Live From Arlington

Allan's Journey, Stanglin Family 1 Comment »

We made the right call, leaving Amarillo late last night and arriving at Gram’s new house in Arlington at about 3:45 this morning. The wind was raging at 30-40 mph from the north and we ran through a lot of snow between Clarendon and Childress. But after that, it was mostly rain. Talking to our friends back home, it sounds like it would have been impossible to try to make the drive today. I-40 is closed from Soncy on the west side of Amarillo all the way past the New Mexico state line and closed on the east side from Highway 287 to the Oklahoma border. You can’t get in or out right now.

GoliathFenceRight before we left, the winds tore down two fence posts and three fence panels in our driveway/back yard. I just left them there — didn’t even try. It was 24-degrees, the wind was blowing, it was dark. Ted. The way that garage area and driveway work, I’m sure the snow drifts have covered up the gaping hole.

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RandyGallowayIt’s good to be in Tarrant County today, to read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and see my friend Randy Galloway’s last ever sports column. Randy has been writing and talking sports in Dallas – Fort Worth for 50 years. He was writing a daily column for the Dallas Morning News when I first began paying attention to sports. I was eight or nine years old, our family took the Dallas Times Herald, and I was reading Skip Bayless and Blackie Sherrod. I can’t remember when or where I first saw a Galloway column. I can’t remember what I particularly liked about it or why I began riding my bike to the 7-11 on Bruton Road to buy my own 25-cent copy of the Morning News so I could read him. But I do remember going out of my way to read Galloway.

When I started roofing houses with Glen Burroughs in the 8th grade, we listened to Galloway’s “Sports at Six” every evening on WBAP. Randy Galloway kept us entertained during the stretch run of those hot fourteen hour days on those roofs. He knew the players and the owners, he hung out in the locker rooms and clubhouses, he told great stories and painted vivid pictures. He wasn’t doing three minute sportscasts like Verne Lundquist and Dale Hansen, he was doing a three hour talk show! And I loved it. Brad Sham was my hero — I very much wanted to be the next play-by-play man for the Cowboys. But while Brad’s “Sports Central” show on KRLD was just as insightful and inside-ful as Randy’s, I always found Randy to be more entertaining. He told it like it was, just the way he saw it. And he wasn’t afraid to stir things up.

During the early stages of my mediocre radio career, I was blessed to meet Randy on the sidelines at Cowboys training camps and in the press box at Rangers games. He came on as a guest on my shows any time I ever asked. Always accessible. Always open. Always generous. Very generous. And supportive. Helpful. I felt like I had arrived when Randy Galloway knew me and called me by name.

My first official gig in Dallas radio was filling in for Chuck Cooperstein’s “Midnight Run” show on WBAP when he was doing NHL playoff games on national radio. Ted Sorrells got me that job and, a few months later, the interview with KRLD where I finally landed. The “Midnight Run” was the sports talk show right after Galloway’s. Sitting in the break room with Galloway and Ted in-between our two shows and sharing ideas about sports and life with this legend is a career highlight for me.

RandyGalloway2The moment Galloway became a friend, though, was about halfway through the 2003 Cowboys football season. I got myself into a fairly heated argument with Bill Parcells during a very public press conference following a Monday night game in Seattle. I was asking questions about a couple of two-point conversion attempts from the night before, Parcells was talking all around my questions, and I wasn’t getting the answer I needed. I pressed and, as Parcells does, he resorted to insults and name-calling and condescending behavior, questioning my football intelligence, my professionalism, and my motives. I was nervous to be in an argument with the coach of the Dallas Cowboys with all the recorders and cameras rolling. But I was there to do my job. My heart was racing as we went back and forth, but I held my ground. At one point in the proceedings, Parcells abruptly ended things, turned to Jennifer Engle, a Star-Telegram columnist, began to answer her question, and then sharply turned back towards me. “Did you get what you needed?!? Did you get your quote?!?” I said, “I’m not looking for a quote, Coach, I’m looking for a straight answer.” He snorted a final insult and our nearly four-minute exchange had concluded.

Immediately following the press conference, I was overwhelmed with reporters and cameramen congratulating me on standing up to the Big Tuna. You stood up to him! No one’s done that yet! You’re the first one!

