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Author Joe Phelps

No one likes to be conned. It’s enough to make you angry when it happens to you. However, gifts, once given, are no longer ours to worry over. Gifts given in love retain the love, even if the recipient attempts to discard it. […] Read More

The routine of Monday’s workday was blown apart by incoming reports of bombs exploding at the finish line of the iconic Boston Marathon. Someone’s, or some group’s, hatred of the way life’s race is being run motivated them to detonate hidden death-devices designed to do maximum carnage to the bodies of indiscriminate children and adults, […] Read More

Amid all the game playing in Washington and in Frankfort, Ky., perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from Kentucky’s other religion: basketball. Recently, the Courier-Journal sports section questioned whether University of Louisville center Gorgui Dieng is overly fatigued from playing too many minutes. Writer Tim Sullivan said Dieng’s “instincts are invariably selfless.” Quoting […] Read More

We left the Hotel Oujda at 6:30 a.m. to catch the train to Fez. It was a relief to check out of the 1970s-looking hotel that could qualify as shabby-chic if the owners had been going for that look intentionally. There are many fine hotels in Morocco. This wasn’t one of them. What it lacked […] Read More

“Religion is a fairytale,” someone scribbled on a wall in pink sidewalk chalk outside Carmichael’s Bookstore on Bardstown Road. A few days later someone smudged out the word “Religion.” It wasn’t me. Even if I am a company man, I’m also a Baptist of the Roger Williams variety. Williams believed that “the most Paganish, Jewish, […] Read More

“I had the greatest thing happen today,” Terri said during supper. “You got a big raise?” I asked. “Better.” My mind went to another great thing, but if that happened at work I doubt she’d come home telling me about it. “Something more like a God thing,” she said. Oh. Well, OK. In my defense, […] Read More

I watched recently as a team of workers at a fast-food store coordinated their efforts to create my meal just as ordered. They worked intensely and quickly, standing above hot and dangerous stoves as they’d been doing all afternoon long. It was fascinating, really, to watch the choreography of food production. I chatted with the […] Read More

Editor’s note: The remarks below were given by Joe Phelps at an Occupy Louisville (Kentucky) interfaith rally on Sunday, Nov. 12. Phelps is pastor of Louisville’s Highland Baptist Church. The views expressed by me today do not officially represent those of the congregation I serve, though I believe they are in concert with many of […] Read More

Facebook postings these days are littered with children posing before their first day of school. Elementary school kids have big smiles, backpacks and themed lunch boxes. Those in the middle-school range are working hard not to look like they’re working hard at being cool. The high schoolers’ expressions reveal a restrained impatience at this embarrassing […] Read More

I’m still a sucker for scenes from Africa amid a drought and famine. It’s what hooked me 35 years ago when a student in a required sociology class presented a report on world hunger. She was merely going through the motions to get a grade, but amazingly, the seeds of her nonchalant oral report found […] Read More