Serving the High Plains

Articles written by Curtis K Shelburne Religion Columnist


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  • In my mind, I've gone to Carolina

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|May 14, 2013

    "In my mind I'm gone to Carolina," sings James Taylor. Ever since my mind and the rest of me went to Carolina last week, that tune's been playing in my head, and it still is now that we're home. Do you mind a little travel note this week? It's not hard to fall in love with Carolina. The rolling hills, rich forests, brilliant flowers taking seasonal turns in the spotlight, lush green vegetation (Water actually falls from the sky there; they call it rain!) is almost enough to throw a Texas (through and through) flatlander into sensory overload!... Full story

  • Treasures in heaven only thing worth piling up

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|May 7, 2013

    A few weeks after my father passed away in January 2000, my siblings and I re-gathered to go through his stuff. And I resolved to keep less stuff. Dad left us, and many more people as well, a legacy worth more than gold. He also left a prodigious amount of paper. Some of it was correspondence of real historical value for anyone interested in the history of "our" little group of churches. I've only scratched the surface, but the letters I've read bear testimony to the Christlike heart, wisdom, and gentle spirit of my father, his devotion to his... Full story

  • I'd like to try being spiritual, but not religious

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Apr 23, 2013

    I've thought about it, and I'm pretty sure I'd like to join the cool crowd, the growing numbers of folks in our society who are button-bustin' proud of being "spiritual but not religious." A good friend who reads a lot and, consequently, thinks a lot, pointed me to an interesting book the other day. Written by Lillian Daniel, the book is entitled, _When "Spiritual but Not Religious" Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church_. It's strange, she says, that folks who are so "spiritual" they can hardly stand themselves, but pr... Full story

  • What do hotel pool alligators eat?

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Apr 16, 2013

    I might as well admit it: I am one tired alligator. My three grandkids and I were paddling around in a hotel swimming pool when my oldest granddaughter, the six-year-old beautiful Queen Alexandria, decided that I should be an alligator. The other two, the four-year-old magic faerie princess and the almost two-year-old handsome elf prince, agreed. Fine. Those little folks and I discovered a long time ago that when we're together, it's not at all unusual for me to morph into a unicorn, or a pony, or, on the darker side, even a dragon or an orc....

  • Crowing roosters, chiming bells and change

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Apr 9, 2013

    I woke up in my Key grandparents' old house in Robert Lee, Texas, this morning. My maternal grandparents had the good sense to live here all of their lives. A couple of times a year, for over thirty years, my brothers and I have gathered here, a gaggle of pastoral Shelburnes somewhat off-duty. I like to wake up here, even though the rooster who lives across the "patch" could use a short "For Dummies" course on "Ways and Means of Knowing When the Sun Actually Rises." His vocal apparatus could do with a little lubrication, too. But I've grown fon...

  • Easter means hope is always realistic forecast

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Apr 2, 2013

    It's the evening of a beautiful Easter Sunday as I write. And I must admit being surprised. My surprise is nothing compared to the amazement of Mary Magdalene and those with her who very "early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark," went to the tomb, found the stone rolled away, and heard the angel's sensible question, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" and then the universe-changing proclamation, "He is not here; he has risen!" It was not angels that awakened me at 4:30 this Easter morning; it was the sound of a... Full story

  • Christ-followers need to be cross-bearers, not consumers

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Mar 26, 2013

    We stand this moment on a holy threshold, waiting to enter into the joy of the resurrection. Easter is almost here! Almost, but not quite. I understand the dangerous and common temptation to leap-frog over Good Friday's pain and suffering, but before we enter into the joy of the resurrection, we need to focus on the cross and ask ourselves some probing questions. That's no new idea, of course. It's funny how often the modern church discovers some wheel that was invented centuries ago. (I suppose learning about wheels late is better than not...

