spirit into new relationships with other Believers and non-Believers alike, and to not always have to have a master plan executed before taking a step into the unknown.

Happy reading, my friends.

Oh, one other thing. On the pages which follow you’ll occasionally see some marks. Those are mine. I confess to being a natural-born scribbler of stuff on the margins of books I read. Just thought I’d let you know so you won’t be too distracted by them.

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A1 front cover

Bob Goff is one of God’s living, breathing and doing disciples. He is sort of an Energizer Bunny on steroids. When you read about his gift for living spontaneously, you cannot help thinking maybe you’re tied up in a big knot by your lifestyle, your church traditions, and your prejudices and stereotypes about what how restrictive the Christian life is. 

Well, ol’ Bob might just say to you, “Okay, enough moaning the blues and living in a spiritual straight-jacket. C’mon, let’s look around and do love on somebody. And let’s do it now, not when it is more convenient. Now, not after you’ve Googled a research paper on the subject. Now, not after your elders have met and voted on it. Now, . . . as in right this instant.”

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A2 first-half of back cover

Yes, that is a copywriter’s best PR effort to capture in an easy-to-swallow capsule the essence of Bob Goff the man and Bob Goff the message. The PR guy got it right, but he was trying to squeeze a Goliath-sized, hair-legged Geni into a way-too-small bottle. Even after you read the entire book, the first word from your lips will probably be the same as it was from mine: “Wow!”

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A3 second-half of back cover

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A4 foreword, p. vii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A5 foreword by Donald Miller, p viii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A5 foreword by Donald Miller, p ix

And here is one of the first lawyers you’ve ever met . . . that you’ll like . . . and keep on liking. Ultimately, you’re really glad this guy is on our side (i.e., the Lord’s side) and using his enthusiasm to spread sunshine. He is “the unsinkable Molly Brown” in a tee shirt, worn jeans and a pair of deck shoes. Bob is a first-class “pusher,” a pusher of extravagant love.

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A6 , p. xi

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A7 ,Introduction - p. xiii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A7 , Introduction - p. -xii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A8 , p. xiv - 1

Okay, folks, my advice is for you to call your closest Christian bookstore and see whether they have this book by Bob Goff in stock and, if they do, hop in your Little Red Wagon and boogie on down to get your own copy. Or order it online. But don’t wait. Do it now. And then get a few extra copies to give as birthday or  Christmas gifts. Yep, neighbors, this book really is that good. It is a giant sparkplug between the covers of a book.

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - A1 front cover

Now, friends, THE OPEN CHURCH is a book that will challenge your traditions and what you think you know about the church of Jesus Christ. It didn’t start off as complicated and compartmentalized and formalized as it is today. Somebody said, “status quo” is Latin for “we are stuck in a rut and cannot get out.” But the good news this book has is “Hey, we don’t have to keep doing things the same way.”

My experience has been that everyone I have met has the same two areas of expertise:  religion and politics. I swear on a stack of National Geographics that every person I know must have earned advanced degrees in both Politics and in  Theology degree. Or at least they act like they do.

Hey, I can say that because I include myself in that bunch of opinionated yahoos who can talk long, hard and loud on any topic at all related to religion or politics. I don’t know why that is. It just is.

However, now is the time to suspend our collective world-class intellect and listen to this challenging lesson from the late James H. Rutz. He tells us how we got in this sophisticated mess that Christianity is in right now. Understanding that evolutionary digression from First Century Christianity can help us muster enough courage to toss overboard a lot of the unnecessary baggage we have accumulated. So read on, friends.

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - A2 back cover

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 01

 

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 02

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 03

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 04

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 05

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 08

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 09

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 10

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 11

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 178

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 179

Whew, Billy Bob, that gives you a lot to digest, doesn’t it? There may be some real discomfort in what Rutz said, enough for a king-sized episode of heartburn. That may be just what many of us needed to jar us out of our comfort zone. I hope so.

And there’s more . . . . 

