Monday, November 23, 2009

Dupuytren's contracture

That's a condition from which I have suffered for the last couple of decades. It is a hand condition that is genetic in source and debilitating only if allowed to continue until the fingers are drawn so far toward the palm of the hand that they obstruct the grip of anything. My fingers have started that journey and my grip is affected so correction is on the way.

Why am I telling you this? Because the surgery is tomorrow and the recovery time is a sling for two to three days, a splint-cast 24-7 for one week, then to be worn at night for five weeks.That's the left hand [which has the more advanced contracture] then the procedure is repeated for the right hand.

So for the next three months I will be hindered to some degree with typing on the computer key-board.To what degree I do not yet know. But this post will alert the couple of people who read what I think and write that, while still thinking, the writing will be hindered somewhat. ;)

Seriously, I do wish to let you know because prayer is always in order and, in God's providence, I will do whatever I can to get back to normal as rapidly as possibly.

I told my Surgeon that all things MUST be accomplished by the spring so I can open the swimming pool and ride my motorcycle. :)

[Then there is this blog thing and, yes, that's a picture of my hands this morning at the top of the post.]

Paul B.
UPDATE December 2 2009
Cast comes off tomorrow but splint in place for some portion of 5 weeks. Right hand to be done three days after Christmas with same follow-up cast, splint and possible therapy.
Hunt and peck typing is for the birds.

Monday, November 16, 2009


In Ephesians 4:1 Paul says this....

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called...." [the New American Standard Bible (1995)] The King James version uses the word "vocation" but it is better understood as "calling." It is a reference to the general calling of grace that the first three chapters have described. So all christians have a "calling" and we're to walk accordingly.

Roman Catholic writer Michael Novak wrote a book on 'Business as a calling' in which he presented four aspects of a "calling." [His idea was in the context of business remember.] He said a calling will have ...1) an understanding that it is a personal and unique calling to you.... 2) A requirement for the talents needed for the task and a love for the drugery that may be involved in the task to which you're called.... 3) The presence of an enjoyment for and renewed energies from the doing of the task that is your calling.... 4) A period of discernment and testing for [learning all about] the task to which you're called.

Not bad. I would think in the Ephesians 4 context our calling, which is to the same Lord Paul was a prisoner of in verse 1 and that Lordship calling is for EVERY true believer, might have the same characteristics about it... 1) It IS personal and unique to each of us... 2) We HAVE been gifted for our Life in Him... 3) There IS joy unspeakable in our life in Him and strength provided for the living of life... 4) We then spend the rest of our lives learning what life is all about by "hearing Him" as commanded of the Father. As I said, not bad.

I would also add what someone else has called a fifth aspect of a true calling and it was..5) An orientation away from self so our goal would be the glory of God and the good of others in all things. That makes it even better.

It is obvious from all this that I believe we as christians have accepted the universal vocation [calling] of following Christ and Novak's ideas can be seen as relevent to that task/life.

But... is there in life a calling to a more specific vocation for all of us through which we make a living, provide for our families and, generally, live out our days on earth?

In other words, are we "called" to a career? And if we are, how do we know what we are to do for a career or livelihood if there is, in fact, a calling to one? Add to that the question... is the "calling" to "fulltime ministry" a GREATER calling than the calling to other careers? It is this that I'm addressing today.

Since I believe ALL of life is sacred and there is NO division in scripture between the sacred and the secular [See 1 Corinthians 3:21-23.] I think we are to view ANYTHING we choose to do in life as a "calling." A better way of saying it is we are to see anything we choose to do as an opportunity to life-out our Lordship calling. Choose anything you wish but see it as a commitment to express His life in you and understand that what you do choose is a gift from Him to you.

Someone may be saying "Wait a minute Brother Paul, it sounds like you're saying we can choose however we wish in matters of life instead of finding God's specific will in those matters." I am. The only WILL God has revealed to you and me specifically is that we are to live as what we are...'Sanctified people." [1 Thess. 4:3 the rest of the chapter shows what that looks like.] When we are commited to Him as Lord we will reflect that in whatever we choose. Our life is not to be lived trying to find out what He wishes we would do in each decision but, rather, in celebrating who He is as our Lord and making ANY decision accordingly.

So I say marry whomever you choose, go to whatever College you wish, get whatever degree you desire, and live wherever you long to live. But in EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE see it as that which allows you to be effective for God in the world and bring glory to Him and good for people. Your vocation or marriage or career or whatever will only allow you to establish God's order and virtue in your life and to assist other people to do the same. This is Christianity to me.

