Tuesday, October 30, 2012


[ Note: Claire Grimes' 84th Birthday is October 31, 2012. In her honor, I once again post my piece called "Claire". I think this is the 3rd time this has appeared on the blog. No other piece has had so many "reruns". I’m also very pleased that this post was printed as a column in the Dec. 31, 2010 MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, MA) ]

“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)

“Claire” (well, literally “Clair”) was the title of a Gilbert O’Sullivan hit song from the early 1970s. Claire is also the name of a dear lady I’ve known for twenty-four years. I’ve enjoyed the “2010 MetroWest Persons of Distinction” series that has been running in the print editions of the MetroWest Daily News over the past few weeks. Claire would never make such a list as she is one who shuns the limelight and is happiest serving in the background; but in my humble opinion, Claire Post Grimes is absolutely worthy of the title, “2010 MetroWest Person of Distinction”.

My first contact with Claire was by phone in the autumn of 1986. She asked me to come and speak at First Assembly of God of Framingham. I was on the pastoral staff of a church in Walpole at the time. The little Framingham church was without a pastor and Claire, an active church member, was lining up fill-in speakers for the services. I did come and speak. One thing led to another and a few weeks later I was meeting with the church’s pulpit committee. Not long after that I “candidated” for the church’s pastorate and was voted in as pastor.

Upon moving into Framingham, I discovered Claire was truly an amazing woman. She’d only been a born-again Christian for about five years at that time, having previously been a devout Roman Catholic. Claire served on the church’s Board, and volunteered as the church’s secretary. She was present for every activity at church. A person who eschewed tardiness, Claire was always the first person to arrive for any service or meeting. Claire’s husband Jack, an M.I.T. graduate and very intelligent man was not much of a churchgoer, but he was supportive of Claire’s commitment to God and to the church. She once described Jack as “having all of the fruit of the Holy Spirit without the Holy Spirit”...and while I realize that statement is theologically incorrect, I understood what she meant. Both Claire and Jack are kind, warm, hardworking, and generous people.

Claire and Jack are now each in their early eighties. [Added for 2012 posting: Jack Grimes passed away in May 2012.] She doesn’t like notoriety, and she’ll probably be unhappy I wrote this, but it’s all the kind of things I’d say at her funeral. As my friend Dave Milley often says, “Send the flowers when people are still alive!” So, this is a way of “sending flowers” to and for Claire. The Grimes are a family of modest means who live in a small 1950s ranch style house. Despite the modesty, when the church would be in a financial crisis, again and again there’d be a generous check from them. When there was any kind of work to be done at the church, you could count on Claire to do it. For the past eleven years or so, she did almost all of the regular cleaning of the church...vacuuming, cleaning the toilets, and even supplying the bathroom paper products. At times, I felt guilty about Claire doing all that cleaning, but she would insist that she wanted to do it.

When you’re in close proximity to people in some of the worst of times, that can take its toll on relationships. My elderly parents were each seriously ill and near death in 2000. I was “stressed to the max” about it. I remember that on one morning Claire made some sort of a casual comment to me and I “let her have it” verbally. Honestly, I can be “short fused” and I’ve had several people angrily leave the church through the years for that reason. Not Claire. She could not have been more warm and forgiving toward me, saying, “There is nothing you could ever say that would cause me to think any less of you.” Claire Grimes models Biblical forgiveness. She and her husband have had close relatives of theirs experience serious crimes (on the level of the type of matters you see on “America’s Most Wanted”). Despite that, Claire could not harbor bitterness toward the perpetrators.

The local Assemblies of God District officials closed the little Framingham church this past March. Most of the “church family” have found other places to attend and most have emotionally “moved on”. For Claire, this was a challenging year as she underwent a hip replacement and almost two months of rehabilitation, and she gave up driving. At 82, Claire’s not ready to jump into another church. She’s an amazingly positive person, but I have heard her sadly declare many times over the past few months, “I miss my CHURCH!” I had to chuckle when Claire said, “You many not believe this, but I even loved cleaning that little church building and I miss doing that so much!”