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - A1 Front cover of the book

MCKNIG~2

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 09

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 10

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 11

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 12

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 13

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 14

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 15

Tossed salad

The church is like a tossed salad. Hmmm. I wish I had thought of that. It is so simple to understand and it is right on target, theologically. Any group (i.e., congregation) of Christians is bound to be different from others elsewhere, just as any one disciple in a given church is different in many ways from most other members. 

Yet, despite . . . or maybe because of . . . those differences our loving God desires and expects the members of his extended family to love each other, cooperate with each other, and get along with each other as well as any family can do. It ain’t easy, Virginia, but it is what we are to be and to do.

 

Some Personal Notes

 

** Barbara McCormick 

Barbara Marie Taylor McCormick, 78, lately of Kerrville, Texas, passed away on Sept. 6, 2018, in her home. She was surrounded by her loving husband and children. Barbara was born in Uvalde, Texas, to Robert and Marie Taylor on February 6, 1940. She married Claude Ellis McCormick (affectionately referred to as “Junior”) on Dec. 18, 1958.

McCormick, Barbara Marie Taylor - died 9-6-2018

Barbara spent most of her childhood in Del Rio, where she was the mascot for the high school for four years. Her family moved to Snyder in 1954 for her father’s job at J.C. Penny, and she graduated from Snyder High in 1958. She left Snyder for Abilene Christian College that summer to start classes.

While in Abilene, she met the love of her life, and they were married before year’s end. They left Abilene that winter to return to Snyder where Junior worked at the family business. While in Snyder, Barbara and Junior welcomed three children – Jeanne Marie, Cindy Leigh, and Charlie Taylor. She was a stay-at-home mother who committed herself to raising three Godly children and giving them her full support and care. She also opened her home to two exchange students that became like family to the McCormicks – Inge from Austria and Patricia from Ecuador.

Barbara loved Snyder (Texas) and was very involved throughout the community. She was a regular volunteer and project leader at East Side Church of Christ, where she served faithfully in both women’s Bible study and youth group Bible classes. She relished the opportunity to work with church members on a church cookbook, which her granddaughters use to this day. Barbara was also an instrumental part of the India Mission Fund that East Side still supports and went several times to India to visit with Brother and Sister Medidi to oversee and participate in the work there.

She was Snyder’s Republican delegate traveling to state and national conventions. Barbara served several terms on the Texas Historical Foundation board and was active with Women for Abilene Christian University.

Barbara was probably best known for her enthusiasm for photography. Her vastly impressive skills were called on frequently throughout her life, as she documented a wide array of events. Her images were regularly published in the local paper. But more than that, her generosity and kindness were conveyed through her pictures. For every image she took, she made several copies and mailed them to each person pictured or anyone who would appreciate having the image, along with a beautiful card and heart-felt letter. Her pictures have been mailed across nations and over decades and remain treasured keepsakes for those who received them.

Barbara was a world-traveler and shared her love of exploring new places with friends and family alike. No one who loved Barbara missed Texas! in Palo Duro Canyon, and everyone had fun walking San Antonio’s River Walk with her. But her travels extended far beyond the lone-star state and included four of the seven continents. Barbara never met a stranger and could somehow make a connection between everyone she encountered and her hometown of Snyder.

Her love of life was undeniable and unapologetic. She had room in her heart for everyone, and her memory and love will long live on.  Barbara is preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Marie Taylor. Barbara will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 59+ years, Junior McCormick; her children, Jeanne Ketchersid (Tim), Cindy Schroeder, and Charlie McCormick (Cayce); her grandchildren, Timothy Ketchersid, Heather Davila (Jason), Courtney Ketchersid, Madison Schroeder, Garrett Schroeder, Hannah Schroeder, Emma McCormick, and Adelaide McCormick; and her great-grandchildren, Thaddeus, Judah and Delia Marie Davila. Memorial services were held Sept. 15, 2018, at East Side Church of Christ in Snyder, Texas.

NOTE:  Peggy and I went to church with Junior and Barbara for nearly six years during our stay in Snyder, Texas. They were a friendly and hospitable couple who, like Jesus himself, went about doing good. They were part of a prominent and wealthy family in Snyder, but never let that be a handicap to them.