By the way, as to whether a "calling to full-time ministry" is more sacred than anyone else' answer is NO. It is different. It is unique to the one called. There is greater responsibility for certain areas of life affected by that calling. But remember, all that's true of every christian's life as well in their unique way of living. It's ALL sacred and satisfying and spiritual when He is Lord.

So you obiously can see I believe every christian IS a full-time minister. Some are just placed as gifts to the Body as shepherds/pastors/elders/deacons but all are gifts and gifted for the Body of Christ [for ministry] and for the living of life however we live it. [Which is ministry.] "Whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of God."

By the way, if I'm out in left field with this don't tell me. I'm having too much fun out here. ;)

Paul B.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Ed Barnett has died. You will not recognize that name perhaps but to those of us who knew Ed we know we have lost a friend, brother, and a patriot.

A few months back Ed wrote an article to his hometown paper that eventually landed him on several talk shows nationally including Fox News. I posted that article as a blog post and want to re-post it in honor of this patriot. I'm posting my introduction as well so the post will be seen in it's entirety.

With this I pass along Mary and my condolences to his wife and family. His memorial service will be this Friday in Wichita Falls Texas where he was born, raised, and lived out his life.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Here's what Ed wrote...........

Dear IRS,

"I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to pay my estimated taxes owed April 15, but all is not lost.I have paid these taxes: accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capitol gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, Colorado property tax, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico sales tax, and many more that I can't recall but I have run out of space and money.'

'When you do not receive my check April 15, just know that it is an "honest mistake." Please treat me the same way you treated Congressmen Charles Rangle, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and ex-Congressman Tom Dashelle and, of course, your boss Timothy Geithner. No penalties and no interest."


Ed Barnett
Wichita Falls, Texas

P.S. I will make at least a partial payment as soon as I get my stimulus check.

That's funny. True but funny.

Paul B.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I can't believe I'm writing on this subject. It's as if I've been transported back to the 1950's. But the subject has arisen because I heard the story of Keith Bardwell, the white Justice of the Peace in the southeastern part of Tangipahoa Parish in Louisiana, who refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, who is white, and Terence McKay, who is black. Then I heard that he's been refusing to marry interracial couples for years.

I read on another blog this statement..."According to Bardwell, when a couple phones him to request a marriage license and ceremony, he always asks first if the couple is interracial. If they are, his normal procedure is to immediately refuse to issue them a license or perform a ceremony, but refer them elsewhere. But Bardwell says he doesn't understand what all the fuss is about, since no one has complained in the past and that his reasons are noble because he's worried about the future of children of an interracial union."

Bardwell said after the news broke "I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way." He also said he has "piles and piles" of black friends and has married many black couples. He has, he said, "even let them use my bathroom." That final statement does away with any mistaken notion that he might NOT be a racist. Of course he is.

Mary told me this morning she heard he has resigned. It's nice to start the day with good news.

So...I saw a post coming on because, while Bardwell said his reason for refusing to perfom racially mixed marriages was for the sake of the children, there are still those who say the scriptures forbid such marriages.
Well do they? Is it "unbiblical" to marry someone of another race and by implication then a violation of scripture for a minister to perform a wedding of such a union? [As I said, I can't believe I'm even having to address this in the present but here goes.]

Bibical passages used by Anti-Interracial marriage folks to prove their view.

Deuteronomy 7:3...I think in context one can see that the prohibition was for believer-unbeliever marriages much as when Solomon was judged for marrying, not simply foreign women, but foreign women who held to their false gods. In the Old Covenant a Gentile could convert to Judaism which shows it wasn't so much biological as it was the worship of One God thing.

Genesis 11...reveals the rebellion at the tower of Babel which resulted in people being scattered over the earth. Some Christians point to this event in an attempt to provide a basis for their arguments against so-called ‘interracial’ marriage. But is it? They believe that it is implied here that to keep the nations apart, God is declaring that people from different races can’t marry. However, there is no such indication in this passage that what is called ‘interracial marriage’ is condemned and the word 'race' is not present. And while, as someone has said..." because of this dispersion, and the resulting splitting of the gene pool, different cultures formed, with certain features becoming predominant within each group and some of these (skin colour, eye shape and so on) becoming general characteristics of each particular people group," the fact is, the word 'race' is NEVER found in the scriptures at all. I'll speak more of this later.

