I have developed a theory on how to quickly diagnose whether a person is crazy or not. All you have to do is call them crazy and see how they respond. If they respond by a quick laugh or some other response that is low drama then they probably aren’t crazy. If they have an emotional meltdown after you call them crazy and get very offended that you said they were crazy then they are probably crazy. I have unintentionally tested this theory a few times (not today thankfully) and it seems to hold true. Only crazy people blow up when you call them crazy.

Pam's Poem

I am presently at Emy J’s for a Sunday morning meeting and in between working on some things I decided to look at my Google Reader and see who has posted new blog entries that I might want to look at. Turns out Pam posted one last night (while cooking me one of the best steaks I have ever eaten, making a turtle cheese cake for the family, and watching my favorite movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales” with me – she is quite a woman). I didn’t see this last night but apparently in the midst of doing all that i just described she also found time to write a poem that I really like. Dang I am married to an impressive woman.

Here’s a small part of the poem

Throughout the day I sometimes toss out Twitter-prayers
140 characters or less
“Hey God! Thanks for the snow on the trees. You’re quite an artist.”
“Help me be…patient, strong, organized, brave, compassionate.”
“Be near.”
It’s constant contact throughout the day and that’s something, right?
But You never re-tweet or favorite.

You can read all of it here. I truly married an impressive woman.

Alone Together


Just finished a fun conversation with one of the baristas at Emy J’s, Mindy, concerning Sherry Turkle‘s thought on much of modern society being alone together. I heard Dr. Turkle lecture at a conference and I find her work fascinating. One of the things Turkle talked about was the change between modern coffee shops and coffee shops of the 18th century. The 18th century coffee shop was where the discussions that led to the American Revolution took place. They were a "third place" that people went to and talked with each other. They may have gone to the coffee shop alone but once there you were a part of a group and you interacted with the group. You might have come to the coffee shop alone but you were together once there.

The modern coffee shop? Well it is still a "third place" but if a person goes there alone he/she often does so to be around others but alone at the same time. Ear buds, ipods, smart phones, tablets, and computers enable us to be within 18 inches of another person and yet completely disengaged from the world we share with them. We can be talking with a "friend" on Facebook while completely unaware of the person who is almost touching us. I know a number of people who come to Emy J’s so I usually have a conversation with a few people when I am here. It is still amazing to me how many people are "alone together" here. I am sure that much of that is purposeful and needed. While working on my dissertation I needed lots of quite time. I would place my earbuds in for two purposes, 1) to use the music to partially drown out the noise around me, and 2) to discourage people from interrupting me. Sometimes this is needed. I completely understand that. I also believe that it is often habit. Someone wants to be around people but has developed the habit of "walling" themselves off and can no longer socially interact with strangers.

Anyhow this was a really fun conversation to have with Mindy while we were standing in a coffee shop. Drr. Turkle talks about this in more depth in her book "Alone Together."


Life has recently been pretty busy between church, a small part time job, 12ish hours a week chaplaining at St. Mike’s hospital, Clinical Pastoral Education meetings, and finishing my dissertation to send to my faculty mentor. Therefore, I haven’t posted much to my blog. I keep on thinking of things I want to post but then my mind freezes and I stop. For example, I am curently enthralled by the story of Don Quixote in relation to a story I heard on “To The Best of Our Knowledge” concerning how we shape our own stories. Then my brain freezes and I can’t remember what I was thinking about.

Anyhow today I want to brag on some people at Tapestry. Pam, Amanda, Jan, Jodi, Adam, Drew, Eric, Joel, and a few others have created a website and its content for Lent. Each Sunday a new cover of a Lent/Easter hymn that has been recorded by various “threads” will be released with inspirational peoms, photos, and more. These ladies and gents are amazing.

You should go to and be a part of this thing.

The Bow & Arrow

2013-02-07 17.25.27

Tonight Tapestry provided the meal and ate with the people of the Place of Peace. We do this as a church once a quarter. It is a wonderful thing that I am thankful that we are a part of.

I want to let all the threads know that you provided a good meal and great conversation for a lot of people tonight. Some of you couldn’t be there because of work, school, or other commitments but you were still involved in tonight. Here’s how.

2013-02-07 17.25.16I have a group of friends that make up the Ring Community Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (a church that I love) that taught me the best description I have heard of how missions and service are the result of the entire church.  Imagine a bow and an arrow. The arrow represents the group or person that is doing service. You have to have the arrow but the arrow gets its momentum from the bow. The bow is the sending agent. God sends people through His church. Both the arrow and the bow are necessary. Both are equally important. Without the arrow there is no work. Without the bow there is no power.

You guys who couldn’t be at the Place of Peace are the bow. It was the offerings that you gave through Tapestry that bought the supplies for the jambalaya. If you have given to the ministry that God does in and through Tapestry then you paid for the meal tonight.  Some of you couldn’t be there tonight but you have been a part of the meal at Place of Peace on 2013-02-07 17.54.08other nights and thereby have helped establish the relationship we have with the people who come to the Place of Peace. Some of you were praying for those of us who were there. The group that was there may have served the meal BUT all the threads provided the sending power through the Holy Spirit.