Every pastor wishes he or she had a congregation full of Claire Grimeses! As far as I’m concerned I’ll always be her pastor, and I thank God for her and the difference she has made in my life and in the lives of many others!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


"And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Matthew 8:26-27)

As I write, there is a huge and dangerous hurricane (Hurricane Sandy) off the Carolinas in the Atlantic Ocean. The possible track of this storm and weather forecasts have been "all over the place". We are getting a lot of what I call "gloom 'n doom" from the Boston media. People act as though the worst storm to hit New England in at least a hundred years is about to strike. This situation has caused me to think back to late September of 1985. At that time, Hurricane Gloria was about to strike Virginia Beach, Virginia. Famous and somewhat controversial television evangelist M.G. "Pat" Robertson went on his "700 Club" program and prayed. As I recall, he not only prayed, but essentially commanded Hurricane Gloria to turn and depart from the Virginia coast in the Name of Jesus. In fact, Hurricane Gloria did exactly that to many people's utter shock. Did Pat Robertson, by his prayer of faith actually move Hurricane Gloria? It is true that hurricanes are very strange storms which often defy meteorological logic. They have been know to make sudden drastic turns which make no sense. SO, DID Pat Robertson really move that hurricane? Only God knows. It's possible it would have moved anyway and that he had nothing to do with it. But, as crazy as this will sound to non-Pentecostals and non-charismatics, if you take the New Testament seriously and pretty literally, it IS POSSIBLE to change the weather with a prayer of faith. Incidentally, two days after Pat Robertson's prayer, Hurricane Gloria struck eastern Massachusetts hard. Our residence in Walpole had no electricity for (I think) five days. Some communities in southeastern Massachusetts had no electricity for well over a week. There was a lot of damage. So, if Pat really did that, I guess those of us in New England should have been sarcastically saying, "Thanks a lot, Pat!"

The thing of praying and believing God for a drastic change in weather has gone through my mind a few times over the past few days. I really don't want Hurricane Sandy in any way, shape, or form! But, I learned a drastic lesson about this business of "praying the prayer of faith to change the weather" back in 1999 that makes me very reluctant to engage in this sort of business. This is a very personal story that could make me the butt of jokes and thought of as a very foolish man, but if it does, I'll just have to say, "Pat Robertson, move over!"

It was late December of 1998, to be exact. The upcoming Sunday was the first Sunday of January and the first Sunday of 1999. Like many pastors, I considered the first Sunday sermon of any year vitally important. This sermon would set the spiritual tone for the whole year. It was not just any sermon. It was big. It was like a coach in the NFL whose team is way behind at halftime standing up before his players and verbally "giving them all he had" as far as motivation and exhortation. I was already working hard on my first sermon of 1999. I felt so passionate about it. As far as I was concerned it just had to be preached on the first Sunday of the year. The second Sunday just would not do. There was a problem, however, and that was the weather forecast for the first weekend of 1999. It called for a big snowstorm! Most likely, church service would have to be cancelled. IF we had service, there would probably be 7 people present. I thought about Pat Robertson and the hurricane back in 1985. Could I really pray the prayer of faith, command the weather to change, and have this happen? I decided I would do exactly that! I went outside and faced the direction the snowstorm would be coming from. Out loud and firmly I prayed, commanded, and believed there would be NO snowstorm for Sunday in the Name of Jesus!

