My wife drives me crazy when we go out to eat. In my world, you order what’s on the menu. Unless what comes from the kitchen is covered with maggots, you’re happy with what they bring you.
For my wife, however, the menu is merely a list of “suggested” items from which she feels free to re-combine or simply ignore and request something else. For example, if we were to go to a BBQ shack, she might look at the menu for a moment and say,
Continue reading “From Biscuits and Gravy to Button Collars”
In this nation, on the year of my birth, Freedom Riders embarked on a mission to test what progress had been made after the 1960 Supreme Court decision mandating racial integration of public schools and businesses. The place for that test was the seat of racial segregation: The South. These Freedom Riders were a diverse group of whites and blacks, college students and laborers, Catholics and Protestants, all convinced the need for equality among all Americans was so great, it was worth sacrificing one’s life for.
Continue reading “The Song of Civil Rights”
Yesterday I made it official. I told my former pastor, a brother I dearly love, that I would be leaving their congregation. I had been an associate pastor at his church for 12 years. During that time I went from being a happy spokesperson for conservative Evangelical Christianity, to an anguished soul wondering how I found myself representing something so at odds with who I was and how I was raised.This wasn’t his fault. This was something I was entirely responsible for.
Continue reading “Before Judgement, Walk a Mile in Their Shoes”
As a kid everything I did was done with my pals. Most was done outdoors: Sledding in the winter, riding bikes in the spring, baseball in the summer, football in the fall. Each of these activities taught me a lot about my childhood buddies. I knew who could be selfish, who was competitive, who was insecure, who had ambition.
Continue reading “Wanna play ball?”
An article appeared a couple of years ago in USA Today that revealed the number of people claiming “no religious affiliation” had almost doubled, going from 8 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008. All signs point to traditional religion being on the decline. I, for one, think this is a very good thing.
Continue reading “Why the desire for a “Christian” nation is wrong”
As an artist, no matter what your medium is, you may struggle with the thought, “I’m just not good enough.” This core insecurity has companioned the most successful people I’ve worked with. I am consistently amazed at this dynamic: The greater the ability, the greater the insecurity.
Continue reading “Not Good Enough”
In Part I, I described a broad guideline for how I perceive the voice of God.
I would mislead you if I did not balance what would appear as a highly individualistic approach to spirituality with the exhortation that the practice of hearing and obeying MUST occur within a spiritual community.
Continue reading “Hearing and Obeying – Part III”
Martin Luther’s great vision was to place the Word of God into the hands of ordinary people. His great distress may have been a people who chose to interpret God’s Word differently than he did.
Continue reading “Hearing and Obeying – Part II”
Disclaimer: I know nothing. I have nothing of myself offer. No special knowledge or wisdom. I was simply created to hear and obey my Master’s voice. My hearing can be faulty. My perceptions prone to interference by my own desires and limited experience. In spite of my grave limitations, I exist as a slave to obey my Master’s voice. If, from that obedience, you glean encouragement, wisdom, or insight into your own life, I am blessed. If not, keep seeking Him. My advice to you: seek God for yourself. You don’t need me, or anyone else to tell you any more or less than what He has already spoken and imparted through His Holy scriptures. You DO need the power of a community – likewise impassioned to hear His voice – to exhort and encourage you to seek Him for yourself. Everything you need exists within His word – both written in the Bible and spoken to you personally through your prayer relationship with Him. Your mission is to point others to God through His son Jesus Christ, not attract others to you.
Continue reading “Hearing and Obeying – Part I”
Nutritionists tell us our diet should be high in fruits and vegetables. Next we should include whole grains and avoid processed foods. Americans – try as we might – do a poor job of denying ourselves anything, let alone the foods we love.
The same may be said for our news intake. Granted, some wisely avoid news and current events. I recently fasted from all news media for 40 days. I found my stress level was reduced and I think I was generally a happier person. When the 40 days were up, I quickly returned to my news junkie ways. Curiosity got the better of me. I have an innate need to know what’s going on – to be “in the loop.”
Continue reading “A Balanced Diet”
Written in 1926 by Sinclair Lewis (not to be confused with C.S. Lewis) this book rocked the religious world and was banned in more than a few cities largely because of the fictional character the book was named for.
Though quite popular and controversial as a book, it was the 1960 film that was among the few movies I remember my grandfather, J.R. Watkins, talking about.
Continue reading “About Elmer Gantry”
Recently, I watched a documentary about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Many documentaries are devoted to the unsolved mysteries of this historic event, but The History Channel series was unique in that it featured very little commentary and used a wealth of seldom viewed clips from media coverage of the time.
Continue reading “Picked Out to be Picked On”
“Love of fame is the last thing even the wise give up” – Publius Cornelius Tacitus (circa 100 A.D.)
This past week, our national media was distracted from the pressing issues of war, terrorism and a flagging economy…to follow a bright shiny balloon darting across the skies in Colorado. A child was reportedly trapped inside.
Continue reading “The Interminable Quest for Fame”
I have a confession.
I watch “Family Guy.” I’m not sure if it helps to explain I watch Family Guy as a student of popular culture, not to be entertained. That does not mean it doesn’t make me laugh out loud – a lot. It does. Shortly thereafter, it often makes me cringe in disgust.
No doubt about it, the program is raunchy, blasphemous, and generally does a good job of offending just about everybody. Perhaps the fact that it is an “equal opportunity” offender is why it’s now one of the most popular programs on television.
Continue reading “A tale of two Seths”