Simple Church

Simple Church

Me and Marijo made the trip to Simple Church today for our fourth visit and were suprised at what we have been finding. At first, I thought, “Who would I know HERE?” and was shocked to find two co-workers, a member from Lodge, a friend from Marijo’s school and a guy I meet and have a drink or two with from time to time. The dress code alone speaks volumes about what “type of place” this is. It’s Northface to Real-Tree to Columbia, Dockers to Levis to Carhartts. Boots to loafers to mocassins. It’s Wal-mart and Wall Street. I saw doctors, lawyers, electricians, service men and their bosses. 

The message is the reason we keep going. That and the free coffee, donuts, and the easy secure way we check the kids in upstairs while me and MJ jaunt down to put our minds in the right tone. The trips usually go something like this:

We get dressed and decide to go to the 11:00am service so we’re up and out of the house by 10:05 or so which is an accomplishment in itself with three kids. We get to the parking garage downtown and usually drive right to the very top, not because we like it up there, but it’s because that’s where the street bridge is that connects the garage to the Shreveport Convention Center…that and Lewis likes to check out the view. We take out the stroller and strap the kids down, load the diaper bag and prime Lewis to behave. We walk down the street bridge, take the elevator up to the top floor and get in the kiosk line. We easily search for Marijo’s name, print tags for the babies bottles and bag and number tags for the kids (also checking them in). We drop off the twins and walk Lewis down and stay long enough for me to chat with a guy I know there. Next me and MJ take a deep breath, go down the escalators (stroller free now) and get a cup of coffee or a coke and usually a donut and proceed inside. It’s dark, the stage is set and the countdown is going. I spot a friend of mine’s wife on stage with a microphone. She’s got pipes. I start thinking bad thoughts about how this isn’t our normal church, how these guys are just after our money, how church shouldn’t be comfortable, regurgitating scriptures in my mind…then the “show” starts. A true and trusted brother takes the stage and the cameras zoom in. He’s excited, full of life, happy to be there, and one hour later Marijo and I are wiping tears and laughing or laughing and wiping tears. I get a little cautious every time I go expecting for a bucket to pass by me or them to have the “we need your dollars to make Jesus happy so you’d better give your 10% tithe to get back blessings” sermon. Guess what? It never happens there. But something truly amazing does. People line up to GIVE them their money at the “giving stations” positioned at the doors. Literally, a cue forms to donate without an alter call, without a call to tithe, without a promise of return on your dollars. People give becuase they want to.

After we collect the kids and leave and are heading to lunch/nap, Marijo and I start swapping stories that we heard that day from the different people we ran into about the place. “I heard they get the donuts donated to them and the coffee they purchase is to a great place, not just Starbucks”, says Marijo. “I got a chance to ask about them bringing Ms. Kay and Sinbad and I can’t believe that when For King and Country came they actually tried to GIVE THE CHURCH money instead of asking for dollars” I say. It’s not Mass. It’s not supposed to be Mass. It’s not a one stop shop for eveything religious. It’s a place for broken people to share in the word of God, worship and each other. A powerful, uplifting message, safety for our children and a chance to do something locally in the community. Not the worst way to spend Sunday with my wife and children.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

-Matthew 7:18

Lewis Hurts Himself Trying To Be Batman

So Marijo and I snuck out to smoke and talk about our day as is our custom in the evenings when we hear a loud crash from inside. The babies were asleep in their cribs, Lew was watching Netflix in the breakfast nook…or so we thought.

I immediately jumped up and went inside to find Lewis squalling. I told him I bet I could guess what had happened. I guessed that he had fallen out of his chair. He quickly corrected me. He told me…”no Daddy, I was trying to Batman and jump off the table”. I composed myself and took this video:


Lewis Gets Caught Glow-Handed Biting A Glowstick

So Lewis comes in and tells me and Marijo he just can’t go to sleep. After the third time he comes in our room in the dark, there’s something a tad different about the lad. His lips, shirt, and hands are glowing hot pink.

Here he is explaining what exactly made those teeth marks and how he’s really innocent and he thinks he knows who the culprit is.

