Saturday, October 31, 2009

First Trip to the Cemetery

Remembering my first trip to the cemetery. I was just six. Grandmother had died, and there were red roses on her casket. They gave me one. I took it home and was angry at it. I think I destroyed it, but that memory, like many of my only grandparent is gone. I still cannot smell the rich fragrance of roses and think of anything but that day.

My grandmother had come from Whales when she was an 8 year old child in 1892. Somehow the love of polka music had gotten into her soul, and that is the musical memory she gave me. Singers belted their yodels through her brown record-player speakers, and they echoed them against her apartment walls. She had a bed in the living room I think. I don’t know why. It had a big thick club under it to hit a bad guy if needed. But her heart attacked her before they could, and all I got to keep was a rose.

Her son truly broke my heart for the first time ever. As a 33 year old, I had never missed a day of work because of illness. But I missed one with broken heart right after discovering that my father was dying of cancer. I came in that morning to the office in the back corner of the old Parkview church building—facing the state park and the parking lot. But I couldn’t stay. I cried and Vivian told me she’d explain just before I left for home.

But the days since my father’s passing in 1992 have largely healed the wound of his loss. A deep scar is still there, but I don’t mind its presence because other and more profound impressions upon me have marked me for the better. The joys of his presence and the lessons he instilled were more than worth the agonizing pain of his loss. And that loss still hurts. And those joys and lessons still heal and bless.

When was your first visit to a cemetery? When was your most painful? Do really believe that Jesus conquered death's victory? This is a good week to remember that grave is not all it's cracked up to be.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween, Hanging Out with the Dead and All Saints Day

I once had a mentor and friend who is a Roman Catholic Sister to tell me I should ask my deceased friend to pray for me. That was a square peg in my round brain. Didn't fit. And I responded by asking how I could possibly speak to, or pray to someone who was dead? "Is he?" she asked. I explained that I had performed his funeral, and I was absolutely certain that he was indeed dead.

She just stared at me, as if I were not getting it. And then I did.

"OK, I believe my friend still lives...but in Heaven."

And she followed with, "Do you believe he is in the presence of Jesus...of God?"


"Then he can speak to God?"


"Ask him to speak to God for you, David," she smiled then, as if maybe she had gotten through to a very slow student.

I'm not positive she did. We just don't teach that in our church. OR DO WE?

This week we will recite together The Apostle's Creed, including that we believe in "the communion of the saints." Hmmm. We'll sing the hymn entitled The Church's One Foundation which includes these cryptic lyrics: "Yet we on earth have union with God the Three-In-One. And mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won..." :-0 Then we will read from Hebrews 12:1 about how we are "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses." I can't see them. Can you?

In my book there is a character that Trent meets in the desert. If you've read The Runaway Pastor, what do you think of Father Timothy?

Just what do we believe about such mysteries?

Oh, well. Just some observations on All Saints Day, which is why we have "All Hollow's Eve," or "Halloween..."

Monday, October 26, 2009


So here I sit in my favorite Monday morning haunt, Muddy Boots Cafe. The autumn sun is shining a faded green through the ivy covered windows, and the table where friends gather is already celebrating friendship, and toasting the past weekend with a locally roasted cup. One of their celebrations this morning is that my novel, THE RUNAWAY PASTOR, is now up on .. How incredibly special it is to live in a place where they greet you by name, know what you'll order when you walk in, and walk your life together with you.

Several people are asking how they can "get the word out about the book." Thanks for asking. First, you can tell your friends about the book. My hope is that this will be read by people who have pastors. I so hope to help people feel a bit of what can go on in the heart and life of their pastor's family. Once you've read it, share the impact it has on you.

Second, if you are on facebook, twitter, or other social networking sites, link the amazon order page with a personal recommendation. Simply say something like "I like this" (or whatever kind of endorsement you want to give it,) then cut and paste this url to your status, a link will appear, then tweet or share it. Thanks!

Third, if you have read the book (and have a positive response :), it would be wonderful if you could give me a review on These reviews help people make decisions on the book, and draw attention to it.

