Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, First Baptist of Decatur
The church was already familiar to me from the news. One newspaper headline (The Christian Post, 2007) proclaimed: "Baptist Megachurch Makes History Electing Woman to Pulpit". Later, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Southern Baptist Convention moved to "disfellowship" the 2,700 member congregation. I remember wondering - being married to an exceptional "outside-the-box" preacher myself - if I'd ever get to meet the notorious celebrity cleric!
So it was serendipitous when Julie Pennington-Russell's church invited me to speak. I liked her right away (I wasn't surprised), but I was doubly blessed that weekend because, for pretty much the first time ever, I also met a fellow preacher's husband who immediately seemed like the type of man I could be great friends with. Tim and Julie - along with their teens, Taylor and Lucy - make a wonderful family.
Tim, Taylor, Willieboy (woof), Lucy, Julie
Tim Pennington-Russell and I have corresponded a lot since then, and this past week he agreed to write some guest-spots for this blog. He's been a little busy lately, distracted by a boatload of what comes with the package when you're a clergy-hubby who's also committed to faithful discipleship. But I bugged him repeatedly, leaned on him without mercy, and then twisted his arm until he cried "uncle!" at last and threw me the bone of the remarkable poem featured below.
And so, without further ado (with the exception of the cheesy introduction, below), let's proceed to this historic first step toward blog immortality:
- Introducing (drum roll, please...)
- for the very first time (bring in the low, "anticipatory", roar from the crowd...)
- fresh from his long-standing engagement in Atlanta (cue the spotlights...)
- this site's very first (adjust the crowd roar to a fever pitch...)
- "GUEST-BLOGGER" (the crowd goes wild...)
- our very own (well, not really)
- Baptist Preacher-spouse/Clergy-hubby extraordinaire.... (wait for it...)
- TIM PENNINGTON-RUSSELL (Woo-hoo! Yippee! Ra-ra-ra! Super-duper!)!!!
- by Tim Pennington-Russell
She sits in the bedroom
low spring sun striping the closed door
taking a call
that followed her in from the car
patiently she listens
lifting the dragging weight
pulling with another
a yoke of grief
shifting the load in prayer
to stronger shoulders
she says good bye
belong to us
each rehearsing our day
sibling skirmishes and laughter
blessed mundane joy