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
Dear President Elect Trump, The day has finally come and in just a few hours you will be standing on the steps of the Capitol, making your pledge to defend the Constitution of the United States. At that moment, a transition happens – from one president to another, from one vision of the nation to … Continue reading An Open Letter to Donald Trump
Back in May of 2013, I jumped into a partnership with a couple of good friends to take on the task of continuing hundreds of years of tradition through The United Methodist Reporter. At the time we hoped that we could develop a business model that would allow for the addition of some part-time staff, … Continue reading The end of a season…
God of the ages, I don't want to pray this prayer tonight. It's not that I don't want to be with you. I need to hear your voice. I need your comfort. I need to ask "Why?" And I have no problem praying for the wounded, the grieving, and all of us who have been … Continue reading The prayer I don’t want to offer…
Everyday as I'm scrolling through my Facebook feed I see all sorts of shared posts about "The 10 Things The Church Needs to do to Survive" or "8 Ways That the Church is Missing the Mark" or countless other stories in the same ilk. I'm not surprised, and in fact I've been as guilty as anyone … Continue reading It’s Time to Quit Talking About the Church
Father Abraham had many sons Had many sons had Father Abraham I am one of them And so are you So let's just praise the Lord Abraham, the father of three of the major streams of faith in the world, is known in scholarly circles as a patriarch. He was, as the dictionary defines that … Continue reading A Eulogy for Daddy Joe
I think most folks that follow me in any way know that this past July I assumed a new appointment as the lead pastor of a medium size church here in Nashville. In the course of orienting myself to the congregation (as well as letting folks get to know be better) I held 8 meetings … Continue reading And now for a quick announcement….
Last night, as is my usual practice, I headed over to the local "8:05 Group" of Alcoholic Anonymous for my weekly does of 12 Step education. For the record, just in case anyone is wondering, I don't have the disease of alcoholism. I understand that God has allowed me the ability to have a beer … Continue reading The AA Model of Church
I confess that one of the things that has always eluded me is how Mother's Day has become one of the high holy days in the life of the American church. Don't get me wrong . . . I like mothers as much as the next guy. For sure, this year's Mother's Day was a … Continue reading Who are the real mothers?