The Name “Hudson”

What’s In A Name?

So I have a new grandson – about which I am quite pleased, I must say! And the Buchman name goes on. I only ever had one male cousin of the last name Buchman, who did have one son – who has no children.

Hudson Buchman

Hudson Roy Buchman was born to Nathan and Allie in the wee hours of Friday, December 30, 2011.

So, the name Hudson – where does that come from?  There are no other Hudson Buchmans out there (I checked!). Although I did find a “Dana Buchman Hudson Sunglasses” – apparently by the fashion designer Dana Buchman.

The name “Hudson” means “Hugh’s Son” … well, there is no Hugh Buchman – though that is the first name of my brother-in-law … the husband of my sister who died two weeks ago.

Henry Hudson

Of course, there is Henry Hudson – the explorer after whom is named the Hudson Bay and Hudson River, etc.  Nathan and Allie would not have any connection there. (Doesn’t the picture of Henry Hudson make it look like he is wearing one of those collar thingies Veterinarians put around a dog’s neck?)

Someone suggested a good nickname for the boy could be “Rock” – because of the famous actor Rock Hudson. But, he is only famous for people my age and older – none of my boys knew who he was or ever heard of him.

Rock Hudson

There have been a whole host of baseball players with the last name of Hudson. That is cool in my book!

The very first family car that I remember as a child was a Hudson. Any of the rest of you remember Hudson automobiles? My father loved that car and said that the faster he drove, the closer it got to the pavement. I don’t know that I believe that one!

1956 Hudson Hornet

The first thing that came to my mind with the name was “Hudson Taylor” (the person whom Taylor University is named after – it is not actually our friend Taylor Oliver who went there, as have all his kids). Hudson Taylor was a great man – the father of faith missions who opened inland China to the Gospel. He founded China Inland Mission. His model of operation was to live fully by faith and to break down barriers of communication to the extent of wearing Chinese garb – an action seen as very odd by other missionaries of the time. Historians have often written that Hudson Taylor made the largest impact for the Gospel to the greatest number of unreached peoples since the Apostle Paul himself.

Hudson Taylor

But in the end, my Hudson grandson is named for himself. His parents simply liked the name, and I do also. He can chart his own course, and I’m sure he will … yep, I’m sure … I’m getting my tickets as soon as possible for the 2036 Olympics, for example! There are running genes there from two sides!

(No pressure Hudson, just don’t mess up!)

Plans for Reading the Bible in the New Year

Every year, Christians make plans to read through the Bible. It is a worthy goal, but like so many worthy things, the disciplined execution of such is the problem!

Let me direct your attention to an incredible new tool to assist and facilitate your Bible reading resolution for the New Year. It is on the following web site:

There are literally hundreds of reading plans from which you may choose, and then load to whatever device you have … in whatever way you’d like to receive it.

Let me give you just two examples of reading plans:

Example 1 – The Essential 100 » 100 days

The Essential 100 Challenge (E100) helps you get an overview of the Bible… without getting bogged down. The Plan guides you through 50 Old Testament passages and 50 New Testament passages — The Essential 100 — so you can see the big picture of God’s Word, and form a daily Bible reading habit in the process. E100 is an achievable way to have a “through the Bible” experience; it’s the Bible reading plan people love to complete.

Example 2 – Historical » 1 Year

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to read the Old Testament in ancient Israel? Or, the New Testament as the books were written? In this plan, the order of the Old Testament readings is very similar to Israel’s Hebrew Bible, progressing from Law to Prophets to Writings. The New Testament ordering is based upon research regarding the order in which the books were authored. Although this research is not conclusive, it may offer helpful insights to your Bible reading.

There are many other incredible features on this web page … so check it out. Actually, Eric is using some of the technological elements in his Wednesday night discipleship work with the teens.

When Are You (Not?) Helping?

Our church staff meeting today featured an hour or more discussion on the issue of benevolence and helping people in need… and beyond that, what role to play with various agencies in town. There is not a clear answer, and I have struggled with this over my 30 years as a pastor.

The difficulty involves knowing when someone has a true and genuine need, and if by helping with the immediate need, are you facilitating a destructive pattern of life and continuing a culture of dependency?

A most difficult call is when someone connects with the church (either by a phone call or drop in visit) seeking financial assistance for what is often a convoluted story. There is no doubt that many of these situations involve people working over a list of churches with the same story – going even from town to town doing such as a way of life.

When I first came to Hagerstown, I was hit by a guy who some months before hit me with the same wild story at my previous church in New Jersey! When I confronted him on this, I got quite a vile change of tone and response. One of the other staff guys today talked about being at a McDonald’s this summer and hearing the guy in the next both calling one church after another with a story about needing a place to stay. When he got a “winner” he put them on hold (with the pretext of going to the bathroom) in order to call the hotel they were willing to put him it – to see if there was wireless internet for his computer!

