Don Follis

Don Follis

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.

Don Follis: There is no fake news at the heart of Christmas

The Virgin Mary was a teenager when she trudged 70 miles with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem where she gave birth to the Christ Child. The angel Gabriel had appeared to her and said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God."

Don Follis: Advent season can bring a sudden clarity to life

For the last several years during Advent, I have read "Under African Skies — Reflections for Advent and Christmas" by Carolyn Butler. Though raised in southern Illinois, Butler has made the continent of Africa her home for more than 50 years, much of that time working alongside her husband Ron as a missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Don Follis: Don't be scared by dragon bluster in Revelation's Nativity

Today is the start of Advent, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Turning to the very back of the Bible, I am beginning Advent with the end in mind. Revelation Chapter 12 features a version of the Nativity story that I can almost guarantee you did not hear as a child sitting around your living room and probably never at your church, either.