**  Sheriff Keith Collier

Keith Thomas Collier, 85, of Snyder, died Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 at his residence in Snyder. Funeral services were held Aug. 10th at 37th Street Church of Christ with Brady Collier and Will Collier officiating. 

Keith Thomas Collier was born on Sept. 30, 1932 in Hawley, Texas to Thomas Mirt and Heddy “Lollar” Collier. He married Janice Hughes on March 2, 1951 in Fluvanna. Mr. Collier was in law enforcement for 36 years; 32 of those years he served as sheriff. He was president of the sheriff’s association, was the recipient of the Tom Tellepson Award and the Bill Decker Award, director of the Texas Association of Counties and president of West Central Texas Law Enforcement.

Locally, he was a Gold Coater for the Snyder Chamber of Commerce, director of the Noah Project, member of the Snyder Lions Club and served on the Scurry County Hospital District board of directors. He was also a member of 37th Street Church of Christ and belonged to several RV groups.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Kenneth Collier, one son, Joe Collier, one grandson, Tucker Collier, and one great-granddaughter, Paityn Collier.  Survivors include his wife, Janice Collier of Snyder; two daughters, Keitha Brown and her husband, James, and Tracy Lewis and her husband, Randy, all of Snyder; two sons, Tim Collier and his wife, Connie, and Dwain Collier and his wife, Sheila, all of Snyder.

NOTE:  I spent a lot of time in the Scurry County Jail, where Keith held forth as the Sheriff of the County. No, I wasn’t incarcerated. I was usually there on official business in my capacity as Director of the Scurry County Mental Health Center, interviewing and assisting prisoners as needed. Keith and I were both members of the large Lions Club in Snyder (some 75 in actual attendance at each weekly luncheon), and for which I served as Vice President one year and President the next year. He was highly respected.

** Dr. Anthony (“Tony”) Ash 

Ash, Tony - died at age 86 in 2018NOTE: I first met Dr Tony Ash in about 1969 when he spoke at a “Restoration Discussions” event when Roy Young and I hosted in Oklahoma City. Then, in about 1977 when I preached for the independent Christian Church in Stroud, Okla., he stayed in our home while he was in town to give a marriage and family seminar at our church. A very friendly guy, and a Biblical scholar. 

Anthony Lee (“Tony”) Ash was born Oct. 29, 1931 in Lincoln, Neb. He earned an A.A. degree from Florida Christian College (Temple Terrace, FL) in 1954. He married Barbara Bailey in 1955. He earned his M.A. in Old Testament from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX in 1959. In 1966 he earned his Ph.D. in Church History from the University of Southern California. He was a Bible professor at ACU for over 40 years, during which he preached (usually part-time) for five different congregations in Abilene. He was a recognized authority on the life of Christian author C.S. Lewis. He and Barbara had been married 62 years when he died on Dec. 6, 2017. 

** Gary Freeman

Gary Freeman died in Springfield, Oregon on July 30, 2017 at the age of 84. He was born in Gallatin, Tenn., on Aug. 21, 1932. He earned his B.A. in Bible (with a major in Greek) and his M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut. He spent many years as a minister for churches in Connecticut, Ohio and California. The last job of his career was as an English professor, a writer and film critic at Orange Coast College. That was from 1970 until he retired in 1990.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Gary, but he was one of my favorite writers back in the 1960’s and later. For years he wrote a bi-weekly column in our denomination’s news magazine, one which was way outside the box of conservatism. His comedic timing was right on. For example, in one column he mentioned how he had been applying for openings for jobs preaching and having a tough time getting responses. He said one day he hit on an idea which got him a lot of responses. He said he replaced his name on the applications with the name of Dr. Batsell Barrett Baxter. Now to laugh at that insider joke, you have to know Dr. Baxter (a former professor of mine, by the way) at that time was our church’s answer to Billy Graham. Baxter was head of the Bible Department at Lipscomb University in Nashville; he preached for one of the largest congregation in Nashville; and he was the radio and TV speaker for a nationally syndicated radio and TV show called “The Herald of Truth.” That joke was funny to me, then, and it still is today.