  • Paradox a full gift for one and all

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Mar 19, 2013

    The greatest gift ever given to me, the most intimate and personal gift I've ever received, was the gift given to everyone, not just me. That greatest gift was given to everyone who has ever breathed, to multitudes who no longer breathe, and to untold millions who've yet to take their first breath. It was a gift about me, suited perfectly for me, a gift handcrafted precisely to fit my need, a gift I've been told that the Giver would have given if I'd been the only one in need. Having tasted the love of this Giver, I fully believe that the... Full story

  • One needs not be Catholic to pray for Pope

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Mar 5, 2013

    Well, color me surprised! I went home at noon to get a sandwich; what I got was a ringside seat at a historical moment. I don't need 24-hour news, and I think our world and our society in particular would be better off without the endless repetition. We talk too much anyway. But I'd flipped on the TV for about 24 seconds worth of news, just to see what was being endlessly repeated at that particular time. As it happened, I'd turned on the tube about five minutes before the exact moment when the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI officially went i...

  • Where does the white goes when the snow melts?

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Feb 26, 2013

    Ah, we're snowed in today, and I love it! I am a snow man, no doubt about it. Not the abominable kind, I hope. Just the very ordinary kind. ("Snow person" might have been clearer, but that would be dangerously close to the politically correct ravaging and neutering of the English language evidenced by such atrocities as "chairperson," a term that should be relegated to bad science fiction movies.) I just love snow. Whoever said that "there is nothing in all of nature more beautiful than snow" was right. I never get enough of it. Of course, we... Full story

  • Taking time to rest genuine act of faith

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Feb 19, 2013

    News flash: SABBATH-BREAKING HAS NOT BEEN DOWNGRADED TO A MISDEMEANOR. Oh, for years most of us have heard amateur theologians and Bible "pseudo-scholars" asserting with the kind of loud confidence always reserved for the most seriously mistaken, that, of the Ten Big Commandments, we could certainly forget about #4. After all, the "old Law" that used to so tie people up in knots has been done away with, and now we're under a new law, by which they generally mean the New Testament, which they contort into an upgraded system of law to use to...

  • Some thoughts on Valentine's Day and love

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Feb 11, 2013

    Uh oh. It seems that the date for this column should probably indicate its content. Rats! If the whole thing reads like it was written by a Valentine's Day grinch, I should just plead guilty. It's almost certainly good for husbands like me to have a deadline that calls for something on the order of flowers, gifts, candy, seriously over-priced cards, etc. I have difficulty appreciating the Madison Avenue manipulation, but I don't doubt that clods like me need the shove. It's not particularly what the pseudo-holiday has turned into that bugs me;... Full story

  • Christ's unfailing love is still his gift whenever we fail

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Feb 5, 2013

    The Apostle Peter was about to foul up. And not just a little. Any Christian with an ounce of spiritual sensitivity knows that we all "deny" Christ whenever we choose for self and not for God, hurt others, live selfishly, make poor choices, commit sin, etc. We all have, and we all do. In some way, we "deny" him every day by some poor attitude, word, or deed. But Peter, the first to confess out loud that Jesus is "the very Son of God," Peter of "rock-like" faith fame, Peter who would later see visions, preach the Good News to the Gentiles,...

  • If everybody had a father like I had a father ...

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Jan 25, 2013

    I was bumping up toward my own birthday last week (Jan. 11) when I was reminded that Jan. 9 was the 13th anniversary of my father's death. And then our youngest brother reminded his three brothers, including me, that Tuesday, would have been our dad's 100th birthday! With that in mind, I offer these words I wrote in January 2000: It's been just a little over 24 hours since I got word that the kindest, gentlest, strongest and best man I have ever known passed away. He was my father. Though many thoughts have been racing through my mind, I've rea...

  • How Do You Feel About Growing Older?

    Curtis K Shelburne Religion columnist|Jan 25, 2013

    January. I think of it as a birthday month. My dad's. My oldest granddaughter's. And mine. Last weekend we helped celebrate that sweet little beauty's sixth birthday. My own 56th was a week earlier. Fifty-six is not all that significant a milestone, though I've noticed that a lot of survey-type forms bump people into another category once they hit 55 or 56. But I don't see it as a very noticeable bump in the road. I felt exactly the same the moment after I reached 56 as I did the moment before when I was 55. I'd actually spent a good bit of... Full story