Whether you are a part of the bow or the arrow I just want to say thanks for all the ways that you help us do what God would have us do.

The Question is Why Did I Do That?

While I can’t write about a lot of what I am experiencing in Clinical Pastoral Education, because it might break HIPAA or could break the confidentiality of the CPE meeting, I can write about what I personally am learning. What has been really hitting me over the past week is how much I need to ask one simple question of all that I do. The question is…

Why did I do that?

I know this question sounds kind of self-focused but it is actually a way of making sure that I am focused on the the patient that I am visiting instead of myself. A lot of chaplain (and ministerial) work is in high stress, unusual or awkward situations. We all have things that make us feel uncomfortable or disturb us and we respond to those situations in different ways. Maybe confrontation gets your goat. Or maybe it is silence. How do you respond to those circumstances? Your response is important and may effect your connection with the person who are supposed to be ministering to.

Anyhow I have begun to ask “why did I do that” of a lot of my responses and actions. Did I say something because I thought it was actually needed by the patient or did I say something just because it made me feel better? Was I intimidated by the pain I saw in the room and therefore I tried to excuse myself from the room as soon as possible? Did the patient remind me of someone I have a hard time with and therefore I changed my behavior with him? Did the silence feel awkward and therefore I said some platitude to make myself feel better? Why did I respond the way I did? Was it about me or about the patient?

When I know why I did something I am able to make sure that I am responding to the person’s needs rather than my own. This is a valuable lesson that I needed to be reminded of.

My Driving a Bus Dream


I have a couple of dreams that are pretty consistent. Most of them involve being chased by various things. One dream that I regularly have is driving a bus full of people. It usually shakes me to my core. Why? Well for so reason in my dreams the driver’s console is always around the middle of the bus. That’s right, I am 15 to 20 feet from the front of the bus and there are people sitting in front of me and I am expected to safely drive every one to their destination at highway speeds. Shiver. I always wake up nervous after this dream.

Last night the dream became a little worse. Instead of driving a bus I was driving a semi-trailer where the tractor portion of the semi-trailer was a bus loaded with people and, once again, the driving console was in the middle of the bus. I have no idea why but in my dream the Terrell family was moving (something that isn’t happening). All our earthly possessions where in the full size trailer behind the bus/tractor and for some strange reason we had decided it would be nice to bring lots of people along with us. The dream was anxious enough for me and then we started going down the world’s longest downhill incline. The trailer was fishtailing and people were still moving around in the isle in front of me.

You could probably analyze my dream and say that I fear that I am leading people while being completely inadequate and not really able to see where we are going. You would probably be correct in saying that. All I know is that I never want to drive a bus from the middle of it and I definitely don’t want to drive a tractor-trailer where the tractor is a bus.

Nicaragua Meal Program


As many of you know Tapestry participates with several other churches in feeding around 300 kids a day in Diriamba, Nicaragua through our friends the Baltodanos. I just received word from Jim Wallace (a great guy who I am glad to call my friend even if his jokes aren’t 45499_435287716512_5246959_nas funny as he seems to think they are – you should hear him laugh at his own jokes), who is the lead of the meal program and much more, that the daily meal program is running low on funds and we may have to cut some of the meal locations if other funds don’t come through by March. Jim has asked the members of the church he leads to give $1 a month. You would be amazed how far that goes in Diriamba. They are a large church but I think the threads are better than them. 🙂

45499_435287736512_1764789_nSo how about it? What about $2 a month per person? $3? $5 sounds like a pretty good number to me. I am asking you to consider giving $1 – $5 a month in addition to what you normally give to what God is doing in and through Tapestry. This money will be specifically used for providing meals to kids in Diriamaba and nothing else. Jesus has a pretty warm spot in His heart for feeding the hungry so we should have a warm spot too.

If you are interested please write on your giving envelope, check, or electronic gift that this money is for Diriamba. As a matter of fact, if you want to give something at the Super Bowl Gathering this Sunday I’ll have something set up.

Good Theology

Just read this quote from Stanley Grenz (a theologian I respect greatly, wish was still alive, and who serves as one of the two major theological underpinnings of my dissertation).

Folk theology is inadequate as a resting place for most Christians. It encourages gullibility, vicarious spirituality and simplistic answers to difficult dilemmas that arise from being followers of Jesus Christ in a largely secular and pagan world. It stunts growth and blunts the influence of Christianity in the world. Further, it is often difficult to distinguish Christian folk theology from the canned answers and pasted smiles that cultists display on the doorstep as they peddle their “new revelations” from door to door. — in Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God


Folks you don’t have to read hard theology but please read, listen to, and discuss good theology. Pop/folk theology is the bane of existence. It serves no useful purpose and deceives and hurts a large number of people. The true God is involved in the nutty gritty of life with us and His answers and hope in that nutty gritty are almost always NOT platitudes.

Want some good books / discussions of it? I’ll throw some out in the next day or two. I can say now that Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship is a great work to read. Heck his work Life Together is a great one too.