However, Gary may have reached his biggest audiences with the two books he wrote: Are You Going to Church More but Enjoying it Less? and a best-seller titled, A Funny Thing Happened to Me On the Way to Heaven. That last book was about all the funny things that happened in the 1950s and 1960s at conservative Christian Colleges across the country. Heck, I just found and bought a really used copy and plan to give it another read after several decades. He was a funny guy, and a brave one, too.

He started the Preface to his book the same way he ended the book:  with witty sarcasm: “There’s not a word of truth in the following story. I don’t just mean that the story is fiction, which is obvious enough. I mean that it isn’t based on anything. The religious attitudes portrayed herein are preposterous. They’re completely unlike any I’ve ever seen. There are no churches like this one, no people like Dr. Thorndike and Allbright and Charles Francis Duncan, no schools like Sinai Christian College. The very idea that innocent people can get crushed in ecclesiastical machinery, or that there is any tension between idealism and institutionalism, is too fantastic to require refutation. Readers who think they see dim parallels somewhere should be locked up.”

As I recall, there were quite a few “Defenders of the Faith” who thought Freeman should be locked up. Or worse. And they were not being witty.

** Billie (Wesley) Silvey

Billie Silvey was a Christian writer, editor and activist who died just before her 75th birthday on Sept. 20, 2017. Born in Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 21, 1942, she graduated from high school at . . . sit down for this, . . . Happy, Texas. If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’. She married Frank Silvey and graduated in 1967 from Pepperdine University with her B.A. in English and journalism. Besides her impressive writing and editing jobs, she was one of the first women in our church to hold the title “Minister.” She was Outreach Minister for the Culver Palms Church of Christ in the Los Angeles area where she specialized in urban evangelism. Never got to meet this talented and dedicated disciple of Christ, but I hope to one day “over yonder” (as my maternal grandparents often said). In many ways she walked . . . and spoke out in places and ways men never ventured.

** Edward William Fudge

Fudge, Edward - photo - 2013 - 2Ed Fudge was “the son of a preacher man,” as an old classic Southern rock says. He was born July 13, 1944 in Lester, Alabama. He graduated from Florida College, then earned both a B.A. and his M.A. degrees in Greek from Abilene Christian University. In 1988 he earned a law degree from the University of Houston. He lived in Houston and practiced law there until he died at age 73 on Nov. 25, 2017.

I cannot testify as to his eloquence as a speaker, other than to say he was in demand. He did impress me as a wonderful writer who could write with grace, empathy for the human condition, and remarkable insights on many subjects.

Fudge, Edward -- The Fire That Consumes -3rd editionHe stirred up the fires in hell . . . and in many a preacher’s study . . . by his hugely popular book on the topic of . . . yep, . . . hell. What it is, what it ain’t, and so forth. He caught more than he share of . . . , well, flack for challenging the traditional views of hade. In 2012 a movie company produced a first-class documentary about how he struggled to understand what the Bible says about hell and how many people were as mad as . . . , uh, the dickens at him for his conclusions. Edward, I’ve sure got some big questions for you when I get to join you . . . a long way from hell.

 

** George W. Bailey

1969-021 Preachers with Mayfair ties - OKC--011969-023 note from George W Bailey - preacherGeorge W. Bailey born in Ola, Texas on April 3, 1922. He graduated from high school in Kaufman, Texas. He attended Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.), Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the University of New Mexico and Abilene (TX) Christian University. Though he never received a degree, George was an intelligent man who was largely self-educated. 

Bailey was a gifted preacher who spiked his sermons with numerous short witticisms or bits of wisdom. From 1954 to 1972, he was the pulpit minister for the University Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, the home congregation for scores of highly educated professors at Abilene Christian University and hundreds of college students. He was so loved that the “George W. Bailey Endowed Bible Scholarship” was set up at ACU to honor him. 

George Bailey also preached in more than a hundred nations on six continents. He was the featured speaker for many years on both the “Herald of Truth” nationally syndicated TV and radio programs. He and his late wife had been married for 68 years. He died in Katy, Texas on Nov. 11, 2017 at the age of 95. 

Unity in Christ

Until next time, be a blessing to others and give Jesus the credit.

— Stan

 

AA Fair Use Disclaimer - 2018 - 02 for entire newsletter or blog

 

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17