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?
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…