I hate to be so mercenary here, however, my muddy boots friends have reminded me of just how friends celebrate one-another's joys. Thank you for sharing mine, even if it has only been with a quick smile.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'll post more later. But just saw that The Runaway Pastor is available at Long journey completed. You should also be able to order it at your local bookstore.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trade As One

A year and a half ago I came across Trade As One. Now I want to share the news with you.

My family has often used the Heifer Project catalog to order Christmas gifts of animals for those who have great need around the world. This is an opportunity to make purchases you can give. There are also means to have a sale at your church for your community through this organization.

Trade as one is an exceptional opportunity to purchase product through fair trade practices. I recommend you check them out. Click here for a video.

And no, the book is still not up on Amazon, but it is in my local bookstore because I delivered it there. I'll let you know when The Runaway Pastor is available at Amazon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

THE RUNAWAY PASTOR: First Shipment Arrived!

Yesterday, on a beautiful fall day in Brown County, the UPS truck dropped-off my first order of The Runaway Pastor. An hour or so later, my son got home and we opened the first box. So, there it was.

Now if you've known me for long, you know that I am truly unique. (I almost wrote "weird.") I've been known to say on a Tuesday, "Wow, I'm really starting to enjoy that trip to the museum last Saturday." Or, "That concert last week really was good." And it will be the first time I've had either thought. People think I should be excited about stuff, and wonder why I'm not. I don't know, maybe I just have a slow processor or something.

So last night I went to a couple of meetings with friends, and I smuggled one book to one friend, but otherwise ignored the subject. Then today, I went to meet with a large gathering of pastors that I had spoken to last year on the subject of burnout. I was told I should give a copy of my book to the couple that was speaking at the event. So I did. And while there, the leader of the gathering asked me if I wanted to offer to sell my books there. I hadn't thought about that. I stammered a bit, and then gave some lame response, and said "Sure." And I've just returned after signing more than a dozen all got a little more real to me then. Maybe in a few days I'll start enjoying it all. In the meantime, life is good anyway.

Not sure when Amazon will post the books for sale. As of this writing, it isn't there yet. Hopefully soon...keep looking for The Runaway Pastor there.

Grace and peace to you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

THE RUNAWAY PASTOR Release, and First Book Signing

This is the week! My publisher tells me that this is the week when Amazon will begin receiving orders for THE RUNAWAY PASTOR, by David Hayes. Keep checking-in on and you may be the first to find it there. I'd like to ask you to email me when you see it up on Amazon! I'd be excited to know who was first to find it!

I am scheduled for my first book signing on Sunday, November 1st, from 2-4 in the afternoon at THE BOOK LOFT, a hometown bookstore in Nashville, Indiana where I live. It is in beautiful Brown County, and the leaves may just still be good. They are still changing as I write and it is beautiful.

You can still read the pre-edited copy of the first seven chapters by clicking on the book cover to the right, if you'd like to get a jump start on the book.

Keep me posted!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Runaway Pastor: Printing Now--and Availability Questions Answered

If I understand correctly, this week the first copies of The Runaway Pastor will be printed. This is a gratifying moment for me. I am grateful to have reached this point in the journey. I'm not just jumping up and down, or giddy. Just grateful.

Many of you have been asking when you will be able to get a copy of the book. The answer is "soon." Here are the phases as I understand them. First, I will receive a shipment I've ordered as soon as they are available. I'll sell these when I speak, or do other events. Second, bookstores should be able to order through Ingram almost immediately after the printing. However, until a market has been developed, most sales will happen online. Third therefore, will be Amazon sales--which should come about 3 weeks after the first books are available to bookstores. I will have a link at my website (currently under construction)to the book on Amazon. That will be the simplest place for you to get the book.

I believe I will be doing a book signing at The Book Loft, a locally owned and operated bookstore in Nashville, Indiana. This is currently scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon, October 25. The date could change according to book availability and a newspaper interview that needs to take place first.

I just wanted to update you on the timing of things. And finally, I will soon be moving most things related to the book to the website linked above. This site will be reserved for blogging and possibly introducing new writing in the future. (By the way, there are conversations now about taking down the first seven chapters of the book. So if you think you know anyone interested in seeing those before they potentially disappear, you might send them to this link.

