• lenten journal: liberal

    by  • February 25, 2015 • 8 Comments

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    Liberal. It’s a word that most certainly elicits a response. In the media, it’s a lightning rod. In the dictionary, it means generous and open-minded. I’ve been thinking about the word for a couple of days now after having read an article about a professor at my alma mater who was calling for those...

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    lenten journal: lament

    by  • February 24, 2015 • 3 Comments

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    The last two Sundays I have had the privilege of playing music in church with my friend Terry, who is one of the best harmonica players I have ever heard. Soon after we moved to Durham I was asked to sing at the sixtieth birthday party of one of our church members. I sang...

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    lenten journal: linger

    by  • February 23, 2015 • 8 Comments

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    When I sent out the call for words that might be a part of my Lenten Lexicon, my friend Beth sent the word “linger.” I love the word. The online dictionary gave three definitions: stay in a place longer than necessary; spend a long time over (something); 
be slow to disappear or die. Since...

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    lenten journal: blessing

    by  • February 22, 2015 • 4 Comments

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    I preached today at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church. My friend Lori Pistor is the Interim Pastor there. Those good people are reading my book for Lent and invited me to help kick things off. It was a wonderful day. Here’s what I had to say. “Blessed From the Beginning” A Sermon for West Raleigh...

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    lenten journal: why

    by  • February 21, 2015 • 1 Comment

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    In my days years ago as a hospital chaplain, I spent a lot of time working around the word why. In the context of illness and terminal diagnoses, the word was neither helpful nor hopeful. Why did I get cancer? Why is my father dead? Any answer comes up lacking because it seems to...

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    lenten journal: jazz

    by  • February 20, 2015 • 7 Comments

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    I can’t claim to know very much about jazz. I did see Miles Davis perform once—and he played the entire show without ever speaking to the audience. He did speak on other occasions and said things like this: Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there. Sometimes you have to play a long time...

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    lenten journal: belonging

    by  • February 19, 2015 • 7 Comments

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    We gathered around our table tonight for another Thursday Night Dinner, which means we sat long after the food was finished to talk and tell stories. Somehow the conversation wound its way to one of the folks asking about those Christian sects that identified as “snake handlers.” His question and the answers that came...

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    ash wednesday: dust

    by  • February 18, 2015 • 6 Comments

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    When I was in seminary, I pastored Pecan Grove Baptist Church, which was outside of Gatesville, Texas. To be more specific, the little white church sat next to a creek off of FM 107 between Oglesby and Mound. Now you know right where it was, or is—it’s still there. When I went drove down...

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    ways of seeing

    by  • February 17, 2015 • 11 Comments


    The weeks have slipped by since I last wrote. My silence has not been for lack of ideas. Sometimes, in the midst of the shouting from both screen and page over the various crises that have come and gone, I have not felt the need to add my voice. The main reason, however, is...

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    living invitations

    by  • January 18, 2015 • 5 Comments


    “Living Invitations” A Sermon for Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Durham NC John 1:43-51 January 18, 2015 When I was a kid I thought Jesus was magic. I’m not talking about the miracles. Somehow those made sense in their own way. The Messiah ought to be able to do miracles. I mean the super...

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