Thursday, June 29, 2006


'The Star Spangled Banner'

1. O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

4. Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just;
And this be our motto, “In God is our trust!”
And the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Written by Lawyer Francis Scott Key During War of 1812

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blonde Jokes

Two blondes living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking, and one blonde says to the other, 'Which do you think is farther away. ... Florida or the moon?' The other blonde turns and says 'Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida ?????'

CAR TROUBLE: A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died. After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly. She says, 'What's the story?' He replies, 'Just crap in the carburetor' She asks, 'How often do I have to do that?'

SPEEDING TICKET: A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her license. She replied in a huff, 'I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!'

RIVER WALK :There's this blonde out for a walk. She comes to a river and sees another blonde on the opposite bank. 'Yoo-hoo!' she shouts, 'How can I get to the other side?' The second looks and shouts, "You are already on the other side."

AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE: A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it. 'Impossible!' says the doctor. 'Show me.' =0 A The redhead took her finger, pushed on her left shoulder and screamed, then she pushed her elbow and screamed even more. She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed. Everywhere she touched made her scream. The doctor said, 'You're not really a redhead, are you? 'Well, no' she said, 'I'm actually a blonde.' 'I thought so,' the doctor said. 'Your finger is broken.'

KNITTING: A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, 'PULL OVER !' 'NO!' the blonde yelled back, 'IT'S A SCARF!'

BLONDE ON THE SUN: A Russian, an American, and a Blonde were talking one day. The Russian said, 'We were the first in space!' The American said, 'We were the first on the moon!' The Blonde said, 'So what? We're going to be the first on the sun!' The Russian and the American looked at each other and shook their heads. 'You can't land on the sun, you idiot! You'll burn up!' said the Russian. To which the Blonde replied, 'We're not stupid, you know. We're going at night!'

IN A VACUUM: A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. It was her turn. She rolled the dice and she landed on Science & Nature. Her question was, 'If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your n ame, can you hear it?' She thought for a time and then asked, 'Is it on or off?'

FINALLY, THE BLONDE JOKE TO END ALL BLONDE JOKES! A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new dogs, and asked her what their names were. The blonde responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Timex. Her friend said, 'Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?' 'HELLLOOOOOOO......,' answered the blond. 'They're watch dogs!'

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tower of Babel

When I was in high school, we were required to prepare a deck of vocabulary words. On the 3 by 5 cards we wrote a word on the front and the definition of the word on the back.

These cards we carried with us to study new words and to make them a part of our vocabulary.

As adults our stacks of vocabulary cards kept growing as got into jobs, married or moved into college and perhaps into graduate school.

My husband and I married as teen agers, and raised seven children I finally graduated from college after our children were grown and went to Seminary as a middle aged widow. Those of us who enrolled in Candler School of Theology (Emory University) remember our first class when Dr. William Mallard said, “When you go home today and you are asked
what you learned in seminary you can say, 'uh Hermeneutics.’" So were added “hermeneutics” (without the “uh” )and other theological words to or vocabulary. Mallard defined the word as “the science of the interpretation of Scripture or method of exegesis.”

Let us to imagine that each word in our vocabulary… is on a 3 by 5 card and the cards are stacked in rows on a table. As we write and/or as we speak…even as I am writing…words are selected and combinations of words are used…to communicate…to convince…to tell a story…to relay a message.

All the words in our English language use only 26 letters. Everything we need to know…all the words used to express all meaning can be said or written using only 26 letters. Yet it takes a thick dictionary to hold them all.

And we are sometimes speechless…inadequate when it comes to selecting the right word or combination of words and putting the words together to communicate effectively with one another.

I suppose all of us who have an interest in writing or speaking or in any communication, struggle with finding the right word…the correct combination of words…and with putting meaning into ”words.”

If we are a writer or a teacher, or a minister we might say, “words are the tools of our trade. Churchill said, “short words are best and old words are best of all.” It was said of Churchill, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”

Recently I had occasion to go to Fort McPherson.I stopped at the gate to get a pass. Two young soldiers, a man and a woman were in the gatehouse.They were talking loudly in sounds that sounded like serious argument. The young man came overto see my drivers license. As he was filling out my pass, I decided to ask about it. I asked if they ere fighting or just clowning around. He said,“Oh we were just talking.” Just taking?

It got me to thinking about language…words…rhetoric.

Which comes first, language or thoughts?
Do words form or belief systems or do concepts?

Do concepts (from the depths of our subconscious)
give birth to our language…our rhetoric.