I went to the locker room to interview a few players before leaving Valley Ranch for my own show that started at 3:00pm. And my media counterparts couldn’t stop talking about what had happened during the Parcells presser. I started to get nervous. Ric Renner told me he was going to air the whole thing from start to finish on Fox Sports Southwest. What had I done? Was this bigger than I realized? I remember getting into my truck and hearing Galloway’s voice on ESPN Radio taking my side and defending me and my actions in that press conference. Before I even got out of the Valley Ranch parking lot, he was already talking about it. He was replaying the audio from our “incident” and defending me. “I know Allan Stanglin,” he said. “Allan’s a good friend of mine. He was doing his job. He didn’t have any evil intent. He wasn’t trying to stir anything up. He was asking legitimate questions about inconsistencies in the coaching decisions during the game. This is all on Parcells.”

I’ve thanked Randy many times for that. It meant the world to me that he called me his friend and that he defended me and the way I went about my job.

Randy Galloway is a wonderful columnist, a terrific talk show host, and a fabulous human being. I consider it a great privilege to have worked with him and around him, a true blessing to know him. And an honor to call him a friend.

Peace,

Allan

Weekend Links

Allan's Journey, Austin Grad, Cowboys, Discipleship, Stanglin Family, Texas No Comments »

JohnnyFootball

Kevin Sherrington has written a truly horrible column explaining exactly why Johnny Manziel is destined to be a Dallas Cowboy. His facts are correct, his logic is sound, and I can’t find any fault with his disturbing conclusion. The last line of the column is wonderful. The rest of it may keep you awake tonight.

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My esteemed brother, Dr. Keith Stanglin, has written a piece on discipleship for the Austin Grad blog, Christian Studies. Using James’ and John’s request to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in his coming Kingdom from the story in Mark 10, Keith breaks down the main reason so many of us want to follow the Christ from a distance. We want the glory without the suffering. We want to live a new life without suffering the death. We want to lose weight without giving up the Blue Bell. BlueBellLogo

Yes, he mentions Blue Bell in his article. Of course! He’s my brother!

By the way, the United Supermarket at 45th and Bell here in Amarillo, Whitney’s United, the one less than a mile from our house, will be selling Blue Bell ice cream beginning at 5:00 this Monday morning. The signs went up all over the store on Tuesday. Finally, Blue Bell is back in the panhandle! Carley and I are planning on showing up at about 4:45 to buy some of the first offerings and, yeah, eat ice cream for breakfast. It’s going to be like living in Texas again.

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I’m writing a faith column now for the Amarillo Globe-News. I’m in a rotation with four other guys, so my column will run once every five Saturdays. I haven’t written a regular newspaper column — is every five weeks regular? — since I was penning a weekly sports column for the Burnet Bulletin during the early 1990s. My first one here in Amarillo came out today.

Peace,

Allan

From Denver

Allan's Journey, Carrie-Anne, Stanglin Family No Comments »

DenverAirportThe very first time I ever flew in an airplane was with Carrie-Anne. We took off from the airport in Amarillo for Denver where we would connect to a flight to Las Vegas where we were married at 11:30 at night in the basement of the Clark County courthouse by sheriff’s deputy Sherrill Meyer. That was twenty five years ago.

Today, C-A and I have flown to Denver from Amarillo where we’re having breakfast at McDonald’s and waiting on our flight to Hawaii to celebrate the silver anniversary of that wild weekend in Vegas. Funny how things have come full circle over this quarter century together. The last time we were in this airport, we bought over-priced matching Denver Broncos sweatshirts: white with the old vintage Broncos logo helmet on the front. Why? We have no idea. We were young and in love and wanted matching shirts for some reason. Plus some souvenir, I guess, from our two hour stay in Denver.

Today, we’ve purchased matching egg sandwiches. We’re old and in love. Still in love. And looking very forward to spending the next ten days together in a wonderful place we’ve never been.

Thanks to Steve and Becky and Scott and Brenda for agreeing to check up on our daughters while we’re away. Thanks to Cortnie and Aleisha and Hannah for being such dependable friends and making sure our daughters don’t just sleep ’til noon and watch “Castle” re-runs all day long while we’re gone. And thanks to God above that B.J. is in Killeen for the next three weeks!

