Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Influences- Ralph and Jane Murray

Janet and I ate with Ralph and Jane Saturday night at Demo's Restaurant.

Ralph was the minister who baptized me when I was 9 years old at Smithwood Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN.

Jane was married to Paul Turner at the time. Jane and Paul lived next door to us in Clinton, TN. Later, Paul ordained me before his death. Jane was the one who got Janet a job when we were in seminary.

What great influences they have been during our Christian lives.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Time to Dance

"There is a time to mourn and a time to dance."

I hereby declare this to be a day of dancing, not mourning.

I will not listen to anything about death this day!!

I will dream of popcicles and bongo drums.

I will seek friendship in the joyous ones.

I will search for the nuns in the woods and carry happiness to the
hermits ---( funny isn't it when two ladies carry a bottle of wine to a
90 year old hermit: talk about the ultimate temptation ha)

I will search for the happy people on each floor of this place and ask
them what brought them joy

I will hug the prettiest women

I will pray with gusto, maybe even on my knees.

I will listen to jazz all day

I will buy ice cream

I will run, not walk

I will laugh with the ding-a-lings and tango with the wang-do's

I will eat at Las Palmas, even if I am alone (it would be nice of others
would go to. We could sing songs of joy together)

I will remember the good times

I will tell a good joke to someone

I will dream of life and rejoice in the moment.

Amen and Amen !!!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Enlightened Faith

An enlightened faith "accepts the way things are and finds God vibrantly present in the most insignificant situations and in the most unexpected disguises."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Brother Roger - Taize

The death of Brother Roger, the 90 year old founder of Taize, is a shock. This is the best article about it I have found. link


It is like life glazed over, the last 5 days. The death of my father-in-law, Clyde Honeycutt, late Monday night. The trip back to Dry Hollow, Tennessee, the relatives gathering, not enough beds to house them, the tons of fried chicken, and the subaudible tones in the darkness.

Over 325 people came to the visitation, including several friends from Nashville. And the heat has been horrible, in the high nineties all week. There is not much left to say. Words twisted for death die quickly. Memories quickly dissolve. The little kids play their video games. The adults snooze in their chairs. After 3 days everyone goes home, lapse in their memories, and begin their life anew.

I am reading My Losing Season by Pat Conroy and watching the Braves on tv. I will nap soon, between innings, and dream of winter snows. A time to rest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Wings and Flight

Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Robin and Pamela hold the balloons tenderly before allowing them to take flight !!


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Two of my dear friends have sons going off to college. It is tough giving them wings!! This morning we had a brief religious ceremony for Garrett and Austin. We prayed for them then Robin, Garrett's Mom, and Pamela, Austin's Mom, allowed helium balloons to take flight as a symbol of placing their sons in God's care as they leave home. May God speed be with these fine young men and their Moms.

Meditation at Gethsemani

Meditation at Gethsemani
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
My friend Richard took this picture of me meditating at Gethsemani.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Vigil for Clyde Honeycutt

My father-in-law is dying at the VA hospice in Murfreesboro, TN. Most of the family is here. Pray for peace for him and no pain. He is 88 years old. His birthday is August 21. He is the oldest living veteran in Overton County, TN. He was one of the soldiers who was involved on

Note: He passed away at 10:20 p.m. on Monday Night, August 15, 2005.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

God's Blessings at Gethsemani

We drove home after lunch. We rested. Ate steak --I ain't much of a
vegetarian -- at Outback and spent the evening thinking God for the
blessings of the weekend.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Thanks Real Live Preacher

I have never had so many hits in all my life on this blog thanks to Real Live Preacher picking up the Tap on the Shoulder story. Thanks ! Also it is the story of his wife and her being a chaplain in San Antonio. That's worth reading to. link

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Abbey of Gethsemani Retreat

I will be at the Abbey of Gethsemani for the next 3 days on retreat. I may not do any blogging as cell phone does not seem to work there. Say a prayer for me and I will say a prayer for all of you who read these pages regularly. God Bless.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Blessing Prayer for Glenda McKinney on her 49th birthday.

Lord, there must have been an earthquake on August 8, 1956, when Glenda Maddox was born. The world has not been the same since.

With incredible energy she outpaces all of us, leaving us in the shadows.

With her eager tongue we have been left speechless with our mouths wide open,

But, with her prayers, Lord, we have been comforted and given abilities to climb the highest mountain.

We thank you for her life. May you bless her and use her in your service.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Note From My Brother

Editorial Note: Today my father, Denman Phillips, would have been 86 years old. He died in 1980, 26 years ago. Also we placed Janet's father, Clyde Honeycutt, in the VA hospital this weekend. He has terminal cancer.

Sorry to hear about Cardinals leaving KMOX. That is unAmerican.

I can remember the day I had to leave Daddy at the VA. It was one of the saddest days of my life. He would have been 86.

Dan, you and I have had extraordinaryexperiences in this life. Most importantly, to grow up in a Christian Home, where most of the time we loved one another. Many don't get the opportunities we have had to experience travel and fun. I can still recall you and I throwing the baseball as mother cooks eggs, vienna sausages and sliced tomatoes for our breakfast by the side of the road.

Mother always wrote down every expense we had . I can't believe that we didn't have a/c in that black and white Buick. A few weeks ago in Miami, we rode throught Hollywood where we stayed many years ago. (Ed. Note: I remember that time. I was sunburned and while we were there Marilyn Monroe died.)

Aren't memories fun? Sorry about Janet's Dad. I'm sure that soon you
will be able to recall the good memories of him rather than seeing the
pain of his life ending. He reminded me of Pop Phillips a lot. Not
much money, but full of life experiences. Have a good weekend.



