When I caught up with him in 1978, we rented a house about a mile from the East Tennessee State University campus in Johnson City. Our grades counted us as "respectable," as we used to say tongue in cheek; our lifestyle raucous and incredibly anti-Christian. But that lifestyle has its spiritual and earthly costs.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul writes, "When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

In 1985, I gave my life to Christ and put the "childish ways behind me." The demons fled. Later, Steve would try to escape his own demons, but they seemed to only dig the talons in more deeply. (Maybe my demons were wimpy compared to his.)

In 1990, with the help of his parents and church, Steve entered a rehabilitation unit in North Carolina. Upon release, he came to stay with me and my family in Knoxville, hoping to find a job in his teaching profession. He stayed only a few days before returning home.

My advice as he left was to escape his "friends" and their scene. He said the rehab people told him the same. Apparently he ignored us all.

At the time of his death, Steve was again in rehabilitation – this time under court orders. He had been jailed as a co-conspirator in a drug buy, but the judge saw in Steve what may of us did and tried to help him.


Steve Burleson at Thunder Valley Dragway
Steve Burleson laughs as I take a photo of him at Thunder Valley Dragway in 1981. In those days, we all jokingly referred to the drag races as "the drugs."
The Buzz Trexler Experience of the Reckless, Radical Love of God


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About Buzz Trexler

Buzz is a married father of two, managing editor for print/online at The (Maryville, TN) Daily Times and pastors Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa, TN. He is a 1981 graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he is a member of the Mass Communications Department Hall of Fame.


Inside you will find a collection of columns penned by Buzz on topics ranging from the death of Rich Mullins, to his battle with Hepatitis C, to asking the question, "Does God have a sense of humor."

CCM Interviews

Buzz talks with those who, as the late Larry Norman would say, "rock the flock." His interviews range from members of Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Jars of Clay and Third Day, to David Crowder and more.


Follow Buzz as he travels with Vine International on two different medical misison trips to Guatemala, as well as one with Volunteer Medical Mission. In 1999, he also went to Estonia with a Volunteers in Mission team.

Blog: Gathering Wool

Blog: The Pastor's Buzz