Our general policy, with only occasional exception, is that we will only help people who either attend TSF or are connected to people in TSF. It is difficult to evaluate situations, but we REALLY do wish to help people who have a genuine need – and we are able to do so in many situations with people we know.

Another category of this discussion involves partnership with various agencies in the community that work to assist the poor and needy. Most of these do not have a spiritual component – which is not necessarily a disqualifying factor for us. We gladly work with Holly Place – for example. Evangelical churches in recent decades have not tended to put significant resources toward such endeavors – believing them to be outside the spiritual mission of the church. Additionally, for many, knowledge remains that in previous generations, social work activity ended poorly for many denominations with the Gospel being redefined as that social work, rather than the cross work of redemption for sin.

We have much room to grow missionally (the word we use to describe involvement outside the walls of the church and the church family). We want to do more and intend to lead in such directions. Yet we want to do this in a way that is helpful – to the agencies, to those receiving the aid, and to those serving in such endeavors.

I welcome any discussion on this – and definitive answers also!

Animal Ambiance

So, my attempt at ambiance went all astray! “Animals never do what you want them to when you want them to,” said Arnold Horst. He should know – after years of farming and raising every kind of critter.

If you were not at church Sunday morning, I called the kids up front (as I did 6 years ago) and read them a story I had written about “Two Boys in Bethlehem.” To create a little bit of a stable/barn type of feel, I brought in a crate with two chickens and a rooster from my “farm.”

I thought sure that the rooster would give me at least a couple of crows – after all, he does it about every 30 seconds all day long, and even screams through half the night! But, in church, he was as quiet as a church mouse.

My Jack Russell Terrier is an incredible singer – simply amazing. She even seems to be trying to stay on pitch. I’ve thought to put her in our summer picnic talent show, but I know what would happen – she’d get the same stage fright the rooster had and clam up!

Maybe I should give up on the animals completely, but I’m not sure I’ve had a lot of success either with getting people to do what I want them to do when I want them to do it!

Christmas Greeting to Church Family and Friends

I was with Vicki Crowe in her home later in the evening after Larry died of a heart attack some years ago. After a while, one of the family arrived – Larry’s brother Randy, who is a pastor in WV – and the first thing he said was, “Oh Vicki, we’re getting to have more people over there than we have here!” (His daughter had recently been killed in a car crash.) And as we know, not long after, Vicki went “over there” as well. That occurred during this season just six years ago, and oh how I miss that precious friend!

If you live long enough, the statement is true – you have more family in heaven than you have on the earth. A number of us this year on the ministry staff will be missing some folks around the celebrations of family gatherings. I’m not sure when I’ve seen a holiday season where there is so much pain in so many families. Just days ago, a family from my former church in New Jersey had a healthy college senior daughter contract some sort of strange pneumonia, and within 48 hours, she had died! How can this be?

But ultimately we are not undone! Our faith in not shaken, but rather reaffirmed. We can still access joy in this season (even if we cannot dredge up the “happiness” feeling), for the incarnation of Christ – and His subsequent Work on the cross – brings us the greatest gift … the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. He is Emmanuel – God with us. And through the Holy Spirit that imbues the Church, Jesus lives not only with us, but IN us! And beyond that, the Spirit is the “earnest” of our salvation – a down-payment as it were – that we shall inherit that life that will never end. This is good stuff!

And this good stuff all had its beginning in the physical world through the coming of Christ in that Bethlehem manger.

And so I extend to all of you – dear friends, family, and co-servants of Christ – the most wonder-filled and blessed of celebrations, be it through joyful uproarious hilarity and celebration, or perhaps rather even in the quiet of solitude and contemplation.


Aging Through Christmas Story

A couple years ago for one of our Christmas shows, I played the part of Simeon. Lori Boutieller asked me to do it, and I always do what she asks!

Anyhow, I was thinking – this is what everything has now come to!  I’m now typecast as the old man in the Christmas story! Well, I guess I do look the part! You know – dignified, and all that!

But consider this: here is how it progresses if you are a male, and a life-long church attender. When you are a baby, you play the part of Jesus (even though you can’t remember doing it). Then, as a child, you get to be an angel, or a shepherd (and be creeped-out by wearing your bathrobe on the stage). As a young adult, Joseph is your role. When you get to be a bit older adult, you become a wise man. Next, as a more seasoned gentleman, you are given the fun part of playing the innkeeper. And finally, when you are about to die, someone like Lori comes along and says, “Could you dress up and be Simeon this year?” Sure, I’ll do it! Why … it is the pinnacle moment of a lifetime of Christmas thespianism! The next stop is heaven. It has to be; there are no more parts!