Words! In these few minutes…as I have been writing, I have taken a stack …a pile of words…short words…old words…words that tend variety…and arranged them as prose.
Prose is words which tend toward variety.

Poetry or verse in our culture is words arranged with repetition in their accent rhythm and which tend toward uniformity rather than variety.

The value of poetry is not confined to what is said. Equally as important is the language used …the words! Not just the meaning but being “surrounded by the words.”

In the Old Testament book of Ruth, we might say "Ruth was homesick. But it is not the same as saying with Keats, “She stood in tears amid the alien corn”.

We could say “the surise was beautiful” but we catch our breath when Emily Dickinson
wrote, “I’ll tell you how the sun rose…A ribbon at a time.”

I close this meditation with some words, some theology vocabulary words…arranged as verse. And I suppose it goes back to our society being inundated with words.

The first verse in the book of John tells us the prophets of old came generation after generation with words about God and many did not "get it." Then one day in the city of Bethlehem the Word was made flesh and we beheld his glory.

Could it be.., “what we are sometimes building” is not a brave new world but a Tower of Babel .

I pile my poetry words… Up high
Theology words …Up to the sky.

And higher…High as eye can see
Hermeneutics, Exergesis,…Theodicy!

Early on…Diversity…
The “cutting edge.”…Plurality.

We add Process…Theology,

I clap my hands…My words have power,
I dance around…My poetry tower.

Confusion…Babel tumbles down.
My words lie silent…On the ground.

And kneeling there…in wordless loss,
I find the”WORD” ...Beneath a cross!

by Ruth Baird Shaw

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ash Wednesday

When our daughter, Deborah was critically ill at age 2 months, her Daddy and I sat in the waiting room of the hospital where other people with sick children were waiting.

If you have spent many days in a hospital waiting room, you realize how you begin to interact with people. You listen to their story and tell yours. You become concerned about their loved one and appreciate their concern for yours. Each individual patient is precious to someone.

Charles and I were so distraught that someone asked, “Is she your only child?” I replied, “She is our fifth child, but she is our only Debi.”

Jesus came to earth to tell us the amazing news that each individual one of us is precious to God. We each have our own fingerprint, our own voice ascent, our own DNA. God so loved each one of us that he sent Jesus that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:15)

The Pharisees thought God rejoiced in the death of “sinners.” In Luke 15 , Jesus tell us there is joy in heaven when each one of us repents of our wandering and believes this greatest Good News the world has ever heard! (Luke 15:10)

Ash Wednesday begins Lent and the believer’s journey to Holy Week and Easter. It is a journey of individual repentance and prayer. In the Service of Ashes, we kneel at the altar and the pastor marks the sign of the cross in ashes on our forehead. The ashes are to remind us that our physical body is dying. The sign of the cross is to remind us that we are more than our physical body.

What we call” death” does not have the last word over what God calls “life.” It is Ash Wednesday but Easter is coming!

Prayer: Father, during this Lenten season help each one of us to kneel at the cross in humility and to arise in the strength of knowing who we are in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Father's Day . A Father's Legacy

Most come to Father’s Day thinking of our own father or the dear man or men who loved and supported us as a child, rather than thinking of some honor due if we happen to also be a father.

I read an article recently entitled, “A Father’s Death Leaves Love Behind.” William Maddox write about his father-in-law, a man he never met because the dad died when his wife was only 3

His wife’s Dad had been a musician who sang in a quartet and had cut a few records. William Maddox said his wife’s father’s legacy lived on because his words and deeds and music had a profound influence on his wife’s upbringing. The father had died young but he did leave a legacy of love behind. Maddox said his wife loved to go to the church where her father often sang…and she also became interested in finding her father’s God.

My father, Benjamin Wilson Baird had a profound influence on me. He died when I was nine. I remember as a young child missing my Dad so much I would pray that I would see him in a dream.

I would hear other children say, “I want to be a nurse “ or “I want to be a policeman when I grow up” and I would think, “I want to be a Christian like Papa.” His Christian influence was a greater legacy for me than any amount of money or property he could have left me.

My mother’s dad also died when she was a baby. Mama told me one day, when other children would wear a new dress or shoes and say, “my papa bought them for me” she would feel sad and think, “If my papa was still alive, I would have new things…”

I am glad for movements like “PROMISE KEEPERS” and other movements among men to help them and to help us all to realize how much men are needed in the lives of children and how rewarding it is for men to grow old with offspring who love and respect them because of the care they gave to their children when they were young.

My father was a devout Christian who did not want to leave his wife and children. But as heart disease weakened his body, he was so certain of heaven that he looked forward to death as one would anticipate a long awaited vacation.