Saturday, August 06, 2005


"Hell is where no one has anything in common with anybody else except
the fact that they all hate one another and cannot get away from one
another and from themselves." (Thomas Merton - New Seeds of

Friday, August 05, 2005

When the Impossible Becomes Possible

"With God all things are possible."

If I were given the choice between having hearing or sight I do not know which I would choose. Possibly hearing because most of my hobbies center around that, or maybe the sight and silence would allow me to hear God better.

The reason I bring this up is that my neighbors are deaf. For 20 years we have lived beside each other. Those years have not been easy, mainly because miscommunication can become so easy. Words do not mean the same to us. And I have never learned sign language, although I have often found myself feeling guilty when I have wanted to talk with them. Most of the time we sort of tolerate one another. We don’t get in each others way.

Recently, we noted a change next door. No one was bringing the dogs outside to chase frisbees and, heaven forbid, sometimes do bad things to my yard. There was extreme silence next door. The cars were unmoved and most importantly, Bob no longer mowed his yard. The yard was his pride and joy. Always immaculate !

One day his son-in-law was mowing the yard and we went over and talked to Mark. "What is going on," we asked. "Are Bob and Beverly ok?" He assured us they were fine but he said they had been in the hospital where they had received ear implants and because of that they were sick and having some difficulty in getting around. He said on August 1 the system would be hooked up to their ears and hopefully they could hear.

Yesterday, August 1, there was a lot of commotion next door. TV camera’s etc. I even had to quit mowing my lawn so the cameras could do their job.

I then heard my wife on the phone talking to my daughter. She was crying !!! She told Melinda, "I’m becoming like Dad, crying all the time over strange things happening, but I have been over to Bob and Beverly’s and they can hear for the first time."

Well, that’s my story. I am looking forward to talking to Bob and Beverly, although it will take them some time to adjust to the southern accent of the Phillips. BUT, you might like to read the whole story. It is on the front page of todays TENNESSEAN for August 2.

Yes, the impossible can become possible. You think about that !!!

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Tap on the Shoulder - A Memorial to Rick Hoecker

It was one of those requests for a 6 a.m. visit before surgery. Some of these can be strange, like the man who didn't want prayer but just a witness as he changed his will and wrote it on a napkin.

This request was a bit unusual. They wanted me to walk with the patient from his room to surgery. After our short conversation and prayer the attendant began moving the bed toward the door. When it was almost to the door I reached out to Maria, the patient Rick's wife, and said, "Here is a prayer by Thomas Merton I often pass out to patients.

She glanced at the prayer, then her husband Rick began to cry. Maria said, "last night before he went to sleep he said I wish I had that prayer by Thomas Merton." Tears came to my eyes then. I knew something special was going on.


My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact
that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you. And I hope I have
that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart
from that desire. And I know that if I do
this you will lead me by the right road
though I may seem to be lost and in the
shadow of death. I will not fear, for you
will never leave me to face my perils alone.

From Thoughts in Solitude


Rick held the prayer in his hand during the surgery. The report after surgery was dismal. This young man and his wife, both recent graduates of Sewanee Divinity School, with an 8 year old daughter, Chloe, and 5 year old son, Maxx, were soon to be fatherless.

I can't tell the blessings I received during those last weeks of Rick's life. He was here for 5 weeks. Daily there were the prayers, the Merton chats, the moments of silence when the pain was deafening. The times I couldn't pray very well because my own tears got in the way.

Rick improved enough to go back to Sewanee for a couple of weeks. I
participated in his and Maria's ordination service. Surrounded by robed friends it was one of the most memorable religious services in my life. They were ordained and God's presence was there.

It was a hopeful time, possibly he might live for a couple of years. They would soon be moving to North Carolina where Maria would be an associate priest at a parish. Rick was already planning a book about his experience.

Two weeks later Rick was back in the hospital. The doctor sat on the bed and in hushed tones said, "2 to 3 weeks is all that is left." For hours after that I would glance through the window and see Maria and Rick hand in hand talking.

A day or so later they moved him to the Alive Residence. Rick was enjoying drinking coffee through his feeding tube, or Popsicles ! His taste buds were active. Time was slowing running out. But each day there were prayers and friends and family.

On a Thursday night his friends from Sewanee came to have the eucharist. His pastor, the campus minister, his children, his in-laws. His son Maxx sat on the bed beside his Dad. Everyone said what they were thankful for in Rick’s life and each shared something meaningful. Maxx said he would miss his Dad. Rick closed the time by sharing Merton’s prayer.

Susanna Metz went back to Sewanee and preached a sermon about Rick and the prayer. She compared Merton and Solomon and Rick. She says in her sermon:

"God is pleased that Solomon, as he faces a new phase of his life, acknowledges his dependence on God and trusts God. Merton put its: "I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death." But that’s all well and good for Solomon----it’s all well and good for Merton. They’re two very famous men----could we compare outselves to either? I’m watching my student prepare for death with incredible courage and I say to myself, “Where did he get this? For heaven’s sake, I was his teacher and I wonder if I’d have anywhere near his trust in God’s care." I don’t know, but that’s where Scripture and prayer and the example of others really help."

I went to see Rick several times. Each day he grew weaker, but still very peaceful. One day I was talking to him and he seemed to transpose earth and enter this side of heaven. He said, “Someone is tapping me on the shoulder." Another time he said, "I never realized all the possibilities there would be in heaven.”

On Thursday night, July 28th I was with Maria for a couple of hours. Rick could only shed a tear now and then, or move his eyebrows. I read from the Psalms and Maria lay her head on his arm.

Maria shared what a blessing the Doctors had been here, the staff, those who helped with the journey. A friend Donna had come from Michigan to be with her. Everyone else had left. About the time the friend got back I left. At 8:37 p.m. Rick died. He is at peace !