Peace,

Allan

High Winds

Allan's Journey No Comments »

I praise God for days like this in Amarillo. Steady winds at 35-45 miles per hour. Gusts of up to 55 miles per hour measured at the airport. I praise God. If it weren’t for the maddening winds, there’d be two million people living here.

Peace,

Allan

Ordained by the Community of Christ

4 Amarillo, Allan's Journey, Central Church Family, Legacy Church Family, Marble Falls, Preaching No Comments »

Larry Lemmons of channel 7, the ABC affiliate here in Amarillo, produced a nice piece on the “4 Amarillo” churches that aired on Christmas night. You can view the three minute video by clicking here.

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Worshiping with the Legacy church last Sunday got me to thinking all this week about my ordination as a proclaimer of God’s Word. Yeah, I believe with all my heart that our God has been preparing me my whole life to preach the gospel. Yes, I went to seminary and studied Greek. And, of course, I do feel ordained by the Lord to do what I’m doing. But I don’t think those things alone give anyone the right to preach. I’m beginning to understand more and more that the community of faith must ordain its preacher in order for the relationship between proclaimer and listener, preacher and congregation, to work.

So, who ordained me? The elders hired me and prayed over me. But how does a preacher really become ordained to minister with a particular church family? It has become clear to me this week, especially since seeing all those wonderful people at Legacy and visiting with all those dear friends. It’s both a one time event and a lifetime progression. It’s both formal and relational.

At Legacy, Tom ordained me when he asked me to baptize his daughter Sarah. She was the first person I baptized at Legacy. I asked him why he wanted me to do it and he replied, “She needs to be baptized by the preacher; and you’re our preacher.” A similar thing happened with Brooklyn, who greeted me this past Sunday with happy tears in her eyes. Don ordained me when, after a particularly tough sermon in which I challenged a couple of long-held practices of ours, he told me, “Allan, you are my friend, you’re my brother, and you’re my preacher!” Louise ordained me from her wheelchair when she promised me, “I pray for you every single morning.” And I believed her. Jim and Elvera ordained me when they asked me to marry them. This widow and widower had more than 90 years of marriage experience between them when they asked me to preside over their wedding. Dan ordained me when he walked in to my office one day and asked if I could help him with some specific spiritual questions he had. He’s older than me, been a Christian much longer than me, but he said he needed my wisdom. Paul and Jean ordained me when their son was killed in that car accident. Alene ordained me when she asked me to do Bob’s funeral.

I think ordination is both positional and relational — it must be both. Tom didn’t really know me when he asked me to baptize Sarah, but he trusted it was the right thing to do because I was the preacher. Louise didn’t really know me at the time, but she vowed to pray for me every day. Don and I had disagreed about several things during my first couple of years at Legacy, but when he called me his preacher, it was a sign of love and respect that had taken some time. Brooklyn’s ordination of me was in relationship. So was Jim and Elvera’s. Paul and Jean’s was through a shared experience of tragedy. Alene’s affirmation and trust was forged in hours of prayer together.

It’s both. I think the congregation has to say — collectively and individually — this is my preacher, given to us by God, and we’re going to support him and love him and trust him because he’s been placed here with us by Christ. In the same way, the preacher must make the same commitments: these are my people, my church family, given to me by God, and I’m going to support and love and trust these people because Christ has brought us together for his purposes. It’s both formal and relational.

It’s been very helpful to me this week to recognize the many ways I’ve been ordained. Here at Central, Eldrena anointed me with oil one hour before I preached my first sermon here. John Todd and Kami ordained me by bringing us dinner and providing a microwave for our apartment the first night we spent in Amarillo. Lanny ordained me by asking me to perform Judy’s funeral. Nick and Sara ordained me by asking me to do their wedding. Jim and Becky ordained me through some tough conversation and prayer in their kitchen. Wesley ordained me by reflecting on our sermons with emails and cards. Every week I’m ordained by these faithful Christians at Central in living rooms and hospital wards, at lunch and in my study, through phone calls and emails.

