Don Follis

Don Follis

Don Follis | The evil of addiction is never satisfied

My heart sunk when Austin Eubanks died on May 18. Eubanks, 37, was a recovering drug addict who been clean for seven years. Among the many mysterious and puzzling aspects of addiction is that there are times when the disease of addiction ends in death, sometimes after years of sobriety. Ironically, Eubanks was a well-known, highly-regarded spokesman for the recovering community.

Don Follis | Call of God centers on our love of God and neighbor

The May 8 edition of "Christian Century" magazine features a dozen short essays by people, mostly clergy, responding to a one-word writing prompt given to readers by the editors: "Call." The articles largely reflect on the call from God to enter the ministry. A few identify a specific call, "almost a wooing," wrote one pastor. But more wrote about seeing their call unfold over the years.

Don Follis | A week to resist labeling others' sins

During Lent, I have tried to give God time to search my heart. I have seen my own sins — both overt and covert — that require God's forgiveness and grace.

One of my go-tos, if I am honest, is wrapping myself in my pharisaical robe as I assume another people's sin is more heinous than mine. Surely, my faithlessness, selfishness and pride pale to another person's greed, lust and murder.

Don Follis | A reminder that we're all a wondrous mix of dust, divinity

At 6:50 a.m. on Ash Wednesday, I walked into St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Urbana and sat down amid the faithful already beginning to gather for the 7 a.m. Mass. I greeted a neighbor. I smiled at the parents of kids my children swam with in years gone by. An old friend was one of the morning Scripture readers.

Don Follis | Treating others with empathy, respect is our only hope

With the drums already beating for the next presidential election, a pastor told me the other day he really fears the next two years. When he asked me what I thought he should do to confront his fears for the "terrible" day ahead, I said "Face it like any other spiritually-minded person — bake cookies."

Don Follis | Prayers for 2019 brimming with life

As Jan. 1 approached, I was talking with a man about setting goals for the new year. I told him I don't normally make New Year's Resolutions. When our faith came up, he told me he is a Catholic and asked, "What prayers will you pray in 2019?"

"The same prayers I prayed last year," I said. "I pretty-much pray the same prayers every day, every week, every month."

Don Follis | During Advent, God's word calls for changes

My imagination was greatly expanded one Advent season when I heard a recorded sermon from the late 1950s given by the Rev. Gardner Calvin Taylor (1918-2015), a noted African-American Baptist preacher and civil-rights activist.

Don Follis | A mentor for pastors

No pastor has influenced me more than the Rev. Eugene Peterson, a Presbyterian clergyman, author and scholar. He died at age 85 on Oct. 22 at his Lakeside, Mont., home. Along with writing more than 20 books, Peterson is best-known for his colloquial translation of the Bible called "The Message." It has sold nearly 12 million copies.

Don Follis | We vote, but Jesus alone ushers in his kingdom

My work is a good fit for me, as I spend my days interacting with pastors from a wide array of backgrounds. As I counsel, give spiritual direction, ask questions and listen to stories — some heartwarming, others heartbreaking — I know that church-based vocations are not for the faint of heart.

Don Follis | The truly faithful have nothing to fear

President Donald Trump hosted a White House dinner for 100 evangelical leaders in late August. When the President entertained the church leaders aligned with his Republican base, I thought back to a summer visit to Plains, Ga., the hometown of President Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter.