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Author Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is senior pastor of Central Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

One of my ministerial friends is on a “silent retreat.” At face value, it sounds pretty attractive, with no looming distractions, no interruptions and no pressing deadlines.   The needed rest it promises is particularly appealing for those, like me, who struggle to keep the principle of the Sabbath while constantly being stretched thin with […] Read More

Torture is not only cruel. It is also ineffective and unreliable, according to a leading neuroscientist studying the effects of the brain under conditions of extreme, repeated and prolonged stress.   Writing in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science, Shane O’Mara of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in Dublin points to studies showing that […] Read More

Often, a spiritual aspiration is defined as “living fully in the present.”   Buddhism embraces the idea of impermanence, or anicca, where all things exist through a unique combination of factors with no single moment ever being exactly the same as it constantly falls away into another totally new reality. The magnificent present is all […] Read More

As ministers, we are the arbitrators of the gospel, professional communicators of the Good News of God’s love and favor proclaimed in the teachings and life-example of Jesus of Nazareth.   We are a people of the Book, affirming the central role of the Bible as the foundation of Jesus’ Jewish heritage and the authoritative […] Read More

One normal yellow bus with green-and-white trim, all scrubbed and sparkling, sits parked in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.   Nearby are a collection of more than 125 notable vehicles of the 20th century in America, including a string of presidential limousines: Theodore Roosevelt’s horse-drawn brougham, the Lincoln Continental John F. Kennedy was […] Read More

Early on a Sunday morning, while the sun was new in the sky and shadows were fast disappearing, I noticed a mysterious shape on the far side of the cross atop our church’s steeple.   As I exited my car and began walking across the parking lot, the dark mass took definition. Perched there, way […] Read More

It’s the last thing any middle-aged Baptist preacher with barely enough rhythm to clip his own toenails without minor injury wants to face.   But after a special appearance on the Today Show and hits on YouTube now spiking near 9 million views, the familiar JK Wedding Entrance Dance has reached the phenomenal status of […] Read More

O God, who brings us into perfect relation with ourselves and our world through your loving presence. We pause at this midsummer’s moment to reflect upon the joy and responsibility of living in this land of freedom and opportunity. We are thankful for our country and the way we have honored individual liberty, even when […] Read More

I am praying for the people of Iran. Not because I consider them my enemies and am commanded to do so by my Lord. Nor because I believe I am better than they are and feel motivated by a condescending altruism. I am praying for them for the most basic of all reasons: They stand […] Read More

Over the years, the America of my experience has become more and more open, to the point where very little seems shocking. We have noticed it in almost every book, magazine, TV show, movie and especially in news stories. All of these, ever seeking to gain more attention, continue to ratchet up the level of […] Read More