Sunday morning came. I looked outside. No snow! NO SNOW! I was ECSTATIC! As I did every Sunday, I drove to the church early to turn on the heat and the coffeemaker. The temperature was around 40. It was drizzling. The driving was fine. Ninety minutes later, the church leaders were there drinking coffee and looking forward to the morning's activities. A phone call came in from Bernadette who lived in Medway, ten miles south of Framingham. She said she'd driven a couple of miles from home and it was treacherous- all dangerous black ice. She and her daughters were staying home. The Lincolns from Ashland had come to church but did report that at their home near the Hopkinton line, there was indeed some ice. Again, downtown Framingham was fine, however, so I was still very happy. We had a good service. I preached my dynamic, important sermon. I felt very victorious and satisfied.

Within twenty-four hours, our family received awful news. This was awful news that pretty much the whole evangelical Christian community of the MetroWest suburbs of Boston received. A girl about fourteen-years-old from a wonderful Christian family had been killed in a tragic accident in Hopkinton near the Ashland line. Her mother's car had gone out of control on ice and was off the road. She and her mom got out of the car. Another car came along, went out of control, and STRUCK THEM, killing the girl! It turned out that the girl had gone to the same nursery school as my daughter Amy. In fact, they were in the same nursery school class. This tragedy was so sad and was felt in so many households. The following weekend, our family attended the girl's memorial service at an Episcopal church. It was, of course, a very sad service. Suddenly, in the middle of the service, I had a HORRIBLE thought: I had done my big Pat Robertson thing and prayed away that big snowstorm and we got the drizzle in Framingham and the black ice in other areas instead. Was this death somehow MY fault?!

I I hung my head down, and had to control myself, for I wanted to burst into uncontrollable sobs. I can't begin to say how selfish and how horrible I felt.

Later that day, after coming home, I took a walk. I took a long walk. And I prayed and thought and prayed and thought and prayed and thought. I know those who are not "born again Christians" will not understand this, but I believe God spoke to me that afternoon...NOT audibly, but in that "still, small voice" deep inside my spirit.

"No, this is not your fault. You had nothing to do with the accident nor with that girl's death. But LEARN A LESSON from this! Praying and commanding the weather to change can and does happen in some cases. But there is always the potential for consequences from changing the weather...sometimes grave consequences. This is not something you ever do casually or lightly."

So, since then, I don't command the weather to change or anything like that! DID my prayer really change the weather? As with Pat Robertson, I don't know. Only God knows. But this is in the category of, "Be careful what you pray for, you just might GET it!"

Will Hurricane Sandy really be a very bad storm in Massachusetts over the next couple of days? I don't know. DID Pat Robertson's prayer really move that hurricane? What do you think?

Monday, October 22, 2012


"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9)

I may forget where I put my wallet, as I did a couple of weeks ago, and I may forget what I did with my car keys, but for some reason, I have vivid memories of the distant past. One memory I have involves the dark blue 1955 Ford station wagon owned by the Civil Air Patrol that my father sometimes drove. Dad was a member of a local Civil Air Patrol group. In fact, he was a leader of the group and held the rank of Major. In these days of government austerity, I don't know if they still provide C.A.P. automobiles for the use of the C.A.P. leadership, but they did in those days. Now, please understand, this car, and the 1961 Ford station wagon he later sometimes drove, were not driven by him exclusively, but he did have the use of these cars on occasion. In the days before we were a two car family (in 1964) my father periodically borrowed a C.A.P. car. Since this memory involves the 1955 station wagon, rather than the 1961, I think this must go back to around 1962.

I would have been around 7 or 8 at the time. Sometimes during school vacations, my parents would allow me to go to visit my grandmother at her apartment in Boston for a personal vacation of several days. I loved these vacations! I was treated like a king! My grandmother and her younger sister Celia who lived nearby would dote on me. I got all kinds of cool snacks and got to visit all kinds of cool places in the city with them. I got to watch some great shows on television...at least by 1962 standards! My memory of the 1955 Ford C.A.P. car is that Celia had taken me by public transportation to the City Point/Castle Island park area on the South Boston waterfront. I had a wonderful time. We took the public transportation back, and walked the quarter of a mile or so from the bus stop to "Gram's" apartment.