Peace to you. And think of me Friday and Saturday as I drive back across a little more than 800 miles of the Eastern USA. But I'll be heading home, and that sounds nice.

Friday, October 9, 2009

U.S. Americans: Corpses at Play

A dead soul has nothing to offer. That same soul finds receiving too difficult. And though it exposes its every nerve to this world's flamboyant offerings; more and more it finds only a gurgle at the other end of longing's sucking straw.

Attention is difficult to hold. Action, stress and tension are everything. One can no longer settle for stillness. Simple holds as much scent as filtered air. Truth tastes bland. Common makes our eyes droop. Painlessness is numbing. Deafened by the banal, we no longer hear the bird's song, a child's laughter or the falling rain.

We have hidden ourselves in incessant stimulation, with a constant need for more. Entertainment, news, radio--all violent and divisive. It's us against them! Adrenaline--our drug of choice. We curse the storm that disconnects us from our satellites; and grief-filled--we wail: "I'm bored."

Perhaps it would be more accurate to scream at the imposed silence: "You've laid-bare my emptiness, my utter lack of content! You've shown me that I cannot pray, I cannot speak, I cannot love! For I have been exposed by this violent infliction of tranquility--and look! No peace lives within me. I have nothing to offer.

"All of the joys found in sunsets, crashing tides, towering mountains and family's embrace--all of these delights are empty to me. I need more!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Christmas in October

I'm spending some study time at the beach. Actually I've jumped the gun by half a week, but feeling the need to get started on my Advent series. I've never planned to preach the stuff leading up to Christmas while sitting in the sun and listening to the crashing surf. But that's just my world. Below the equator, Christmas is at the beginning of summer every year.

And that is what is on my mind: How are my romanticized memories and fixed pictures of what Christmas is all about, how are they "stuck?" What can I not see due to my habitual approach to this holiday? What truths are lacking in my frame of reference? I don't want to preach some western, material-based vision of this day. I find myself praying--Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord. (Also the staple Sufi prayer, by the way.)

I'm thinking of those tending herds at home, or harvesting corn and beans in their fields by night, frightened not by the appearance of angels, but by their bad crop. I'm wondering who will tell them there is one born worthy of their worship. I'm praying for that woman in her latest marriage who once again realizes this is not prince charming. I'm praying for children who will receive no hint of Jesus this season with their many gifts...purchased on credit by parents who are spending their way into financial oblivion.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not recieve him. That's what is on my mind.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pastors and Mondays

Today is Monday, and it's a funny seems a lot like any other day of the week! I cannot believe it! How can this be?? I'm not exhausted, depressed, sad, worried, overwhelmed or despondent. Oh yeah! I'm on vacation. I attended church yesterday. I didn't lead a church. I left afterward and enjoyed the day--inspired by what I had experienced.

But on most Mondays, I am still recovering. Here is a link to an a blog post that you must read if you are--or if you have--a pastor.

I know that two weeks from today it will be Monday, and I will have led worship and spoken God's word on Sunday. I am grateful for that calling and that honor. But I am trying to understand what goes on inside of me that makes Sunday such a challenge. I hope you will read the above link. Very informative.

Christ's peace to you.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Waking again...

I've never heard Bach's Cello Suites accompanied by the crashing surf at sunrise before. I woke-up this morning while walking on the beach. I recognized something spiritual, some awakening in the deep recess of who I am. I saw others combing or fishing or meditating; and I sensed their humanity. I knew them, having never before met them. And Truth danced on the edges of my spirit--Truth that I could describe to myself using words. It had been a long sleep. Open the eyes of my heart...

Yet it is too soon for me to open the steam bath door of my waking spirit, lest all that is gathering go wasted into hollow air. For now, I'll be away. And I'll gather to myself all that is good and beautiful and True. I'll be alone in such blessed company as my wife, the sea and the sunlight reflecting off of the weathered wood that is the deck beneath me.

May you find your place of restoration. I pray God's grace and peace be yours...