At a Memorial Service at our church Conference a few years ago, Bishop Bevel Jones preached and one of the things he said was about Aristotle Onasis, who amid his millions, never had a cause he supported. Jones said, “To leave no estate is not a disgrace but to leave no legacy is a tragedy.

The influence of a father cannot be over emphasized. Studies have shown that when a father is missing, absent from the home, there is a hole in the child, especially in a son, that cannot quite be filled

Fortunately, the Bible teaches there is a remedy. Many of the great leaders of past generations have filled this space, this hole left by an absent father with the Heavenly Father. The Psalmist David tells us even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up. God is able to take all kinds of tragedy and bring about good when we commit our live to him.



Looking back I know I was profoundly influenced by my mother telling me about my father…how he prayed for me…how on his death bed he prayed for each child by name…that they would come to know Jesus.

Paul in Philippians 1, writes like a father to beloved children. He calls them his “joy and crown.” In verse 2-4, He writes:
“Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Always and in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.”



Just a year or so before Charles had his first heart attach, we were pulling off the expressway to go to the parsonage in Austell where we lived at the time. We saw a man fall down beside the road. We had gotten past him so drove back. Charles asked me to stay in the car until he talked to the man. The man was on crutches with a broken leg in a cast and falling down drunk. Charles put him in the car, took him home with us, put him in the shower and helped him get a bath while I washed his clothes and fixed him something to eat. Later Charles called and got him into a Christian home for alcoholic’s nearby.

So it is…we came to Jesus just as we are, clothed in the garments of sin, spiritually starving and sick unto death. We are welcomed by Christ (and hopefully by Christians)…accepted just as we are, bathed in his love and forgiveness…transformed and clothed in his Grace…indeed given a place at His table of Grace.

I heard Dottie Rambo tell of praying for a brother who had become alcoholic. He was finally saved and Dottie wrote the song, “He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Need
“Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise
For it was Grace that bought my liberty.
I do not know just why He came to love me so…
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need…
I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary.
To view the cross where Jesus dies for me…
How marvelous…the Grace that caught my falling soul:
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.”

In Philippians 1, Paul reminds us that God has given us a new status “IN CHRIST” In fact, Paul gives them two addresses. They are “in Christ” and they are “In Philippi.” They are to let their life “in Christ Jesus “ be evident “in Philippi.” Paul reminds us all that we are called to be “in Christ” wherever we are.

Paul had been in the limelight. Now he is in the backwaters. But he rejoices. Because…whatever else is missing… “the Lord is at hand.” Paul might be “in bonds”, changed to a Roman guard. But he is “ in Christ Jesus.” He might have a thrown in the flesh…but he is “in Christ Jesus.”


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Southern Grandma

Southern grandma

Lawyers should never ask a Southern grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned! Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Why, yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him." The defense attorney almost died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, "If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you to the electric chair."

Sunday, June 11, 2006


You never know what your actions mean.

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.

His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a
Friday? He must really be a nerd."

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my
friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.

His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten
feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes

My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around
looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. " They really should get lives. " He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face.

It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.

As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never
seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now.

I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.

I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends . He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! " He just laughed ! and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.

When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd.

He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.

He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!"

He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and
smiled. "Thanks," he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began: "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.

Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly
your friends... I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.

I am going to tell you a story." I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met.

He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.

He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have
to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable."

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy
told us all about his weakest moment.

I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful
smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions.With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse.

God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Billy Graham

Billy Graham is now 86 years old with Parkinson's disease.

In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina,
invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in
his honor.

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he
struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte
leaders said, "We don't expect a major address. Just
come and let us honor you."
So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham
stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, "I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who
this month has been honored by Time magazine as the
Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from
Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the
aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he
came to Einstein, Einstei n reached in his vest pocket. He
couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser
pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him.
He still couldn't find it.

The conductor said, "Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket.
Don't worry about it."
Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued
down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to
move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his
seat for his ticket. <>

The conductor rushed back and said, "Dr. Einstein,
Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket.
I'm sure you bought one."

Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'"

Having said that Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing?
It's a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in
my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went
out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion.

You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which
I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want
you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. I want
you to remember this:

I not only know who I am .. I also know where I'm going."

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wrong Address

A couple from Minneapolis decided to go to Florida to thaw out during one particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the very same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.

Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel.

There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, he sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister of many years who died following a sudden heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends.

After reading the first message, she fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen, which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: 16 May 2003
I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is hot down here!!