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December 2011 entries

Thirty Years Today

Thirty years ago Marilyn and I tied the knot. December 19, 1981 at New Salem Baptist Church Marilyn Elaine Elsea became Marilyn Elaine Duggan. It's hard to believe it has been thirty years ago. Wow, life has sure been a roller coaster since that cold December Saturday afternoon.

My wife married a young man with big dreams and stars in his eyes. I had just graduated (two days prior) from college with a degree in pre-law. I was going to practice law for a few years and put back some money for my biggest ambition, political office. My goal was no less than someday become governor of the state of Tennessee.

Marilyn still had one semester left before she would graduate with a a bachelor's degree in nursing. Years passed and she became a successful research nurse working for the UT medical school, and I kept drifting from one career to another, none of them as an attorney. I tried retail management for a while. I tried computer operations and later programming. No matter how I tried I was never satisfied I had found my calling.

In the meantime the Lord had blessed us with our first child. Only 18 months into his young life he was diagnosed with cancer. Marilyn left a lucrative career to be a full-time Mom to our sick child. That has always been her way. There is not a more giving and self sacrificing woman on this earth. That was never more evident to me than one night we were driving with our firstborn in the backseat. We had just been offered the position as pastor of Dallas Bay Baptist Mission. They required me to be full-time. The 7 families that constituted the congregation could only pay me about 2/3 what I was making as a programmer. Marilyn had never regained all she had lost when she quit to take care of our sick child. So in effect, we would be living on about half our normal income if I were to take the position at the church. I will never forget My wife's answer to the question I posed to her in the car, "Can we trust God in this?" She looked at our son in the backseat and said, "He hasn't let us down yet."

So if my ministry has blessed you or your family in any way over the last 22 years, you really have my wife to thank. She is the strong woman behind this weak man. She has home schooled two boys and nursed them through bouts of every sort of illness. Still her faith has remained strong. Never once has she ever complained about marrying an aspiring attorney and ending up with a Baptist preacher. Thanks honey, for all your sacrifice. Heaven only will tell all you have done that others do not know. Happy thirtieth anniversary! I love you!












Be Careful How You Treat Your Pastor :)

The play "It Just Isn't Christmas without a Tree!" is behind us. Christmas is more than two weeks off and it is a slow news day. So I have Tamara, church choir member, to thank for this tidbit of information to brighten your day. It seems, Dave Chandler, a pastor who was not getting along well with his congregation, had the last laugh. He resigned after having another argument over the use of the Christian Life Center. But not before he inflicted the church with someone to help them remember how he was treated. It seems there was an obscure clause in his employment contract that allowed him to single-handedly hire the worship leader. So just before he left town Dave hired Bill MacNerny. Bill specializes in "alien folk music" and "tunes for chickens and other intelligent beings."

On a recent Sunday morning, Bill encouraged members to make Martian noises as they sang Amazing Grace. The new worship leader leads music while playing the ukelele and making barnyard sounds. His Sunday attire is a small cowboy hat and overalls. Bill told a reporter on a recent phone interview that he enjoyed leading worship at church because he had a captive audience and did not rely on tips. This is much different from his previous gig as a street performer.

Why doesn't the church just fire Bill. In the same obscure contract that allowed the pastor to hire Bill, it states they must pay the worship leader a lump sum of $150,000 if they release him before two years. It seems no one is willing to buy him out of his contract. So until they do, pastor Dave is taking some time off in Alabama and Bill is encouraging his new church family to buy chickens. I wonder if this is what Paul referred to as "spiritual warfare?"