As we rounded the corner to Gram's street, what to my wondering eyes did appear but the 1955 Ford C.A.P. car?! NO! At that point, I was still scheduled to have at least another couple of days at Grams' in Boston. I was not supposed to be going home now. I was stunned. It wasn't fair! My parents did not keep their word. I had two more days left! It wasn't fair! We went in, and indeed my father was there to bring me home. As a grown up, I realize things can come up. This was not the time frame any of us had planned on, but maybe my parents had a schedule conflict and this worked out better for them. I understand that today, but as a kid, I didn't understand it, at all.

My father was not a guy you argued with. You just didn't say "no" to him. I knew there was not way out of it. I had to pack up my stuff and go with my father in that 1955 Ford station wagon. I was deeply disappointed. The funny thing is, in my brain, I've come to associate deep disappointment with that evening. When I feel there's been a really unfair or deeply disappointing happening in my life, I will picture that 1955 Ford C.A.P. car and remember how I felt that night.

This is very personal, but over the past three years, there have been a lot of 1955 Ford C.A.P. cars in my life! No, not literally, but they might as well have been literal. As a little kid, I had plans for the rest of my vacation at my grandmothers. Those plans were sacred to me, and anything that might interfere with them was, well, unthinkable! I've carried that thinking pattern into adulthood. I am a planner. I've never been known to be particularly "flexible". In fact, "flexible" is not a favorite word! Some years ago, a guy in our church in Framingham called me a "control freak". I really didn't like that. In fact, he was and is a control freak, himself. But, alas, he was correct.

In Scripture, I am amazed that interruptions did not even phase Jesus. He accepted interruptions as just part of life and seems totally unaffected by them. I am embarrassed and convicted each time I read those accounts where someone throws off Jesus' schedule and He is just fine with it. Honestly, I'm a bit better about interruptions than I used to be, but I do like my private world to have all the t's crossed and i's dotted. In fact, over the past three years, and particularly over the past few months, as I have rounded corners of my life's journey, I have encountered many dark blue 1955 Ford C.A.P. cars. Many! Yes, there's also been many a 39-year-old Eugene A. Baril telling me it's time to pack my things and go, no matter what plans or hopes or dreams I may have had. Honestly, right now is a very emotional time for me. I have been holding onto a bunch of hopes and plans and dreams that don't seem to be working out at all. Instead, there is a whole parking lot full of 1955 dark blue Ford C.A.P. station wagons! I don't like it.

I don't like it one bit!

It was so easy to teach about Discipleship, and obedience, and faith, and living the Christian life when I was pastoring. It's just so difficult now. But, you know what? Back there in 1962, I did ride home in that '55 Ford with my father. I was disappointed but it did not kill me. If and when I ever publicly minister again, I have a feeling my ministry will have a lot more depth because of this "Joseph of the Old Testament School" I am in right now. I am grateful for dear Christian friends who are praying me through these days. Excuse me, I think I see a 1955 Ford station wagon I'm being summoned to enter!

Friday, October 19, 2012


"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" (James 1:19)

I posted this on my Facebook page today. I am NOT against people stating their political opinions, nor I am against freedom of speech- not at all. But I think Facebook, including postings by my Facebook friends, is just inundated and saturated with this stuff. Enough already!

This may upset some folks and seem "off the wall" but I am so tired of reading political stuff on Facebook. Ironically, at one time, I was a HUGE political junkie, so I understand a lot of what is driving this. I AM watching the debates, but I guess I just feel SO bad about the state our country is in which is not good. Yes, I will vote on Nov. 6, the Lord willing; but if we're really all "friends" on Facebook, I think we've all done enough posting about how great Obama is or how horrible Obama is; or how great Romney is or how horrible Romney is; and that all goes for Biden and Ryan, too. I don't think our country has been so divided since 1865. As nutty as this may sound, I think there needs to be a lot of humility and prayer in our country at this point in time. JAMES 1:19 says we should be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. To that I add "Selah".

