Proud Mary

“Except for its title, this column has nothing to do with John Fogarty’s song about a riverboat queen. It has to do with a girl I once knew [….] [and] the events that caused her – the hard way – to grow up, to lose her girlish ‘innocence.’ [….] Her name was Mary.”

The Ties That Bind

“Tom Krueger was standing at the church lectern, wearing golfing duds and carrying a nine-iron. [….] ‘I’m dressed today,’ he said, ‘the way I usually dress on Sunday mornings. You’re probably wondering why I, of all people, should be standing here on Stewardship Sunday, encouraging you folks to increase your commitment of ‘time, talents and treasures’ to this church, when my own commitment isn’t what it should be. I’m wondering that, too.’ We all knew Tom, and we all howled with laughter. But the pledges that came in on that autumn day in 1983 more than covered the budget for 1984.”

Muriel’s Parsnips

“I had never tasted candied parsnips before, but after that first serving at Muriel’s house I could never get enough. Muriel Dresser and her husband Marston were members of the Shopiere United Methodist Church, a small, rural congregation near Beloit, WI, where I pastored, 1978-1982. [R]etired farmers, then in their mid-70s[, b]oth were hale and hearty, though Muriel suffered from a severely arthritic hip…. But that never stopped her from attending church[,] doing her household chores[, or from becoming my friend and surrogate grandma].”

“A Heresy Tonight”

In honor of April 1st (aka April Fools’ Day), Dr. Steele would like to share a delightful poem by a delightful friend and professional colleague, Dr. Sarah Morice Brubaker of Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK.

The Life is in the Blood

“I wish to brag a bit here about a ‘certificate of appreciation’ I recently received from the Puget Sound Blood Center after donating my one hundredth unit of A-negative. [Along with some interesting facts on my donation track record, I’d like to] offer a few theological reflections and personal reminiscences on the occasion.”

Wonderful Concentration

“I have never spent a fortnight on death row, anticipating my death. But I have had two very close brushes with death, and I can tell you that staring afterward at what might have been the scenes of fatality also had the effect of ‘concentrating my mind.’”