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    take one last look

    by  • November 19, 2015 • 11 Comments

    As David Letterman was finishing up his years on late night television, one of his last guests was Tom Waits, who wrote a new song for Dave called “Take One Last Look.” I wept as I listened because Waits captured the mixture of feelings that flow as we move from one chapter of life...

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    incidental contact

    by  • October 27, 2015 • 13 Comments

    Packing up a house is an archaeological expedition through the layers of a life in one place, not only because of the collections of things that have to be sorted and assigned a destination, but also because of the stories that get unearthed. One that came to the surface is a favorite from my...

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    all things are possible

    by  • October 4, 2015 • 2 Comments


    I found it a wonderful example of spiritual synchronicity to discover that the Gospel reading for World Communion Sunday was the story of Jesus’ encounter with the one we call “the rich young ruler.” For those who don’t know the story, a wealthy young man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do...

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    the long road

    by  • October 2, 2015 • 7 Comments

    TND 10/1/15

    Most any aspect of my life demands a soundtrack. I’ve spent the afternoon getting cookie batter ready to bake tonight and the music played right along with me. As I came up to write, I procrastinated a bit by putting together a playlist full of rain songs for us to bake by this evening,...

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    by  • September 30, 2015 • 18 Comments


    Two months. I know. That’s how long it’s been since I last wrote here. I have looked hard at why I have been absent. Some of it was finishing up my next book (which comes out in November); some has been schedule; I think the main reason is as I work to deal with...

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    so I shall sing

    by  • August 2, 2015 • 19 Comments

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    My father and I shared a love of hymns. Actually, it would probably be truer to say I learned to love hymns in large part because of my father. Though he rarely sang outside of the house, he loved the songs of faith. One of his favorites in his later years was Gloria Gaither’s...

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    open spaces

    by  • July 7, 2015 • 7 Comments


    Though it may come as a surprise to many who know me, I am an amazingly average athlete. I appreciate sports as metaphor as much as anything else, which is probably why I am such a big baseball fan: there is lots of room for stories in between pitches. Growing up in Africa, however,...

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    an intentional act

    by  • June 21, 2015 • 8 Comments


    It’s been a while since I have posted here. Most of the reasons are personal: I was finishing a book manuscript and trying to get a cookie business off the ground. Over the past several weeks, there have been several times I thought about writing in response to tragedy around the country, but I...

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    passing the peace

    by  • April 12, 2015 • 8 Comments


    The good people at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church read my book for their church-wide Lenten study and asked me to come preach this evening to close things out. Here is my sermon. ______________________ “Passing the Peace” A Sermon for West Raleigh Presbyterian Church April 12, 2015 John 20:19-31 I have to say my favorite...

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    lenten journal: hope

    by  • April 4, 2015 • 5 Comments

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    vigil the night is almost over and I am searching the shadows for words to describe the dawn that doesn’t just break, but breaks through if stones can be moved, so can hearts; if death can be defeated, so can bitterness and hate; if love is real, then hope is more than things turning...

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    lenten journal: finished

    by  • April 3, 2015 • 5 Comments

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    Today may have been the most beautiful day we have had in Durham this year. The sun was bright but still soft, and there was a gentle breeze that kept it from feeling too warm. Today, being the third of April, marks another month since my father’s death; he died twenty months ago. As...

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    lenten journal: wait

    by  • April 2, 2015 • 3 Comments

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    perhaps we cannot understand— no matter how many holy weeks we live—the way that time must have emptied out into the darkness when they the took him from the garden. we mark the days between with names like good and holy, and know that they are the days between and not the beginning of...

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