Sunday, October 14, 2012


"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

A close friend of mine who happens to be an elderly pastor said he was profoundly affected some years ago by a conversation he had with a female missionary to Papua New Guinea. My friend has often struggled with trying to deal with the mundane details of everyday life which seem to get in the way of the work of the ministry. My friend even hates the whole shaving, showering, and exercise routine of each morning, saying he could be so much more productive for God if he didn't have to waste his time with that business each morning. Honestly, I've often felt exactly the same way! His conversation with the missionary, however, was eye opening. She said that at least half of what she and her family did in Papua New Guinea and in America, in fact, had nothing specific to do with active full time ministry. It was preparing meals and tending gardens and washing hair and cleaning house and on and on and on. She called all of this, "the stuff of life" and said that as committed evangelical ministers we all have to come to grips with "the stuff of life" much as we may not like it.

In the Bible there's actually a lot about "the stuff of life". In 2 Kings chapter 6, a young man lamented to Elisha the prophet about a borrowed axe head that had flown off the handle and into the water. In Luke chapter 15, Jesus talks about the "lost coin" and "lost sheep". My friend the elderly pastor freely admits that he's a perfectionist and that this has caused him some pain and frustration in life. I am also a perfectionist. Like my elderly friend, I like to have all my i's dotted and my t's crossed. I like to have "all my ducks in order". I like it when all is right with my world. When I feel things are in chaos, well, I can't begin to tell you how horrible that feels.

I lived a real life nightmare a few days ago. It was Friday. In the "window" of time between 2:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. I had "a million" things to do. To use a favorite phrase of mine, I was "running around like a nut". One of the "million" things I needed to do was to go to the Framingham Public Library, check my e-mail, and send off a couple of important e-mails. I have to enter a lengthy number from my Framingham Public Library card to use the computer. As I always do, I pulled out my wallet, then pulled out the card and entered the number. I lay the wallet on the table next to the computer. About twenty minutes later, I rushed off to BJs Wholesale Club to hand out flyers. Typically at least several times a day, I kind of take a private inventory of what is on my person. I want to make sure I have my wallet, my change purse, my keys, and my cell phone. As I was handing out flyers, during a lull in the action, I did that inventory. NO WALLET! I was a bit surprised and figured I must have stupidly left my wallet in the car. Making a quick apology, I went out to the car to get the wallet. NO WALLET! In the past three years, I have maybe lost my wallet five times, and each time it's been found within an hour and usually within ten minutes. This was scary. Suddenly it hit me. I'd left it at the library!

According to my watch,it was now 5:10 p.m. and the library was CLOSED. I phoned my son Jon, a library employee, asking if there was any way I could get into the library and get my wallet. He was quite unsure, but thought there was a CHANCE a maintenance man could be in there. I felt like an absolute fool, but I clocked out at BJs saying, "I'm really sorry but something's come up!"

I am not proud of this but I was depressed and semi-hyper-ventillating as I drove to the library in very heavy traffic. At the library, I went up to the door and indeed saw a maintenance man inside. I pounded on the glass door. He motioned his hands that the library was closed. I yelled at the top of my lungs, "I LEFT MY WALLET! I LEFT MY WALLET!"

I don't remember being that hysterical since I burned my hands on the heating system of our old church building on a weekday evening and some firemen came in to rescue me. I remember yelling, "SIR," at them, and just yelling and "talking ragtine" I was in such shock. Well, on Friday I was not much better. The maintenance man came to the door. I explained what happened. He assured me he would go up to the reference room and look for the wallet.

The maintenance man was gone for a good ten minutes. That made me nervous. He returned empty handed. He told me he'd combed the computer area and there was no wallet there. He said some librarian may have locked it up in a safe place and that I should return on Saturday morning. How did I feel? I felt like I was in that scene in the film, "The Wizard of Oz" when the doorkeeper comes back and tells Dorothy and her companions, "The Wizard says, 'Go away!'".

