Don Follis

Don Follis

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.

Don Follis | On defying one's family to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge

After I finished Tara Westover's memoir "Educated" (Random House, New York, 2018), I saw the book made President Barack Obama's summer reading list, too. He wrote on his Facebook page on Aug.

Don Follis | Being emotionally present helps one do right thing

When I present seminars on emotional health, I tell a story from Luke chapter 7 (verses 36-50), where I think Jesus shows remarkable self-awareness. Jesus was invited to a dinner party hosted by one of the Jewish teachers of the day named Simon. Just after arriving, Jesus is approached by a woman who heard he would be attending the dinner.

Don Follis | Love is strongest element in our 40-year marriage

Late in the afternoon 40 years ago today, I pulled my light-blue 1974 Ford LTD onto Interstate 17 and headed north out of Phoenix. At 10 a.m. that morning, my bride and I were married at Central Christian Church in Mesa, just east of Phoenix. She sat next to me on the car's navy vinyl bench seat.

Don Follis | Attending Sunday school with a familiar face

My wife and I left our Americus, Ga., hotel room at 5:20 a.m. June 10, and headed for Sunday school class.

Ever left for Sunday school that early?

We wanted to make sure we got a seat at Maranatha Baptist Church, where the Sunday school class cannot exceed 475 people. We were told even early arrivers can get turned away.

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