Bill Irby's blog

A Thankful Attitude

     The uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Like many of my compatriots I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, chief among which are the family getting together and, of course, the food. There is just something about the turkey and the dressing and the cranberries and all of the other nap inducing delicacies that come along this time of year. It is just great.

Moral Adventurism

     Like my chronological peers I came of age in a time of tremendous societal change. One of the primary areas of that change was the realm of sexual morality. People were questioning what was right and wrong that area of behavior. Probably half the population (the male half) took the position that there was no right or wrong.

Raising the Common Denominator

     We all know the expression, “the lowest common denominator.” It is depressing to say but crudeness does seem to be popular these days. People act harshly wherever they are. It is not unusual to hear folks raging at each other in traffic, in the store, at school and even within their homes. Violence and mean spiritedness seem to have become acceptable forms of self-expression. The cultural common denominator seems to be getting lower and lower.

Do You Have A Plan?

     A long time ago I bought my first Day-Timer. A friend of mine in LaGrange used one and I had been looking for a way to keep up with my schedule as well as a record of my activities. Over the years it has been a faithful companion and the record keeping has been a big help on a number of occasions. Of course, I have to remember to write it down and I’m still capable of momentary brain failure, but overall that device helps to keep me on track.

We Are Not Animals

     Recent events continue to remind us that our society has lost its moral direction. The seeds of this dissolution were sown and fertilized many years ago but a very rapid decline in public moral order has taken place over the last sixty years. Civility has grown rare, for many people there are no standards of personal morality, and violent solutions to everyday problems are increasingly embraced. Sad to say, people are behaving as animals.

Where Are You?

     When I was a small boy we lived in a series of rented houses in Virginia and North Carolina. One I remember well was in Washington, North Carolina. It seemed huge to me then but I suppose we’d call it rather normal now. There were times in those days that I felt like hiding out and there was a perfect place to do so, a storage area that was built into the wall of the staircase. I could crawl in there and be by myself. It was a fine place until my mother said, “Bill, where are you?” I found that it was always best to answer her.

Evil Abounding

     It seems evil abounds of late. A church was attacked; that event was followed by a massacre of horrible proportions in Nevada. These two events are just those that have happened most recently and in the area covered by the news organizations we usually see. Things like this, and some much worse, happen around the world all the time. Though we know all of this it doesn’t make it any better at all.

Leon Peek

Leon (Pap) Peek

     When Ginger, Will and Tom and I moved to Athens to work with West Hobbs Street church we immediately met a family by the name of Peek. These were the first “Peeks” we had ever known. We found out that the patriarch of the family was Leon, also known as “Pap.” Most of the family went to church here so over the years we formed strong bonds of faith and friendship.

A Certain Beggar

     Luke 16:19-31 is the account of the rich man and Lazarus, who is described as a “certain beggar.” The description brings to mind a number of things. Then as now, there were multiple beggars. These days and in this area we don’t have too many folks begging on the streets. Other areas do, but we don’t. In our area folks are more sophisticated and quite a bit more accomplished in their ability to separate material resources from others.

The Weather

     It matters not where we are one subject of conversation is always going to be the weather. Everywhere we’ve lived there has been a special kind of weather associated with the area. I grew up in Virginia and North Carolina during a time when it seemed hurricanes showed up regularly. My most vivid elementary school memory is seeing my bus (Number 5) being blown across the school yard. Thankfully no one was in it at the time and the teachers ran us all back in the building. I remember thinking, “Well, how am I going to get home now?”