A Hand-Me-Down Faith

One of the benefits of being an older sibling is that I was always on the giving side of the hand-me-down equation. My brother, who’s about three and a half years younger than I am, was the one who was always on the receiving end. And my mother, being the daughter of a farmer whose […]

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Location, Location and Location

As a fan of social media in general, I’ve also talked about how there is a problem with the way we often present idealized personas of ourselves, carefully avoiding the messy bits of our lives and making our lives look much more seamless and together than they really are. So I was struck the other […]

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That Can’t Be Right!

“Well, that’s not right.” That’s what one of my high school friends used to always say as an understated, deadpan response to anything that was clearly very wrong: a particularly gruesome death in an action movie; finding something in his food that shouldn’t be there; one time after swerving to go around a car that […]

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On Second Thought

One of the things I usually do in premarital counseling for couples is to give each person a personality inventory to complete, that is based on the classic Myers-Briggs system. If you’re not familiar with it, the Myers-Briggs inventory operates on the theory that there are four basic spectrums in everyone’s personality, and it examines […]

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Faith with Open Eyes

Recently, I was getting breakfast at a diner, and was sitting next to a table where a woman was flipping through the giant diner menu, ignoring suggestions from her daughter and granddaughter who were sitting with her. When the waitress swooped in to take her order, the woman looked up and said: “Okay, this is […]

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When Religion Doesn’t Hold Water

“Do you think you know your destiny?” Those are the kind of questions you get when you hang around Buddhist monks on the top of a 1000 year-old temple that is part of the Angkor Wat temple complex, a sort of “lost city” in the middle of the Cambodian jungle. It was just before sunset, […]

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Conflict of Interests

As many of you know, I’ve moved around a lot in my life as both a child and an adult: I was born in Knoxville, TN and spent my early years in different places in the South, but I spent all my elementary school years in the Lehigh Valley before moving back South to Atlanta. […]

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Will This Be On the Test?

When I was in college, I had the fortune to study with Dr. Stirling, a living legend in the English Department. He was the kind of teacher who drew you in so completely that you were shocked when the class was over because it felt like you’d only started a moment earlier. I remember one […]

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The End of Wisdom

As a child, my brother and I were obsessed with the original trilogy of the Star Wars movies. We would watch them over and over again. We would play with the action figures, we’d read the books, we’d dress up like the characters and act out scenes, every day after school. I remember one time […]

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Out of Bounds

If Jesus’ disciples had known what a horror movie is, they would have thought they were living in one in our New Testament lesson today. It opens the way most horror movies do: it’s clear that this is not a place that the disciples want to be, but they haven’t realized it yet.  They think […]

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