Don Follis

Don Follis

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.

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.