And so it begins-My Entry into the Scottish Rite

Shreveport Scottish Rite TempleScared? Me? Nah…well OK just a bit. I started preparing myself last night, reading everything from Pike to our Great Light trying to ease my rambling mind. I shaved, then shaved again, then laid out clothes, the laid out different clothes. I’m not going to say I wasn’t nervous but as I got ready this morning,fear left me after the realization that the only thing inside that great building on 725 Cotton contained within it were brothers waiting to pass along their ways in due and ancient form…with donuts. Thousands upon thousands have traveled the path I now set foot to. Thousands upon thousands have worried like me, that they will not be able to uphold the examples set by those who have gone before. And thousands upon thousands, just like me, made like me, an average man, Gods own, have traveled upwards to the degree of the Consistory of the Southern Juristiction of the 32°. Well, here we go.

Aiden and Audrey’s Baptism

Today, surrounded by family and friends, two of our precious ones made their first step towards God and for the first time received a portion of the light of the world.

The ceremony took place in St. Michael’s Chapel at St. John Birchmans.

Aiden’s Godfather is Brian Loftin.
Aiden’s Godmother is Concetta King.
Audrey’s Godfather is William Sirven.
Audrey’s Godmother is Lacey Dougherty.

Audrey Aiden Baptism 2

The officiant for the sacrament was Deacon John Basco.






District 1 Meeting at Atkins Lodge


The brethren at Atkins Lodge #266 in Taylor Town played host to a truly wonderful happenstance today. Not only were they hosts of Relief Lodge and  District 1’s meeting, they were recipients of the illustrious Traveling Gavel award with 19 members present (due to what some would say was sheer luck).

Another nicety that happened today was that EVERY lodge in District 1 was represented. Ida, Moorinsport, Keithville, Cedar Grove, and Plain Dealing members were in attendance with other brethren from throughout the district.

We were also blessed with the presence of the Grand Master of Masons of Louisiana, Most Worshipful H. Edward Durham who spoke on topics ranging from attending Grand Lodge to supporting certain events with manpower to philanthropies needing what he called “broader bases” throughout the state.

After Lodge, the brothers at Atkins treated us to hamburgers hot off the grill, french fries, and dessert.

Other Grand Lodge Officers were also in attendance including R.W. Will P. Gray – Grand Warden, R.W. Gary Gribble – Grand Mashall, R.W. Gary Rushworth, Sr. – Grand Sword Bearer, 1st District Steward R.W. Randy Terrell and 1st District Grand Lecturer R.W. Kenneth Fuller and Past Grand Masters.

Finally, Most Worshipful Durham mentioned all the work Brother Stephen McClellan and Jeff Clarke were doing with the state website, bringing especial detail to the 1st District Site as a template for others to follow. The 1st District site is:

I’m glad to hear our Grand Master refer to the 1st District an example for the State to follow.

Rand Paul Filibuster Trends on Twitter

A small group, led by Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, is stalling the Senate tonight by waging an old-school, speak-until-you-can-speak-no-more filibuster (also deemed the #filiblizzard) over the government’s use of lethal drone strikes. Their attempt is forcing the Senate to delay the expected confirmation of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Watch in on C-SPAN live here.

During the last few hours, the hash tag #StandWithRand began to trend becoming the number one trend on Twitter around 6PM CST. Rand continued by saying, “I will not sit quietly and let [Obama] shred the Constitution. His Facebook posted this photo below which reached 25,000 shares and 36,000 likes in less than four hours.

Mr. Paul, who opposes Mr. Brennan’s nomination, followed through on his plan to filibuster the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee after receiving a letter this month from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that refused to rule out the use of drone strikes within the United States in “extraordinary circumstances”.

“What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?” Mr. Paul asked. “Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?”

Although Mr. Paul hasn’t yet yielded the floor, a move that would effectively end his talkathon, he did yield to take questions from others.

He added, “The executive branch should not be allowed to conduct such a serious and far-reaching program by themselves without any scrutiny, because that’s not how American democracy works.”

Mr. Paul again said his true goal was simply to get a response from the administration saying it would not use drone strikes to take out American citizens on United States soil and offered Mr. Holder a variety of ways to respond.

“We’ll take a telegram,” Mr. Paul said. “We’ll take a Tweet.”

If you are Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and you would like to Tweet Senator Paul, you can do so here: @SenRandPaul