David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
April 10, 2007


I have to admit that, when my friend Ron Cook first suggested that I write an article each week, I was somewhat excited about the idea and somewhat scared to death of the idea. And basically, this week, I’m stumped for something to write about. So I’m just sort of “starting to write” and hoping that something ends up materializing. This is what I was scared about in the first place.

I used to do this as a pastor, nearly 30 years ago. I had an article in the weekly newspaper in our county seat town. I called it “Watchin’ and Wonderin’ with Zeke Smith.”

I did not want to write a typical “pastor’s column,” which seemed too religious to me. To be honest about it, I’ve never liked being very religious, because I never understood Christianity as religion (which I see as rules and regulations); I understood Christianity to be about faith rather than religion. Thus, my email address is cowboy@txbc.org and not Rev. Currie or somesuch. Besides, I have just never felt very holy in any way. Living out my faith is, and always has been, a tremendous struggle for me.

Anyway, I liked Zeke. In my mind, he was a retired rancher type who mostly just hung out at the local café and gas stations in a small town and reflected on what was happening in the world, while talking about it to the rest of the “hanging around” crowd.

I informed readers up front that I would write some things with which they probably wouldn’t agree, but that didn’t bother me, because my goal was to get people to pause and think about what they themselves believe. My writing today still follows that philosophy and approach.


I honestly recall only one article that I wrote back then (I do have copies of them all in a file somewhere), and I remember that one only because of the controversy that it created. At that time, the late 1970’s, they supposedly had created some kind of bomb that, when detonated, would kill people without destroying any buildings. I forget the name of the bomb, but I wrote an article in which Zeke wondered aloud about how proud God must be that we had figured out a way to kill human beings created in His image while preserving material things that have no eternal value.

The owner of the local paper, who was one of my deacons, was not pleased with my article and added a disclaimer at the bottom of my article, stating that my views did not represent those of the newspaper. I sometimes wonder whether my TBC board will ever want to do that!!! By the way, the deacon and I remained great friends, and his family was very supportive of me in later years before he passed away, and I appreciate that very much.

Anyway, let me just share, at this stage, the reality of the creative process—where I am at this point is STUMPED! Yep, not sure where to go from there. Do I become Zeke again and pontificate about some recent event, or should I mention two quotes I really liked in two recent Newsweek articles? Ummm, I think I will do both.

In the April 2 issue of Newsweek magazine, there was a great quote. I like Newsweek and always read the last page first, because I like both columnists who alternate in that space—George Will, because he loves baseball; and Anna Quindlen.


Quindlen wrote the column in this issue and concluded it by quoting Ernest Hemingway: “The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong at the broken places.” I love that quote. What I hear is Hemingway’s great openness. I pray that I am this open in my own life. What I experience is the opening up of a whole new range of possibilities. Jesus gives the invitation. He's the inviter, the opener of doors. Falling back on biblical images, I find that Jesus opens the door, and a light floods through that you never dreamed possible.

The April 9 issue of Newsweek quoted Elizabeth Edwards (and rest assured I will never write about partisan politics in this column) on her reaction to recently receiving the news that her breast cancer had returned in her bones: “There is going to be a day before each of us die, and you have to think a little bit about how you want that day filled. Maybe when you are doing that judging thing, think about how you want the day before you die to look. I want that to be a productive day about which I am enormously proud, as opposed to a day where I had the covers pulled up over my head. That’s unbelievably important to me.”

As Zeke read those two quotes, he remembered something said by his favorite author, Frederick Buechner, about how we are to listen to our lives, and what we feel and read and experience that helps us experience the holy. Not really understanding it all, Zeke still seemed to experience God as he read these quotes and silently prayed that he would always live as if it were his last day and that his broken places would be stronger because they had been broken.