It says in Luke 2:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Christmas Music at TSF 2011

We had a great Sunday morning service this past week, with a variety of musical special presentations and teaching segments.

Luke Greffen and Renee Peterson put together a terrific worship team with a lot of special effects and extra instruments for accompaniment.

Each of the four lead singers – Luke, Renee, Aaron Buchman, and Laura Holtzman – took a turn as the lead voice for a special presentation song.

A huge highlight of the program was Dom Palmer and a dance team that he put together. The energy of it was fabulous, and the athleticism and contortions by these young adults defy belief! Dom has been using a room in the church on Sunday nights to teach and choreograph. It is amazing to see!

We also enjoyed a group of the children presenting three songs. Led by Fran Shay, this Kids Bridge class put on a great vocal display. Hopefully even more children will want to be a part of this in preparation for the Easter season.

No, it is not exactly the old “Christmas Show” that we have done often in the past. Those things are huge commitments of time and resources!!!  But it was a very productive morning. Thanks to all who participated and to ALL the people who attended! It was great to have to bring in extra chairs!


A new feature of life for me that was not present with my former blog is that I now have a granddaughter – who at age 2 ½ makes many funny statements. I’ll call them “Bellaisms.” They come out of nowhere and simply leave you laughing. I remember when her father and uncles did and said such things. Actually, Diana kept a log of funny statements, and I often encourage young parents to do the same.

I’ll give two examples here:

We were finishing a dinner in a Chinese restaurant, and as Bella opened the fortune cookie, her father said, “Read it Bella, what does it say?”  And she answered, “The Cowboys are good, Eagles are bad.”  (Smart girl!)

While at our house today, she was outside with our flock of chickens and two roosters running around. One of the big bad boys – a large “Black Jersey Giant” rooster – went after her by charging at her with flapping wings, etc.  It is honestly a scary thing for anyone, especially for someone so small that she is on head level with the bird. After a few tears, she settled down and heard the rooster crowing from across the pasture. She said, “He’s saying he is sorry … it’s OK black guy!”

I’m sure I’ll be writing more of these posts in the future.

Snakes for Christmas

A regular feature of my old blog was the inclusion of snake stories. There seem to be no shortages in the world of news accounts of snakes being in the most unlikely and distasteful of places.

I am surely not alone in my aversion to these most dreadful of creatures. I’ll use a separate posting at another time to explain my problem with snakes, but suffice it to simply state here two indisputable truths about slithering serpents – one logical and one theological:

Logical – there is nothing positive about a snake. Don’t tell me there are good snakes! Every last one of them will bite you given the opportunity.

Theological – oh, who could it be that chose a snake to incarnate?… Oh, hmmm, who could it be? Could it be….. SATAN?!?!?

I never understood why getting a lump of coal in one’s stocking was such a bad thing at Christmas … especially now that I heat with a coal stove. No, coal is good! If you really want to zap your kid at Christmas, put a snake in his stocking! Even Jesus thought that this would be THE mega-zappo! “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone. Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” (Matthew 7:9-10). There you have it; case closed!

OK, so here’s the Christmas snake story – A family in North Carolina set up their freshly cut tree in the house, and even decorated it … but then noticed one of the colorful sort of candy cane ornaments was moving! Ugh! I always thought artificial trees were a bit wimpy… but now, I see that they are a sign of wisdom and prudence and safety!

The Word of Randy – new blog

Hi there everyone! And welcome to my newest blog – The Word of Randy.

I know that it sounds a bit … ah … over the top?? A bit too grandiose? Yep, I agree. But it was the best I could come up with. Actually, I had quite a number of other more mundane sounding names about simple concepts of writing and communicating … but all those names were taken!

Actually, I’ve been blogging for quite a few years – first of all on my church web page, and then, as a sort of sports writing blog focused on the Baltimore Orioles.

I am the Lead Pastor of a church in Hagerstown, Maryland called Tri-State Fellowship. The majority of my postings will be written from this perspective and with that in mind. For those who might read this from outside this church family, Tri-State Fellowship in a congregation of about 500-some attenders on a Sunday – affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America denomination.

Some posts will be only sensible by knowing some inside details about the church and its people and programs. Others will be of general interest and value to any from a Christian perspective. And more than a few will be just plain goofy and done for the fun of it.

As I write this in mid December of 2011, I anticipate my church to have a serious web page upgrade in January. This is really overdue and has been in progress for a while. Our current page is now rather ancient looking, but has lots of church information … it can be found at

The truth of the matter is that I’d probably rather write than do just about anything in life. I’ve often said that my blog is a place to put all my extra words (and opinions – of which I’ve many!).

A blog is a conversation … and yes, this format on WordPress makes it possible for you to easily communicate back with me – and I welcome that! Think of the blog as a way we can sit on the front porch of life, watch the world going by, and talk about it as friends.