Monday, December 22, 2003

Monday, December 08, 2003

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Note: The twice-a-month schedule for my columns has been disrupted. The Amarillo Globe-News has a new executive editor and is making lots of changes in addition to adjusting to less space in the newspaper.

They are trying to run all religion material on Saturdays now, and I was told my column will start running on Saturdays. But I submitted one three weeks ago that hasn't run yet.

I can't post it here until it runs first in the Globe-News, but I can tell you it's about Mel Gibson and the controversy over his new movie, "The Passion," which is about the last hours of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion.

When it runs, I'll post a link to it here.

--Mike Haynes

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Sept. 11, 2003, column:
A few things that make me wonder

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Aug. 14, 2003, column:
Omissions in the newspaper version of the column made it a little hard to follow, so it is presented here directly in its original form instead of from the Amarillo Globe-News Web site:

Old Channel 4 building has a new mission

By Mike Haynes
The calendar messed up my chance to be the “Birthday Kid” on Channel 4. My name had been picked from the “Birthday Buddy Box,” but I received a two-cent postcard signed by host “Aunt Phyllis” telling me my sixth birthday would fall on a weekend when “For Kids Only” wasn’t on the air, so I would have to settle for visiting the show another day as part of the regular audience.
My memories of 1956 are hazy, but I thought I did get on TV that November. I recall a vague image of myself sitting in a row of kids in a high-ceiled studio. Mom and Dad’s recollection, though, is that I never made it to the show.
No matter. We have pictures to prove I did visit Channel 4 later. The black-and-white glossies from the early 1960s show my family and scores of others from McLean, all lined up outside the station behind Cotton John Smith, the legendary farm-and-ranch man, with horses and covered wagons in the background.
We used to ride horseback or drive wagons 70-plus miles on Route 66, camping out at Conway, clopping past the big refinery on Amarillo’s edge and finishing on top of the hill at 2000 N. Polk St. for a TV appearance promoting the McLean rodeo.
Grandad would have his rodeo beard that made him look like Charlie Wooster from “Wagon Train,” and Cotton John would interview him and call him “the old gray mayor.” It was pretty exciting.
My next visit to Channel 4 was exciting, too. It was a Sunday morning last month, and this time the studio had been made over with plush blue carpet, seats and stage. When I walked in, the site of the KAMR (formerly KGNC) newscast just two years ago had traded spaces with a worship center where six women in tailored lavender suits were making like the Pointer Sisters except with words such as “Look what the Lord has done!”
The singers and band, good enough to lead music at any stadium rally, slowed down to “This is holy ground.” And the next two hours proved that indeed, the old Channel 4 building, donated to Faith Clinic Christian Center Church, has a new mission.
Pastor Lee Simpson and his wife, Pat, both have offices in the facility along with big plans for a computer training room, private counseling facilities, a workout area and more. An antique, eight-foot sign publicizing Roy McCoy and fellow news anchors still leans against a wall in space being converted to ministry, but the renovation is well under way.
Simpson, who founded the church eight years ago, envisions using the former TV station to create videos, CDs and DVDs to spread God’s Word. His marketing background gives him the know-how to package and present the message appropriately for his congregation.
“I’m going to take you for a ride,” he preached. “Not on a roller coaster, but it’ll be a bullet train. God has given us an assignment in this city.”
He focused on hard realities, too. Simpson came from Louisiana familiar with the daily challenges that face many in his congregation, including money. “If you don’t get your credit right, you can’t serve God like He wants you to,” he said. “Men and women of God shouldn’t walk around not paying their bills.”
After a pause, the 44-year-old minister added, “I didn’t hear the amens!”
He talked about freeing people from the “poverty cycle” and avoiding welfare when possible. “If you’re a healthy individual with some ability, you should be out making as much as you can make,” he said. “But you’ll be a miserable failure if you try to change everything all at once. It takes time.”
He cautioned that lifestyle shifts often are temporary because “people change from something, but they don’t know what they’re changing to. So they go back.”
With Faith Clinic’s ministry for single mothers, its programs to help teens and to guide men and its worship services energized with waving streamers and a small but responsive audience telling each other “I believe you’re going to be all right!”, transformation of individual lives appears as certain as the physical conversion of a TV station to a church.
My postcard from “Aunt Phyllis” in 1956 was labeled, “KGNC-TV … 100,000 watts.” There’s more power than that coursing through the old studios now.
* * *
Just wondering
* * *
Just wondering whether Pete Rose is the best choice to speak to Amarillo YMCA kids Saturday (Aug. 16). Maybe he deserves a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame based on his hustle and career, but I’m not sure gambling and self-promotion are values young people should emulate.
* * *
Mike Haynes teaches journalism at Amarillo College. He can be reached at AC, the Amarillo Globe-News or Go to for other recent columns.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003, column:
Armstrong needs to lose cynicism

Thursday, July 10, 2003

July 10, 2003, column:
A short tale about two Ediths

Thursday, June 26, 2003

June 26, 2003, column:
School reunion brings flood of unsaid thoughts
June 12, 2003, column:
Basketball player's character makes him admirable
May 22, 2003, column:
Again, because of confusing omissions in the newspaper version of the column, it is presented here directly in its original form instead of from the Amarillo Globe-News Web site:

Local author's witty self-help manual is not necessarily a Christian book

By Mike Haynes
Sorry, Jason, I’m blowing your cover.
OK, young Amarillo writer Jason Boyett really isn’t being sneaky with his second book, “Things You Should Know By Now: A Mini-Life Manual for the Quarterly Aged.” It actually is what Boyett says it is: “a book intended to help twentysomethings navigate the choppy waters of love, money, relationships and other miscellaneous aspects of life.”
But the thing is, the witty self-help manual, which went on sale May 15 at local bookstores and on the usual international Web sites, is a not-necessarily-Christian book written by a Christian author.
Boyett begins his wise but never pushy paperback with a parable gleaned from a book called “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones,” and his chapters are filled with contemporary culture references such as reality TV, “The Matrix,” techno musician Moby and urban legend e-mails. He covers topics such as “Beware the Credit Card Debt Monkey,” How to Change a Flat Tire,” “How to Cook Eggs a Bunch of Different Ways” and “How Not to Worry.”
He truly does tell the 20-to-30 crowd how to do basic things that don’t always get taught in a society of amazing technology and instant gratification.
Anyone – even us old folks – can enjoy it from any starting point, which Boyett and Relevant Books intend. Boyett doesn’t see a need to sprinkle Bible verses throughout the pages, although there are a couple, along with footnotes acknowledging such sources as St. Augustine. But his perspective comes from his upbringing in Amarillo, and chapters such as “The Best Way to Live is Generously” reflect ideas that sound pretty familiar to those acquainted with Jesus’ teachings.
The Epilogue at the end of the book – “There’s More to Life Than Romance, Money and Poker” – is the only place Boyett explicitly lays out the importance of Christianity in his life. As in the rest of the chapters – and like many young men and women of his generation – he is open and honest, not whitewashing the questions. He writes that his belief “doesn’t come as easily to me as it did when I was younger.
“It’s challenged on a daily basis by the injustice of our fellow humans and the ridiculousness of the religious, by the prevalence of unmitigated evil and uninhibited disaster.
“Ten years ago, my faith was the simple assurance that the Judeo-Christian Jehovah, as revealed in the person of Christ, was and is absolutely real. Today, on a good day, I still hold to that. But on a bad day? On a bad day, faith for me is living as if God’s real, but … wondering.”
The story of Boyett’s grandfather learning to laugh again after larynx surgery, the author’s credit to his brother for a card trick and his frequent mention of his wife and kids all show that family and tradition remain anchors for him. But his world view is anything but simplistic. Consider his chapter on postmodernism.
Because “pomo” is attached these days to everything from “Seinfeld” to retro baseball parks, Boyett spends a few pages on it. He says postmodernism encompasses relativism, diversity, no central authority and importance of the group over the individual. It’s a philosophy that says “whatever.”
He says “Everybody Loves Raymond” is a modern TV show, while “Friends” is postmodern. The Internet, direction-less and diverse, is postmodern.
Boyett’s wide range of “stuff” young adults should know may be an example of “pomo,” too, for all I know. I do believe this gifted 29-year-old has plenty of good advice for everybody.
He approaches members of his generation on their own familiar turf, giving help on everything from 401(k)s to making fruit smoothies. And if readers want to explore where much of his wisdom comes from, he points them in that direction, too.
* * *
Just wondering
* * *
Just wondering if potential messes like the Tulia drug arrests in Swisher County were a reason the late Sheriff Rufe Jordan didn’t want an outside drug task force coming into Gray County, where he knew residents in all neighborhoods on a first-name basis.
* * *
Mike Haynes teaches journalism at Amarillo College. He can be reached at AC, the Amarillo Globe-News or Go to for other recent columns.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

May 8, 2003, column:
Usually, you find here a link to the Amarillo Globe-News Web site,
where the columns are archived. This time, because of editing errors
and omissions in the newspaper version, the column is presented here
directly in its original form:

Eric Das carried out family's mission

By Mike Haynes
The 2-year-old boy maneuvered his toy lawnmower near the front window,
took a look outside and began pushing it back and forth on the carpet,
cutting make-believe grass.
With another glance outside, little Seth pulled his plaything into a bedroom
and started “mowing” again. His counterpart out in the real yard, a lanky
teen-ager named Eric, had moved to the other side of the house, and the
toddler was following him.
In fact, Seth Richardson watched Eric any time he and his parents, Keith
and Sandy Richardson, got together with Eric’s family. Something about
the energetic, friendly young man attracted his attention.
A dozen years later, Eric still was doing something little boys
like to emulate. He was 30 years old and flying a U.S. Air Force F-15E
Strike Eagle jet near Tikrit, Iraq. He already had made successful flights,
helping push his country toward a quick end to the war.
In the middle of the Iraqi night April 7, however, something
happened. Ten days later, Eric’s family – then the Richardsons and scores
of other friends in Amarillo and around the world – found out that Eric had
been killed when the F-15E went down. The same was confirmed later for
his weapons officer, 37-year-old Maj. William Watkins of Virginia.
At an Amarillo memorial service April 24 for Capt. Eric Das,
retired Maj. Gen. Jerry White was the last speaker. And while the Air Force
connection was enough, there was an even stronger one.
White is international president of the Navigators, a Christian
ministry for which Eric’s parents, Bruce and Rosie Das, have worked for
many years. The Navigators are known for their efforts to spread God’s
message on military bases and college campuses, but they also operate
in other settings.
In Amarillo and Canyon, Bruce and Rosie have led local businessmen,
college students and others toward Jesus Christ. They taught adult
Sunday school classes at Paramount Terrace Christian Church before
moving to First Presbyterian Church.
The Das family has touched countless lives using the biblical philosophy
that Christ’s disciples, or followers, should develop new disciples through
one-on-one relationships.
At the memorial service, the heartfelt and moving testimony of
those who knew Eric established that the son – like his sisters Melody
and Elisa – had received from his parents the seeds of Christian salvation
and Christian living and already had been planting more seeds from Texas
to North Carolina and beyond. He had done everything at full throttle,
including his efforts to please his heavenly commanding officer.
He had been part of the process Paul described in 2 Timothy 2:2-3:
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure
hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
White said Eric’s life was not lost, but completed. That makes
sense to the head, but to the heart, it will take time for the Das family and
for Nikki, the pilot’s soul mate, fellow Air Force officer and wife of less than
two years.
For all of them, however, the focus always has been outward. They
might be comforted, then, by White’s words that, like Jesus, Eric now is “more
alive than any of us. And he would want you, as his dear friends, to freely
experience that same freedom of life in Jesus Christ. Freedom is not free, but
eternal life is free.”
White has written several books, and in 2002 he published “Making
Peace with Reality: Ordering Your Life in a Chaotic World.” Publicity material
says the book explores these questions: “Are we living with meaning and purpose?
Are we using our time well? Is it possible to live a life without regret?”
With regard to Eric Das, I believe the answer to all three is a clear “yes.”
In a whirlwind life and even through his death, he is fulfilling the Navigators’ goal:
“To know Christ and to make him known.”
Others still are watching.
* * *
Just wondering
* * *
Just wondering if there is any more moving music than “Taps” played slowly on a trumpet.
* * *
Mike Haynes teaches journalism at Amarillo College. He can be reached at AC,
the Amarillo Globe-News or Go to for other recent columns.

Monday, April 28, 2003

This letter to the editor appeared in the Amarillo Globe-News April 21, 2003, after Kathy suggested it.

Lady Raider role model for young and old

We applaud Texas Tech Lady Raider Natalie Ritchie not only for her hustle and basketball talent, but for her actions off the court.

After a hard-fought loss to Texas this spring in Lubbock, some of the Tech players returned to the court as usual to mingle with fans, who included lots of little girls and their families.

When Natalie, the Amarillo High School graduate, walked back into public view at United Spirit Arena, her face still was wet from tears after the frustrating defeat to Tech's biggest rival.

But she showed what she's made of by walking into the crowd of admirers and signing young girls' shirts, programs and anything else in front of her. It was touching to see Natalie, still bitterly disappointed, bravely putting on a temporary smile for a snapshot.

That kind of performance makes us glad she is a role model for those many young Lady Raider fans - and for some of us older people, too.

Kathy & Mike Haynes, Amarillo

April 24, 2003, column:
Heaton's stance a relief in Hollywood
April 10, 2003, column:
Remembering Wes and Bob Izzard

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Column wins 2nd Amy Award for Christian writing.
Click here for information on the award.
Click here to read the winning column.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Monday, March 17, 2003

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Friday, February 21, 2003

These two letters to the editor appeared in the Amarillo Globe-News Feb. 20, 2003, along with several others on the same topic. They were responding to another letter that week that said Rick Husband was a nice, talented guy but not a hero and that the city should not go overboard in naming something after him.

Put Husband's name on something big

I agree that the word "hero" is overused. Someone who dies while doing his or her job is not necessarily a hero.

Rick Husband, however, surpasses that definition. He is a hero in the sense that he is greatly admired.

Husband also represented much of the population of the Texas Panhandle with his individual initiative, with his love of family and by going above and beyond his job to inspire others with a bold, consistent proclamation of his faith in God.

He earned having his name on something big, and his status as an astronaut and pilot makes the Amarillo airport the obvious choice.

Mike Haynes, Amarillo

Rick a hero of the Christian faith

Rick Husband may not be a hero in Daniel Franks' eyes, but he is in mine and many others.

My dictionary defines hero as "a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities; one that shows great courage." Rick was admired for his achievements, showed exceptional, noble qualities, and the fact that he was an astronaut who died in flight displayed his courage.

Rick also was a hero of the Christian faith. He always was willing, without shame, to share the Gospel.

So, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Franks and feel that renaming the Amarillo airport would be the very minimum we could do to recognize Rick Husband, hero of many.

Kevin Deckard, Canyon

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Friday, January 10, 2003

Jan. 9, 2003, column:
Live according to Job, not job

Sunday, January 05, 2003