I called a friend for prayer. He told he he had a great Christian song he wanted to listen to and that he would play it for me over the phone.

"I don't want to hear any songs!" I said, "I just can't listen to any songs right now!"

What an awful feeling. Yes, I have been known to lose my wallet for five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, and once over the past year for about an hour. But ALL NIGHT?! No ATM Card. No I.D. No Driver's License. No family photos. No supermarket discount cards. No official Assemblies of God Ordained Minister card. Nothing.

Loss. Loss. The big issue I've been struggling with over the past few years. Loss. Here is was again. Loss. What if I went to the library on Saturday and there WAS no wallet in the safe? What if I needed a new driver's license? I'd have to use my Passport, find a copy of my birth certificate, find who knows what else for an I.D. What a nightmare! I did have one weird dream that night although it was not as weird as the real life nightmare I was experiencing.

Now, I had to work at the answering service around 7 hours on Saturday. I am not sure how I got through that first 90 minutes on the phones before I got a break and could go over to the public library. At the library I went right up to the reference room. I explained my plight to the librarian.

"Oh, yes," she told me, "your son was just up here talking to us about that. We have checked and there is NO wallet here. I'm sorry. Check at the front desk downstairs".

I did go downstairs.

"Oh, yes," the front desk librarian told me, "I heard about that wallet, but we looked and we DON'T have it."

If I had a really bad heart, I'd probably have keeled over dead right about then. Suddenly, the librarian at the INFORMATION desk, not to be confused with the CIRCULATION desk said,

"I THINK I know something about that wallet!"

She went into a back room. In about two minutes, she walked out with MY WALLET!

"It was turned in yesterday," she said, "And I put it in the safe."

Even as I write these words, I feel like bursting into tears. I will never think of Luke chapter 15 quite the same way again. I am not sure why God allowed this to happen, but I'll never preach on Luke 15 without making this story my introduction. Is God really trying to get my attention about the plight of the lost? If so, I think He has succeeded!

The stuff of life. Yeah. We just can't get away from it. It can drive you crazy. And, you know what, God is there in the midst of all the nightmares you can experience with the stuff of life!

Friday, October 12, 2012


"And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:" (Genesis 37:6)

Around four months ago I published a post on this blog entitled "WOULD WBZ GIVE BOB BARIL A CHANCE?" Well, I've exchanged some e-mails with a person at that station, and that seems to be just kind of "in limbo" to use an old expression that my father used to use all the time. While there are probably a dozen careers I've had a passing interest in, there have only been two that I have REALLY WANTED TO DO WITH A PASSION: One is be an active and respected evangelical Protestant minister and one is be a successful radio broadcaster; (particularly doing a "call-in" show).

In high school I absolutely wanted to go into broadcasting, although my father strongly talked me out of it. He felt it was a field that offered no job security; that it was like acting, with a few big success stories and scads of disappointed wannabee failures. I trained to be a public school teacher. What little public school teaching I did, and there wasn't much of it, I HATED. I decided I would rather be a janitor in a textile mill than be a public school teacher,and for one summer job I WAS a janitor in a textile mill, so I knew from whence I spoke! Many of you know, I spent over twenty-five years as an Assemblies of God minister. I am still an Ordained AG minister although right now I am on "inactive" status. The church I pastored never had more than eighty people in attendance, and for most of the twenty-three years I pastored that church there were under fifty. In the final days, we felt "lucky" (a distinctly non-evangelical word) if twenty showed up. I'm actually a very good speaker and a very good teacher (just not in public schools!), but I guess I was a lousy leader and not much of a businessman. At least half of what you do as a pastor is functioning a businessman and about another thirty percent is being a leader of men and women. I gave it all I had, but those were areas where I just never seemed to get out of the starting gate, so to speak.