And I could keep going. All the dozens of people throughout my childhood and teenage years who told me how wonderful my prayer or my sermonette or my devo talk or my communion meditation or my song leading was, even when it really wasn’t very good at all. The Room 208 class in Mesquite. Kevin’s pushing me to leave radio and pursue preaching and putting his money where his mouth was. Jason and Dan encouraging me through that stressful transition. Donna Steward asking me to baptize her gardener, my first. Lee Ann Clark asking me to do her mother’s funeral, my first. God himself ordaining me by thrusting me into pastoral situations whether I was ready or not: praying over an unconscious Berrilyn Daniel at that WinterFest, moving David Griffin out of that horrible situation in south Marble Falls.

Play with the semantics all you want: God ordains and the congregation affirms, the elders ordain and the church family confirms, whatever. But I know now that it’s both a one time event and a lifetime progression. It’s both formal and relational. And a preacher in God’s Church couldn’t do the job with it being any other way.

Peace,

Allan

A Preacher’s Honor

Allan's Journey, Legacy Church Family, Preaching 2 Comments »

Preachers are a blessed bunch of people. We don’t deserve our blessings, we don’t earn them, we don’t seek them. But the blessings from our God and his people fall on us and overwhelm us quite regularly. We are honored above most other groups of people. And we would do well to be more aware of those blessings and honors, to recognize them and appreciate them when they arrive.

The people in our churches honor us by sharing their lives with us. They give us glimpses into their hearts that other people never see. They allow us to look into their very souls, they open up their emotions to us, they come clean with us about their struggles and doubts, and they share with us their greatest joys.

And, why?

God only knows.

I was so incredibly honored this past Sunday to perform the marriage ceremony for Landon Brightwell and Taylor Bates, two precious kids from the Legacy youth group. Honored. My first real exposure to Landon was the day his dad dragged him into my office and asked me to talk to him for an hour about some trouble he was getting in to. Landon and I were both very uncomfortable. He mainly listened and fidgeted in his chair while I tried to inspire him with stories from the gospels and hypothetical situations involving his uncertain future if he didn’t shape up. I was terribly ineffective that afternoon. But his dad trusted me with his son. His dad thought I could help and he trusted what I might say.


 

 

 

 

 

Over the next three years I watched as our Lord began to speak to Landon and his friends and to work in them and through them in astounding ways. These three guys began showing up to the Tuesday men’s Bible study, blessing the old men in the group, asking all the right questions, speaking deeply from their hearts. They began taking regular shifts during Legacy Morning Prayers, blessing our elders and ministers, being blessed by Quincy, growing in their faith in God and in their trust in his Church and in one another. They pranked my house, put live goldfish in the bed of my truck, planted apple trees on my front porch, and put living room furniture in my front yard. And they prayed with me before I left for Amarillo.

I’ve only seen Landon maybe once or twice since we left; I haven’t talked to Taylor at all. And when he called me over the summer to ask me if I’d marry them, it completely blew me away. Why? Why do want me to do your wedding?

“Because you’re our preacher.”

I’m not sure a preacher can hear any more encouraging and affirming and honoring words than those. It’s humbling and it’s flattering. But above all, I believe it’s an honor.

To be able to share this most important day with Landon and Taylor, to be right in the middle of this foundational day with them and their sweet families, was such a blessed honor for me. And I know it has very little, if anything, to do with my sermons or my teachings or the things I believe. It has nothing at all to do with any special talents or abilities. It’s only because I just happened to be their preacher when they were growing up. I was their preacher.

Carrie-Anne and I worshiped with the Legacy church family Sunday for the first time since we left a little over three years ago. And we were honored from the moment we walked in until the moment we drove off to lunch with the Byrnes and Cindy Pope. We were hugged and kissed, appreciated and encouraged. Lots of people expressed how much they miss us. A few pointed out some things we started at Legacy that are still continuing today and are very much a part of the church’s DNA. Several thanked me for something I had done or said in the past. Three people asked me to pray for someone in their family.

Whoa.

What an honor. Because I’m a preacher.

Preachers don’t deserve the trust people put in us. We’re not worthy of receiving the parts of their lives others choose to share with us. All of it is a gracious gift from our God.

Lord, please help us recognize and appreciate those honors as the gifts to us they are, to more fully understand the position you’ve placed us in and how you’re working through us for your purposes and glory.