Don Follis

Don Follis

Don Follis | Learning to grieve well is crucial to a healthy life

When I meet caring pastors, I am reminded that the best pastors are great grievers. They take the words of Jesus seriously — "Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted."

Don Follis | 'Unsanitized version' of becoming God's friend

In almost 40 years in the ministry, I have had many a discussion with pastors about authenticity and transparency. How much should pastors tell their parishioners about themselves, some of whom unwittingly put their pastor on a pedestal? What is appropriate disclosure, especially from, say, the pulpit on Sunday?

Don Follis | Easter is the day to listen for your name

On Easter, I turn to the Gospel of Mark, flipping to Chapter 16. There I read of several women visiting the tomb where Jesus was buried.

Don Follis | I think Dad would have supported #MeToo campaign

My dad was an elder in the conservative church of my youth in northwestern Kansas. The elders were all men. However, most of the teaching in the church, except for the preaching on Sunday, was done by women. The most popular Sunday adult class was taught by a woman. Dad enjoyed her lessons, respecting her Biblical knowledge.

Don Follis | We hear God best when we listen to others

After years of consulting with churches, I am more certain than ever that having a good discernment process is crucial to decision-making. Process matters almost more than outcome. If you can trust the process, you can trust the outcome.

Don Follis: An unusual start to Lent

Ashes and chocolate don't go together very well. Last week, Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day fell on the same day. Even before I received ashes on my forehead at the 7 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Urbana, I already had decided that I would forego eating chocolate and conversation hearts.

Don Follis: We must courageously, kindly speak truth in love

Early one Saturday morning when I was in high school, I was doing my weekly chores when there was a knock on our door. When I opened it, an unfamiliar man asked if my dad was home. When dad came to the door, the man asked dad to speak with him out on our porch.

Don Follis: Every human wants to be blessed, not cursed

Early this month, a pastor sought my counsel and asked me to have lunch with him in a Bloomington-Normal café. He had just launched into his concern when an elderly couple appeared at the table next to ours. A man tightly held a woman's arm as she shuffled, moving her feet 6 inches at a time. Removing her coat, the man helped her into a chair, pushing it up to the table.

Don Follis: 12 days of Christmas call us to faithful living

On the morning of Dec. 26, I saw a Christmas tree lying on its side outside someone's house. I wondered if it had been there since 12:01 a.m. With lots of people, the Christmas excitement builds to a climax on Dec. 25, and then it stops, abruptly.

Don Follis: This Christmas Eve, we can all sleep well

When I sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" this Christmas Eve, I will think of two churches in the Middle East — the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Abu Serga Coptic Church in Cairo, Egypt. I will think of the 250-mile trek between the two.