That's a big part of why when the overnight show slot opened up at WBZ, I wanted a crack at it. I may sound like I really sold myself short in what I wrote above, but I really AM a gifted person. Sometimes, it's difficult to "get your foot in the door" to convince others of this. During the Fall of 2011, I took several classes at the job training center in Marlboro. A lot of people thought I was getting "hands on" training there for a new career. Actually, there's really little of that, there. I got SOME of that, but not a lot. Much more common are motivational "you can do it" kind of classes. I don't write that to be critical. Unemployed and underemployed people really have lost their self-esteem and need those classes. I have never told this to anyone outside of those classes, but in several of those sessions, people raised their hands and pointed out that I make an outstanding presentation of myself and have a captivating presence. These comments were made by people who (in many cases) are HIGHLY skilled when it comes to computers and business- much more highly skilled that I am. I was frankly SHOCKED at some of the praises I got from these folks. One INSTRUCTOR there AGREED with my classmates, and said to me (I think half seriously), "Just don't try to take MY job!"

I will say that what I just wrote is not easy to convey on a job interview, despite what people have said to me. Now, that part was all only my "introduction" to this piece! Yes, like Joseph of the Old Testament, I have "dreamed many dreams". He went from the prison to the palace. I would still LOVE to do an overnight radio show, if not on WBZ, on SOME station. I admit as I wrote on the blog a few months ago, I am really not "a trained broadcast professional", as some would say.


IF I were to host an overnight show on a major station like WBZ, I probably would NOT do a lot of "heavy issues"stuff. Of course, there could be exceptions. I'm sure, for instance, that even the most silly and lighthearted of hosts found themselves doing "heavy issues" talk on Sept. 11-18 of 2001. As I recall, that was also the case on May 1, 2011 with the news of Osama Ben Laden's killing. THOSE sort of nights would be the exception to the rule.

I really enjoyed "The David Stein Show/A Celebration of Life" during the few weeks it was on WTKK in the Spring of 2011. I know the national syndication company (I think it was Westwood One) was trying to market that as a major nationally syndicated show. I don't think it was ever on more than 6 stations and it was cancelled. BUT, it was VERY good stuff! I remember that at least HALF of Stein's calls came from Boston's WTKK. I know people would think a spiritual and people-centric show like that would NOT have appealed to New Englanders but apparently, it did. Now, I would NOT do a show EXACTLY like "The David Stein Show/A Celebration of Life", but I must say, that sort of thing would be a big piece of what I would do...maybe 40% of the type of thing I would do.

I'd call my program something like "Bob Baril's Kitchen Table". The idea would be a person who comes downstairs at 3 am and can't sleep and just wants to sit at the kitchen table, have a piece of chocolate cake, and a glass of milk and TALK. The talk COULD be very funny, silly stuff...funny stories, that sort of thing. But it could also be some serious matters...maybe someone's dealing with a child with cancer, or a parent who just had to be put into a nursing home. The "I've been there" callers who'd respond would be very powerful and therapeutic. My thirty years as an Ordained Minister would be very handy and appropriate for that sort of thing. And, I would NOT be ramming evangelical Christianity down people's throats. David Stein is a Jew by birth who today is a "born again Christian". He DID bring Jesus and the Bible into things, but only in a VERY SUBTLE and INCLUSIVE manner....NEVER in a condemnatory or preachy manner. He was always about inspiring and motivating others, and I'd like to do the same.

Again, I would NOT do JUST that sort of thing, though. There IS a place for just funny stories and interviews and other things. I'd love to interview people from Massachusetts who are not particularly famous but who are making a difference in our world.

