John Whitworth

A fine English poet, John Whitworth, has passed away. I don’t know enough superlatives, so here’s John’s “Morocco Bound.” John Passed in April, but here in mid-summer he’s been on my mind. (The last line of the chorus rightly belongs to Bing Crosby in ‘The Road to Morocco’). We’re weirdy bards, we’re beardy bards, fine […]

Unbusy, Subversive, Apocalyptic

When I observe the way the vocation of pastor is lived out in America and listen to the tone and context in which the word ‘pastor’ is spoken, I realize that what I hear in the word and what others hear is very different. In general usage, the noun is weak, defined by parody and […]

Hurricane Season

When the hurricanes come, and they will come, my wife and I are not fleeing for higher ground. May the raging winds have a change of heart and grow gentle as kittens when they touch our shores. And may the storm surges emerge as trickles to keep our flora and fauna green.

On Church Visions

I came across Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic book Life Together. I’m not sure what motivated me to pick it up. Maybe it was its deceptively small size. Whatever my reason for starting the book, I was entirely unprepared for four words on page 27: “God hates visionary dreaming.” Bonhoeffer continued, It makes the dreamer proud and […]

Long Shot

My wife and I recently saw Long Shot, or, we saw a portion of it. It is billed a romantic comedy with Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron. Naturally, when I spotted the words “romantic comedy,” I thought Frank Capra, or Silver Linings Playbook or any of Hugh Grant’s recent offerings. What we found was a […]

Homestead

After the evening meal the family gathered in the living room. For entertainment, there was a book. Perhaps Dad read or Mom or one of the older children. The book may have been a novel, Cooper or Dickens or Alcott. Or it may have been fairy tales the little ones read to show the big […]

There was a Place

I regret the way unique place has been gradually nudged out of our lives. A place used to have rickety wood porches, trees to swing tires in, toothless guides that gave precise directions, kudzu cathedrals, barefoot valedictorians who threw paper routes, and lakeside watermelon feasts whose aftermath drew a squall of fat flies. A place […]

Madman

Passed a man today who stood on a street corner punching the change-the-light button over and over. Wild-eyed, he danced and waved his hands, shook his derriere and giggled as he punched and punched. Finally, he crossed the street, a busy, fast paced intersection; but when he reached the other side, he turned around and […]

Buster Scruggs

The Coen Brothers Netflix Ballad of Buster Scruggs is worth your time. Six morality tales, some absurd,some Aesop or La Fontaine, some violent and heart-breaking. Tim Blake Nelson revisits his O Brother Where Art Thou voice as the supernaturally accurate gunfighter Buster Scruggs. Always honorable, always polite, he’s gunned down by  a man who doesn’t […]

Encounter

I passed by him regularly. Sitting in front of the coffee shop, thin, bad teeth, broken down, weepy-eyed. I never saw food or drink on his table. He only wanted a place to sit and rest, I suspect. Get out of the heat. One day I stopped and handed him some money. I didn’t say […]