The educator Bill Cosby was in Tulsa last week. Better known for his comedy, Dr. Cosby (he has a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst) spent the day speaking to students at Booker T. Washington High School, business and community leaders at a rotary club, and to the urban religious community. He was very serious in a naturally funny way.
I remember memorizing and performing his famous Noah’s Conversation with God routine as a teenager. It probably gave me some of the confidence needed to speak before a room full of people. It is a lot harder to write your own material. Cosby has had a significant and ground breaking career as a performer. While listening to him in person it struck me that he passionately wanted to make the rest of his life count. He is heart-broken at the state of family life in America today.
His topic at the clergy session was fatherhood and the role of spiritual leaders. Speaking at times like a Cliff Huxtable, Cosby admonished us that the failure of educational leadership in the home, especially the absence of fathers, is destroying the lives of thousands of children year after year. Sexual promiscuity, early pregnancies, drugs and the gang/prison culture devalue human life, self-respect, and the educational process. “It costs $8,000 to $10,000 to educate a child per year. It costs about $41,000 per prisoner per year.” He said that it was time for churches to equip neighborhood families and take personal responsibility in the well-being of young people. He also stated that he did not want to come back to Tulsa one day and discover that nothing had changed for the good. He meant it.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Let’s step up. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
I have been thinking all day today about bacon—it’s not just for breakfast anymore, you know. I made it through the state fair without eating the much talked about deep-fried, bacon-wrapped, cheese-filled jalapeño pepper-poppers on a stick. Dip it in chocolate and you have just added your dessert, making it a completely balanced meal. You could even wash it down with a Bacon Smoothie. The Village Inn recently introduced a Chocolate Caramel Bacon Cream Pie on its featured pie list.
The speculation that there might be a bacon shortage due to the drought in the mid-west briefly caused the price of bacon to go up recently. We love our bacon. I believe it is the sweet saltiness that makes the difference. That is what Jesus asked of His followers—be salt, flavor the world with God’s love. (Matthew 5:13-16) This all brought me to thinking about my friend Jan Laub. A few hours later our paths crossed at the Recycling Center, of all places. I asked her to tell me again her bacon story.
Jan wanted to make a gumbo from an old cookbook. The recipe called for “one cup of bacon grease.” As a busy young adult, she did not have that much bacon grease, nor did she want to cook that much bacon to make a whole cup of bacon drippings. Thus Granny’s Good Ol’ Fashion Bacon Drippings was born. She put together a business plan, experimented with some recipes, and developed a way to purify, package and place her product in local grocery stores. Demand has grown to the point that she is about to go nation-wide with her bacon drippings. (Go to http://twinfoods.com to learn more.) I love her homemade chocolate chip cookies—the ones where she replaces the butter with an equal amount of bacon drippings.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Be sweet and salty. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
Our mothers said we could go. My friend David and I each had 25¢ in our pockets. We got on our bicycles and headed out through the neighborhood for the theater, which was maybe two miles away. The Saturday matinee was nearly irresistible to a couple of 11 year-olds. On many Saturdays it was a double feature. We could not get there fast enough. I do not remember what movies were showing that day, but I will always remember what happened next on that bright, sunshiny day.
Two little kids riding bicycles with no adult supervision was not unheard of in those times. Bad things could happen even back then, we just did not hear about them very often. Bad news travels faster today with video-equipped computer phones in everyone’s pocket or purse. Nothing bad happened to us that day, just a marvel and a choice.
We only had to cross one major street. Just before we got to that street, without saying a word, we both stopped and stared. Across the intersection was a wall of rain. We were in bright sunlight. I did not know that was even possible. It was like the rain cloud had stopped for the red light. We were perfectly dry yet not 25 feet in front of us it was pouring down rain. The only way to get to the movies was through the rain. While we debated turning back or pressing on, we started feeling the raindrops. We chose to press on. It is cold in a movie theater when you are all wet, but we lived, and laughed and saw the rainbow when we came out. I am glad we chose to go on.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Press through the storms. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
Memories and stories can transport us anywhere. I stopped for a sandwich in Oklahoma City Monday. As I stared out the window, I saw the Eiffel Tower sitting on the roof of a strip mall across the street. Odd place for the scale model tower I thought. Parked cars blocked some of the view of the building. Then I noticed the French flag flying stiffly in the wind. All of this triggered memories of Paris and lunch with Dorothy in the restaurant located on the second level of the Eiffel Tower.
The view of Paris from the restaurant is amazing. We were there because of the generosity of our church family. In recognition of our 30th anniversary as pastor of Braden Park Baptist Church, we were provided the funds and two weeks vacation time to travel to Europe. Dorothy and I visited Italy, Switzerland and Paris. The time together was inexpressibly delightful. We walked almost everywhere in Paris. We even walked back to the Tower one evening to experience the nightly light display that makes it the beacon for the city.
I finished my sandwich and stepped outside to see that the little strip mall was home to La Baguette French Bistro and Bakery. The owners want their place to become a landmark of its own. Then it struck me that the date was October 1st, the very anniversary of our arrival in Tulsa in 1973. Suddenly I was flooded with more memories and stories of a dedicated and faithful people who have allowed us into the most sacred moments of their lives. In turn, these precious people have shaped, nurtured and loved our family through all of our own sacred times. What a blessing!
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Celebrate your memories. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.