I DO think the PERSONALITY and the "SCHTICK" of the host is important. I used to enjoy "The John and Jeff Show" when it was on WTKK. I don't know if they EVER had guests. IF they did, that was rare. They'd talk about subjects like tipping in restaurants and "should marijuana be legal?" and there was something about the WAY they talked and conducted themselves that they were RIVETING to listen to! You wanted to hear what was coming next. You did not want to turn off the radio! I don't know if he is on anywhere today, but Tom Leykis also has that quality. True, he's a real jerk "in real life" but the way he tells personal stories, you just can't get enough of listening! I think that is a VERY important quality in a host and it's something I would strive for.

Within reason, there's even a place for some kind of crazy but memorable music themes. Rush Limbaugh used to do that, and I think he was much better when he had those "update themes". I'd LOVE to host a show featuring an audio clip of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" as my musical opener...that's because it SOUNDS like they're singing "BOB BARIL"!

I know what I'm suggesting would scare a lot of program directors as stations want to have a very serious and very professional news image. But, IS there a place for the kind of things I write about to be on the air from Midnight to 5 a.m.? In my humble opinion, ABSOLUTELY! I think it's the idea of a radio station "letting its hair down" and being VERY DIFFERENT during those hours that CAN make listening very attractive- even to people who don't usually listen to talk radio or to AM radio.

What do you think? Is my dream crazy? Would YOU listen to a show such as I'm describing? The program director at WBZ strongly asked me to stop having friends e-mail him, and I did that. Now, I think maybe resuming those e-mails wouldn't be a bad idea! Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


"Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" (Ephesians 5:24-25)

There are some things you write and post that can be viewed as "loaded". If you're not SUPER careful and cautious, such postings can "come back to bite you". This is one of those, and so I'm endeavoring to be very careful as I write. I will be sharing a story but deliberately changing some details just for the reasons I open with. The essential story is true, however.

Several days ago, a friend that I will call "Nikki" shared a sad story with me. She'd gone to church at the medium-sized evangelical church where she attends where the congregation was greeted with devastating news: One of the most beloved Members of that church, a woman in her seventies who'd been an active Member for over thirty years had died that week due to complications following surgery. I will call the woman "Juliette Hudson". Juliette had been in church on the previous Sunday with her husband "Zack". It was known she was going in for surgery. People from the church prayed for her the way evangelical Christians will pray for a fellow Church Member going in for surgery. Everybody expected to see her soon, having had a successful operation. Instead, things went horribly wrong, there were complications, and after a couple of days, she passed away.

Nikki told me that although Zack and Juliette are a lot older, she felt closer to them than to anyone else in the church. The news hit her hard. But the hardest part was Zack's pain. The widower was crushed. He said, "I will never stop loving her", and shared how theirs was really a dream relationship. It was not a perfect marriage, but it was the next best thing. This was one of those one in a thousand couples who were soul mates, desperately in love, almost inseparable, and had an almost perfect marriage. Yes, Zack knows Juliette is in Heaven, and he finds comfort in that. But his loss has left him almost inconsolable.

I must say, Nikki's words just stayed with me. I pondered them. I later saw Nikki and asked her,

"How is that possible? So few people achieve that sort of a marriage. So few people have that kind of a relationship. What do you suppose is their secret? How do you suppose that is possible?"

Her answer was brief but powerful:

"I don't think that sort of thing happens very often at all. I think it's very rare. But I think it's achieved when you have two very unselfish people that marry each other."

If you're like me, that is very sobering. It's true. But how does one truly become unselfish? And if one unselfish person is paired with one selfish person, will that work? I think not. Are you unselfish? Honestly, I can be a very kind person and a very generous person, but I am shamefaced as I write that through most of my adult life I've been a selfish person. Yes, I'm a committed evangelical Christian. I am a nice guy. I can be very kind and very generous. I can be very helpful. And I can also be very selfish.

This couple, Zack and Juliette, was married for fifty-three years in an almost perfect marriage. Yes, it's very rare. It probably shouldn't be. Among evangelical Christians, problematic marriages should be very rare. This incident involving a couple that I never personally met has gripped me, and caused me to do an enormous amount of soul searching.