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
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?
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….
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
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…
I was in a Justice For Our Neighbors meeting last week (an amazing faith-based organization that is providing counsel and assistance on legal issues to immigrants) when I learned about a young lady named Mercedes Gonzalez. Mercedes was brought to the U.S. when she was 2 and has been a successful newcomer to Nashville. She … Continue reading It’s Time to Help Mercedes
A day or so ago I posted on the other site an expression of concern regarding a conflict between two events on Saturday. What I failed to mention is that the Martha O'Bryan event helps at-risk kids and is certainly worthy of your support. I just received word that they are struggling a bit … Continue reading Martha O’Bryan Center Needs Volunteers This Saturday
Saturday morning I was watching the Twitter stream when the first accounts of the shooting in Arizona began to ring out. The news reports were, as we all know now, all over the map, with various accounts of what happened, and the reported death of Congresswoman Giffords. At the same time, within the first hours … Continue reading The Missing Conversation from Arizona
A little while ago I was watching a press conference with John Brennan, the counter-terrorism guru for the Obama administration, on the latest terrorism scare related to cargo from Yemen. I was struck by how different this press conference seemed from earlier terrorist scares. Here was a person who shared what he was willing to … Continue reading Competence Is Boring…
I was just reading David Brook's latest commentary suggesting changes that President Obama will have to make during the next two years in the wake of what seems to be coming defeats on Tuesday's elections. In the midst of Brooks's suggestions, a phrase jumped out at me that I've been wrestling with for a while, … Continue reading American Decline: The Issue of Individual or Communal Responsibility
I learned this afternoon that Harold Frelix Jr. was killed yesterday in a motorcycle accident on I-24. Harold is a the son of Harold Sr., pastor of the Priest Lake Community Baptist Church, and after a stint in the military, was becoming a leader in the Antioch community. Harold and I were at best acquaintances, … Continue reading Prayer for a Saint Known From Afar
Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess and others scoffed at comments by nationally known televangelist Pat Robertson on his 700 Club program Thursday that Muslims could bribe local officials to expand their influence. "It's entirely possible," Robertson said during the broadcast following a report from his show about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro's plans to build … Continue reading And we listen to Pat . . . why?
There are more stories about other groups that are part of the paranoia and fear that periodically rear their ugly heads among us to demonize the newly arriving stranger, the "other" in our midst, this time Muslims. And what distinguishes each movement is that charismatic leaders incite the worst in us. via Edward Schumacher-Matos - … Continue reading How Soon We Forget
Yes, I should be working on the sermon tonight, but as often happens I have to take a break to exercise the thoughts that burst forth when my mind goes into full gear. Tonight’s revolves around a comment Kay made earlier about the lack of “trick or treaters” in the neighborhood. Several years ago our … Continue reading Trunk or Treat and Being Neighbors
Ed. Note: Last week I was invited to offer the invocation at the opening convocation of the Meharry Medical College, a historic institution that has trained doctors for the African American community since 1876, located in Nashville, TN. This is the prayer that I offered at that event. Creating God, giver of life and sustainer … Continue reading A Prayer for Meharry
The Tennessee State Fair opened last night, and as has become the tradition of the Voorhees household, daughter number two and I traveled down Nolensville Road, braved the muddy field parking lot, and found ourselves in the middle of a world filled with the smells of grilling onions and peppers, cotton candy, with a whiff … Continue reading A “Fair” Review