2 Corinthians 6:14... The "righteousness-unrighteousness" and the "light-darkness" in this verse makes it clear it is, in context, speaking of believer-unbeliever" and is not speaking of race at all in THE TEXT. [It takes eisegesis to find it there.]

I like the way someone I read said it.."If you have three choices and only one is unbiblical which is it? The choices are___1. Black believer and White believer___2. Black unbeliever and White unbeliever___3. White unbeliever and White believer. The answer is obvious—number 3 is unbiblical according to 2 Corinthians. It is not about 'race' at all." What a great illustration of the true biblical prohibition.

Biblical passages that support my view.

Acts 17:26..."This verse emphasizes that we are all related, as all humans are descendants of the first man, Adam. Even Jesus Christ was a descendant of Adam, being called the ‘last Adam’ as shown in 1 Corinthians 15:45." This is why the Gospel can be preached to all tribes and nations.

The Bible does not even use the word race in reference to differing groups of peoples anyway. It simply declares as seen here in Acts 17:26 that we are all of ‘one blood’. This of course emphasizes that we are all related as human beings. All human beings in the world today are classified as Homo Sapiens now that science has caught up to the truth of Acts 17:26.

Scientists today [Since the rise of a genetics emphasis beginning in the 1940s.] admit that, biologically, there really is only one race of humans. For instance, a scientist [Robert Lee Hotz] at the Advancement of Science Convention in Atlanta stated, "Race is a social construct derived mainly from perceptions conditioned by events of recorded history, and it has no basic biological reality." Hotz went on to say that ‘Curiously enough, the idea comes very close to being of American manufacture." I don't know about that but the first part of his statement I agree with completely.

Galatians 3:28 settles it for me when it shows that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile [among others] but all are one in Christ. So to prohibit a marriage on the basis of the color of skin [Let's admit that that is the only reason it's happening really.] is about as prejudicial as anything that could be embraced. The idea of "race" has to be introduced to the bible because it is not there on it's own.

The arguments are always presented by the Anti -group "But would you want your children to marry one of a different race." My answer is as long as he or she is marrying a human being they're not. They would be marrying within differing peoples groups admitedly. But personally I wouldn't have any problem with marrying within differing peoples groups by my immediate family at all. None whatsoever.

I've had so called "Interracial" couples in the churches I've pastored for many years now and some have served as deacons. Quite well I might add. I've also performed marriages with differing peoples groups [Black, white and otherwise even intermixed.] and have not the slightest hesitation to do so biblically. I've never worried one minute about the color of the wedding party's tuxes, dresses, OR skin.

The anti-group goes on to say, as did the Justice of the Peace that started this whole post, "what about the children?" My answer is It's always hard for children in ANY culture especially if they are raised to be believers and, in fact, become believers. But good nurturing can always insulate against whatever problems children face if parents have learned to face difficulties in a biblical fashion and pass that on.

This whole argument is silly anyway. Were you to carry it to it's logical absurdity, you would not want an Okie to marry a Texan because of the problems the children would face given the superiority of the Okie brought into the marriage and the ridicule other children would create because that child had a Texan as a father.
[Just kidding.]

In conclusion and in seriousness... I have to agree with Ken Ham when he said..."The church could greatly relieve the tensions over racism (particularly in countries like America), if only the leaders would teach that: all people are descended from one man and woman; [IE that 'race' is no longer a valid distinction between homo sapiens] all people are equal before God; all are sinners in need of salvation; all need to build their thinking on God’s Word and judge all their cultural aspects accordingly; all need to be one in Christ and put an end to their rebellion against their Creator." I would add to teach that in the New covenant there is no race either.

As John Fogerty's new song title says..."Don't you wish it were true!!" in regards to the leaders teaching that, I sure do.

Paul B.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Forgive me please. I'm asking ahead of time and thanks.

I know nothing about poetry. I am not a poet. But I'm old enough to try things and not care so much for the success of it as I am the doing of it. I love doing this.

I'm printing the only poems I've ever written. I'll tell you why I wrote them with each poem printed. I promise to get back to weightier matters soon.

My grandson just turned eighteen. He's special. [As all of my grandkids are.] He has gone with me to bible conferences and handled the tape/CD table. The people loved him. When I'm back with them they never asked of me but "how's Cody?" I knew Cody would understand my desire for expression in a new way. I'm putting this one up first because it's the first one I've ever written. Here is what I said to him.

Ode to Cody Lenox

I have so many stories as a grandfather that I have never told,
Stories of my grandchildren who began to grace the scene of my life a long time ago.

