Monthly Archives: June 2015

Remembering Burt Lange

Rev. Burton Lange passed away on Monday morning, June 22. He was an amazing pianist, and funny as all get out. For 40 years, he pastored United Brethren churches in Pennsylvania and Virginia. He was a Huntington University alum, as was his youngest son, Jerry Lange.

In 1967, Burt Lange was the evangelist at Junior Camp at Rhodes Grove Camp and Conference Center in Chambersburg, Pa. He spoke each night and gave an altar call. One night some friends were going to the altar, and they nudged me to go with them. I did. I don’t remember anything else about that night. It wasn’t my night.

My night was the next night. That’s when the Holly Spirit grabbed my heart. I got up to go forward. “You went last night,” a friend said. “I know.” And I kept going. That night, at age 9, I gave my life to Christ and haven’t ever doubted what happened.

Several years ago, I reminded Burt Lange of this and thanked him for the role he played in my Christian life. “With your upbringing,” he humbly told me, “if it wasn’t me, it would have been somebody else.” He’s right. It would have been somebody else. But it wasn’t. It was Burt Lange.

And so tonight I’m remembering that summer night, that walk to the altar, that old tabernacle which was torn down about ten years ago. And I’m remembering the counselor who awaited me on the other side of that altar, the man I knelt across from. The man I called last Sunday night to thank for being my Dad. I remember he was weeping. “Do you know what you’re doing, Son?” he finally asked. “I think so,” I replied. He explained some things to me, and then led me in a salvation prayer.

THAT was my night.

Burt Lange, and my Dad, classmates at Huntington College. Forever intertwined in my spiritual journey.

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The NBA’s Finest, Circa 2015?

How can Cleveland and Golden State be the two best teams in the NBA? Both teams basically have one incredible player surrounded by role players. The normal consensus is that you need three good players to win the title. The Cavs, who lead the series, have Lebron and NO OTHER SCORING THREAT. Whenever they have the ball, it’s in Lebron’s hands. Yet they could win the NBA championship.

Think of past champs, and the multiple players who, on any given night, could light it up. Boston (Bird, Parrish, McHale, Johnson). The Lakers (Kareen, Magic, Worthy, Wilkes, Cooper, Scott). Chicago (Jordan, Pippen, Kukoc). The Spurs (Duncan, Parker, Ginobli). Houston (Olajuwon, Drexler, Smith, Cassell, Horry).

How in the world did the Cavs and Warriors reach the top? What has happened to the NBA?

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My Meager Loaves

I continue pecking away at James Martin’s wonderful book, “Jesus: a Pilgrimage.” I just finished reading the chapter about how Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.

Every pastor can relate to these words, which are a matter of God multiplying what we have to offer:

“One of the most common experiences of those who work in spiritual ministries is hearing a grateful person tell you how something you barely remember doing changed his or her life. How something you believed to be small became something big for someone else.”

Over the years, I’ve published millions of words. It’s always gratifying when somebody tells me that something I wrote made a deep impression on them, perhaps shaped something in their behavior or thinking. Sometimes I remember having written it. Sometimes I have no idea what they’re talking about.

Martin continues, “Jesus accepts what we give, blesses it, breaks it open, and magnifies it. Often in ways that we don’t see or cannot see. Or will not be able to see in this lifetime. Who knows what a kind word does? Who knows what a single act of charity will do? Sometimes the smallest word or gesture can change a life.”

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Trojan Horse at the Belmont Stakes


American “Pharoah”? Yikes! Pharoahs, like the horse’s owner, Ahmet Zayat, are from Egypt, an Islamic country. We have two other Muslim horses in the Belmont, both owned by sheiks from the United Arab Emirates. Should not somebody–Ted Cruz? Mike Huckabee? Scarlet O’Graham?–be sounding the alarm? Why the silence, Hillary?

First, Americans cheer for a Muslim horse. Next thing you know, Americans will be okay with sharia law. It’s a short, slippery slope.

If American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown, it’ll be a propaganda coup for ISIS. Might as well call it the Triple Crescent. Where is Joe McCarthy when we need him?

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Disturbing What Lies Deep, Deep Down

In recent years, nearly ever building at our Laurel Mission in Kentucky was severely damaged by coal-mining underneath the mission property.

Lately, I’ve been reading about the numerous small earthquakes occurring in Texas and Oklahoma as a result of fracking. The huge amounts of waste water being pumped back into the ground are upsetting the geological balance. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of magnitude 3+ earthquakes in Oklahoma increased from 109 to 585. The state even put up a website about it.

Nothing terrible has happened yet, though I’m sure owning property with regular tremors doesn’t help property values. And no corporation will locate a new factory there. It’s only going to get worse, until the oil companies figure out (and they eventually will) a different way to handle waste water. Until then..well, hey.

Last week I read about much worse developments in the Netherlands, which is pumping enormous amounts of natural gas out of the earth. It has caused hundreds of minor earthquakes, with considerable damage. Walls are cracking, fireplaces crumbling, buildings tipping, pipes bursting, doorways snapping, roofs buckling. Over 200,000 homes have been damaged, with 90,000 homes now considered uninhabitable.

The Dutch government offered an apology. Like that’ll help.

That, Texas and Oklahoma, is probably your future. Mess with God’s earth, and God’s earth messes with you.

Of course, oil companies just argue, “The science isn’t conclusive. We can’t say for CERTAIN that fracking is causing this.” The same argument tobacco companies used against charges that smoking causes cancer. And that oil companies use against evidence that carbon emissions are causing climate change. And that food processors used against claims that sugary foods cause obesity and diabetes. “It hasn’t been proven conclusively.

Both Texas and, most recently–on June 1–Oklahoma have passed laws which prohibit localities (cities, counties, etc.) from banning fracking. So if you want to protect your property values by keeping oil companies away…tough luck. They can come and frack all they want. We The People have no recourse.

If I were you, I wouldn’t buy property in Texas or Oklahoma.

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