The Message about Racism that I Took from a Movie You Probably Didn’t See

Sometime in late 2015, I began to hear a buzz about a Civil War movie that was to come out, starring Matthew McConaughey. It was to be called, Free State of Jones–unfortunately, way too few people saw the film, it underperformed at the box office. The more I read about the movie, based upon a true story (and a book by Victoria Bynum), the more excited I became to see it. I was surprised that I had never heard of the… Read more

Hands of Time

They say the eyes are the widow to the soul. Perhaps that’s true. But I think the hands have a great deal to tell us too. I’ve always loved to look at and study the hands of older people. In fact, when I reflect upon dearly departed loved ones in my life, especially my grandparents,  the first physical feature that comes to mind is not their eyes, but their hands. All my grandparents have gone on to their eternal rewards…. Read more

Trump’s Confederate Monument Tweets are Just Alt Right Dog Whistles

President Trump has been busy on Twitter lately. He is suddenly passionate about preserving our national heritage and is lamenting the removal of Confederate monuments in cities around the country. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken… Read more

Why I Do What I Do Even When I Don’t Want to Do It–Confessions of a Reluctant Political Blogger

If you’d have told me two years ago that I’d have signed a contract to write for Patheos’ Politics Blue channel, I’d have laughed out loud. I never thought I’d be here–for so many reasons. There was always a writer in me, scratching to get out. When I was in my teens, that’s what I thought I might do. I wanted to be the next Dave Barry, Garrison Keillor, or Calvin Trillin. But I didn’t have the gumption or the… Read more

Taking on the Sticky Topic of Removing Confederate Monuments.

  The issue on the surface of the terrible events in Charlottesville, Virginia is nothing new. The question of whether or not to take down Confederate monuments has been causing hot debate for long time. I wrote about this the last time it flared up, in New Orleans. This is a re-post of that article, which looks at the many complex layers of perspectives surrounding the seemingly simple question, should we take down Confederate monuments.  Recently, New Orleans has been… Read more

Charlottesville, Kaepernick, and the Ongoing Battle for the Constitution

As I watch our nation continue to struggle with our racial problems, the biggest part of me does so from an emotional, human level. But, always, a part of me is also analyzing the events from my more detached perch as a teacher and student of history. I tend to see the world in the bigger picture and I tend to naturally look for patterns and connections. The terrible recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia have sent my mind to spinning,… Read more

Dear Consevative Christian Friends, Can We Talk About Charlottesville?

Dear Conservative Christian Friends, We need to talk about Charlottesville, Virginia. You need to hear what I have to say, even though I highly doubt you’ll agree with me, you need to hear it. Whether I am right or wrong, you need to know that I’m not the only one who thinks these things. It won’t be easy or pleasant for me to write these words and I’m sure it won’t be comfortable for you to read them. Let me start… Read more

Hitching Our Wagons to Madmen–A Prayer for Sanity

…for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 KJV I am tired. I am bewildered. I am angry. We have hitched our wagons to madmen and it is getting more frightening by the moment. I am tired of it all–if I were a single man, that would be one thing–but I am a family man, the father of a 16 year old… Read more

The Wood Comes Full Circle and the Love Flows Through

My life began among the pines and hemlocks on a steep mountainside in southeastern Kentucky. Today they call that area the Big South Fork, back when I was born, in the 19th century it was mostly just wilderness. I grew up there on that mountain. I lived in peace, growing to maturity, straight and tall. Then, sometime around the turn of the 20th Century, I began to hear rumblings down in the valley. A man named Justice Stearns had moved… Read more

What If It Didn’t Matter?

“If a boy tells his parents he is attracted to another boy, he should be grounded immediately. Corporal punishment should be administered. If he is in public school, he should be pulled out immediately and homeschooled. The parents should receive counseling and seek out conversion therapy for the child. If he is in the youth group at church, he should be removed from the group. All of this until the child repents and turns from his rebellious ways. If he… Read more