One of those is of a special young man who has touched the lives of so many,
He's often the first to bring a smile and to my face he's brought plenty.

His heart is made of pure gold forged out of a special love,
So obviously fashioned with care by the hands of our God above,

He has always genuinely loved and cared for those in his life you see,
His family, friends and of course that includes me.

There are many happy moments I've shared with Cody which are carried in my heart,
That's why this grandfather and his grandson will never be apart,

He's turning eighteen this year and it is quite obvious to me,
His life will continue to touch others and many more smiles there will be.

Cody is special to all of us in the family as we watch him grow older in awe,
And you now see why I'm so proud to be called his "Papaw."

Paul Burleson [Papaw]

Then I knew I had to write a poem [inner compulsation] about Mary and my marriage. It's been in the making for over fifty years now and is still baking.

Seriously, this is a poem that celebrates the good and bad and the joys and struggles that our marriage has experienced that many couples seem to deny or decry. We do neither. But that's just us.

But that's just us isn't it!!

We've had many times that were good
And some that we'd call bad.
Sometimes we've been happy
And sometimes we've been sad.
But that's just us isn't it!!

We've shared life's joys
Mixing love and care in special ways.
At times when our world fell apart
We'd find each other anew in those days.
But that's just us isn't it!!

We learned some ways to care
Such as hearing each other's deepest dreams.
We even heard the sad crying we often made
When no one else was listening it seems.
But that's just us isn't it!!

There were shadows as black as night
That sometimes blocked my view.
But a gentle light would often disperse them
And that light came from inside you
But that's just us isn't it!!

There was a strength we gave to each other
When we knew that brave we'd have to be.
It took it all plus the Grace of God
To face those tests that came to you and me.
But that's just us isn't!!

So joy and struggles were friends
As we've lived out our years of marriage.
It was always the two of them
And neither would we dare disparage.
But that's just us isn't it!!

Now we see it was a precious gift
When He merged our lives it is true.
So this is my way of saying to Him
A sincere, heartfelt and simple "thank You."
But that's just us isn't it!!

By Paul Burleson

This one I wrote just this morning. It is about friendship. We have a few that qualify by the standards of my thoughts here and they know who they are. We do too.

Since I discovered and now believe the treasure of heaven is, in fact, relationships and Jesus told us to store it up, friendships are more important than they've ever been to me.

This poem also describes the friendship that can exist in a marriage [and does in mine] since it's a major portion of a real marriage relationship.

I've found a friend

When you find someone
Who is caring, loyal and true.
Someone who is understanding
And is really there for you.
You've found a friend.

When you find someone
Who is truthful, forgiving and wise
Someone who never pretends
But lives with honesty in their eyes.
You've found a friend.

When you find someone
To whom you can talk and even confide.
Someone who won't close down at mistakes
Since they live with their heart open wide.
You've found a friend.

When you find someone
Who is close but not one that smothers.
Someone who is thoughtful yet fun
A person totally different from others.
You've found a friend

When you find someone
Who is worth their weight in gold
Someone to whom you love relating
And with whom you'll never grow old
You've found a friend.

I've found someone
that will always be these things it's true
Someone to whom I can say
I also want to be all this to you.
You see....I've found a friend.

By Paul Burleson

Finally, who can do anything without humor? I can't. So I wrote this. I probably wouldn't print it but I sent it to all the kids and their spouses for fun and Wade read it at the beginning of his message last Sunday . Mary and I were watching via the Internet and we fell in the floor in laughter. [Maybe embarrassment on my part.]

Remember that request for forgiveness at the beginning? It may have been for this one.

Questions about aging.

Who was the culprit that slipped in last night
And stole my strength as well as my sight?

I'd also like to know does anyone but me care
That I have finally lost all my always thin hair?

Why is it when I deliberately put something safely away,
I forget where it is and wherever it is it will forever stay?

Am I finally becoming a world class wimp?
Because while I used to run a lot I now only limp.

I admit to slightly less of my cherished virility?
But does that have to signal a loss of every other ability?

Why is it at church I see someone and have a chat,
But then while walking away have to ask my wife "who was that?

Are all who read this going to laugh until they choke?
Well from this side of age they need to know it is no joke.

Enough questions about growing old and now for a conclusion.
Age is really a state of mind anyway is my simple solution.

So I'm handsome, erudite, and besides that a whole lot of fun.
And anyone who doesn't think so can kiss my good looking left bun.

By Paul Burleson

Back to steak and potatoes next time.

Paul B.