Rev. Neil Dunnavant

Rev. Neil Dunnavant
Executive Pastor

A great big warm thanks to both Danny Massie and Alexandra Mauney for their outstanding leadership over these many months. Danny concluded his ministry as Interim Pastor yesterday. Alexandra’s last day with us will be November 15. They have both contributed enormously to our spiritual health and vitality, and will be missed.

A great big warm thanks to all our members for their faithfulness, patience, and generosity during these difficult months since the middle of March. O Lord, give us strength and endurance, for this appears to be a marathon when we hoped for a 5K.

I wrote recently about a stray dog that showed up at our farm in Claudville, Virginia, about a month ago. We named her Lady. My daughter questioned whether she was really a girl dog, but now there is no question, because 10 days ago she had puppies. Three to be exact.  My current theory is that Lady fled a troubled abusive home to find a nice safe quiet place to give birth. She is still very afraid of us even after several weeks of tender care, sweet talking, and gourmet meals, including one of my famous smoked turkeys, which I roasted over coals on a Weber grill. Yes, she loved it and became less enthusiastic about the dog food immediately. But alas it did not build trust.

She dug a hole under a shed and nurses the puppies there. We heard from an expert that if we held the puppies, it might help Lady to trust us more. Something about our scent on her babies might convince her that we are not so scary after all. So Kate cut a hole in the floor of the shed and reached down and picked up each puppy and held it a while. We also rearranged the hole she dug and put in some warm blankets. The next day Lady hauled the blankets into the yard and dug a new hole and moved them to a location where Kate’s floor hole was out of reach of her little ones.

Mother knows best.

It is so interesting how instinctively animals know how to take care of their young. And how sad that so many humans do not get the love they need from their parents. There is a heartbreaking song by Lucinda Williams that goes, “He never got enough love, in all his life, he wasn’t brought up right, he never got enough love.” Perhaps God has placed us among the creatures of the earth so we can learn a few things.

When the cows are mooing in the pastures for no apparent reason, we know that they are mourning the loss of their children who have been taken to market by the local farmer who rents our land. A mother cow will moo for several days in deep distress. And it doesn’t matter of course how big her baby has become.

Black bean burgers really are delicious. Just a thought.

Speaking of food,  the Lebanese dish MUJADARA(pronounced MOO-ZHAA-DRA has climbed to the top three of our favorite meals and involves no cows despite the moo sound. You can find many recipes on the web.  It is super easy and super delicious and nutritious and involves lentils, rice, onions, spices, and a salsa made with tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh mint leaves, and lemon juice. Buen provecho.

If anyone wants a puppy,  let me know.  The mother is a collie breed and we are not sure about the father yet.

– Neil