Yesterday, as I was driving home from a quick visit to Missouri, my phone began buzzing as news reports came in about another school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The story was far too familiar -- a young man entered the school with a semi-automatic rifle and took the life of (as of today) 18 children … Continue reading We have to do better…
Senate Bill 1610 was written to make homeless camping on ALL public property a felony offense. It is likely that if passed this bill will be challenged in the courts as the Supreme Court has previously ruled that being homeless is not a crime. Here is my testimony before the TN Senate Judiciary Committee: Thank … Continue reading Testimony to Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee on SB1610
It’s a familiar story. Persons without homes in Nashville try to figure out a safe space to stay while they figure out a means to move into stable housing. While the existing sheltering system is available for some, there are others who can’t work within that system. Some of these folks are in couples (who … Continue reading Something has to change…
Dear Mayor Cooper, I want to begin by thanking you for the work that you and other city leaders are trying to do to balance the pressure between keeping the people of Nashville safe from the COVID outbreak, and the call to keep businesses open so that our citizens are fully employed and able to … Continue reading An Open Letter to the Mayor on Bar Closures
A couple of days ago, I got a message from my friend Joseph. "Have you signed the petition on permitless carry?" he asked me. I had no clue what he was talking about. Now I will fully admit that gun control laws are not at the top of my priority list for advocacy. While I … Continue reading The TN Legislature up to its normal ways
6/2/2020 TO: Mayor John Cooper and the Members of the Metro Council Dear friends, Like many of us, I have been watching the financial situation of our Metro Nashville government closely in the glare of reports regarding our inability to fund essential services. As I’ve known for several years, our city was spending funds that … Continue reading An Open Letter on the Nashville budget
Last night, we saw the president of the United States stroll across a public park after having both police and military use tear gas and rubber bullets to clear that park of peaceful protestors. There was a curfew at 7 p.m. and it's likely that many in the crowd would have left on their own, … Continue reading Who or what do you worship?
As we all know, one of the requirements for opening up society is that all should be wearing masks -- not as personal protection for ourselves but rather to protect others from our germs. And, this past Sunday my sermon was about my own love/hate relationship with the mask that I've been wearing, but that … Continue reading What’s Up With Da Masks?
The birds and the deer flit and glidethrough the picture window of my morning. As the steam rises from the cup,and the songs of praise resound in my ears,the cardinals and wrens race from tree to feederoffering their own songs of praise for the glory of the morning. The deer, calm and serene, graze along … Continue reading Morning in Missouri
I first met Willie not long after I started working here in Madison. The volunteer receptionist said there was a man at the door who seemed to be in bad shape. I went into the lobby where we meet with folks in need to find a man who was standing behind a walker, barely holding … Continue reading On the third day….
I was asked to offer the opening prayer for the March 25, 2019 gathering of the Tennessee General Assembly by Representative Bill Beck, who represents the district where both my home and church are located. Gracious God, Creator of all things, whose steadfast love is everlasting, we gather tonight as a people … Continue reading A Prayer for the Tennessee General Assembly
I know that everyone's focus is on the Hooey in St. Louey this weekend, but honestly, for most of us, the day to day demands of ministry in the local church easily push those concerns to the back of our minds. Yes, there are big theological and political issues worthy of consideration, but for the … Continue reading Classes that should be taught in seminaries
This past Thursday night (January 17, 2019) I sat before a sub-committee of the Metro Nashville Council to be interviewed as a part of the discernment process for election to membership of our new Community Oversight Board, which will work with our police to make sure all are treated equally and with respect. We were … Continue reading Community Oversight Board Interviews
(c) Can Stock Photo / HPW We sat around the table one night, the appointed leaders of the congregation that I served at the time, considering our future. Attendance had dropped from its high point in the 1950’s and while the rate of decline had flattened, we were faced with a church that was rapidly … Continue reading Do we really care about the future?
My friend Wes Magruder, pastor of the Kessler Park UMC in Dallas, shared some thoughts this week about how progressive United Methodist congregations might move forward in relation to the "Way Forward" decisions in the UMC. His thoughts were generally positive and worthy of thinking about, but one phrase in the post jumped out at … Continue reading The Case for Connectionalism
On April 4, 1968, I was probably watching The Flying Nun when the newscaster interrupted and told of Dr. King's death. I was alone in our apartment as my mom had run downstairs to visit with a friend, and I remember the sense of fear and foreboding that came with that frantic announcement. That night, … Continue reading Fifty Years Later
God of all people, male and female, old and young, from all nations, races, and backgrounds, we come to you as a city that is broken. Trust has been eroded; lives have been disrupted; and we find ourselves wondering where we go from here. We ask that today represents a new day, a new season … Continue reading A Prayer for Nashville
The city of Nashville has a long legacy of city leaders gathering in back rooms to determine the future of their neighbors. From the Watauga Club downtown to the West Nashville Mafia gathered in a booth at Wendell Smiths to the sheriff and his friends talking in the lounge of an East Nashville funeral home, … Continue reading The Room Where It Happens
I would see her walking down the street, using a red wheelchair as a walker . . . a pushcart filled with everything she owned. I would learn her name was Janice, and she'd been on the streets for a while. She was an elderly African American woman, who was full of herself. One day … Continue reading Dying in the streets….
Jerrell "Jerry" Voorhees passed on March 1, 2017 from complications of Alzheimer's/Dementia. For many years Jerry was a fixture in the D.C. jazz scene, both listening and playing his beloved vibraphones with the Annapolis Jazz Trio. Jerry also spent a season in Nashville, playing regularly at the Sunday jams at Windows on the Cumberland, and performing … Continue reading A Celebration of the Life of Jerry Voorhees