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Author Mark Johnson

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

There’s been lots of bad news this past week. Hurricane Ike ran ashore over Galveston, Texas, and folks as far away as Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky felt its force. The collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was quickly followed by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the eventual bailout of American International Group (AIG). […] Read More

A little over a year ago, the Missions Committee offered a small way we can impact our community. They sponsored “piggy banks” for each Sunday school class asking for loose change offerings to benefit God’s Pantry. This Lexington-based organization distributes more than 15 million pounds of grocery products each year to Kentucky’s neediest population in […] Read More

Ice, Ice, Maybe

Alongside the summer pursuits of outdoor projects, backyard barbecues and a really good book to read while sitting by a stream, lake or ocean–I have wondered about the fragility and tenuous nature of life. I know it appears strange to sink into a melancholy of morbid thinking while the sun blasts away through the blue […] Read More

Churches in the African-American tradition are familiar with “talking back.” This give-and-take between the pulpit and pew offers immediate and affirming feedback with “that’s right,” “come on now” and “preach it” in response. Every preacher knows the importance of shortening the distance between what is said and what is received. We like knowing we have […] Read More

What do Karen Armstrong, Kathleen Norris and Anne Rice have in common? Actually, they share several similarities. They are all white women born in the 1940s who have been heavily influenced by the Catholic tradition and are prolific and acclaimed English-language authors. Out of these experiences they have written honestly and eloquently about their personal […] Read More

No Free Lunch

I’m sitting at my desk eating a free lunch and trying to catch up on the news from an international food summit currently taking place in Rome. It is being sponsored by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Pope Benedict told delegates that hunger and malnutrition are, “unacceptable in a world where resources and knowledge” […] Read More

Last week, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, found it necessary to “distance” himself from two ultra-conservative pastors: John Hagee of Texas and Rod Parsley of Ohio. Probably, you couldn’t find an American who has not heard of the similar troubles Sen. Barack Obama has had with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. For […] Read More

What is more mystifying–the things that occupy our attention or the things that should occupy our attention? On May 3 Kentuckians invited the world to toast mint juleps, place bets and cheer on horses running around a circle. Half a globe away, meanwhile, the devastating aftermath from another cyclone was just beginning to emerge. The […] Read More

“Trespassers Will Be Baptized” is the creative and whimsical title of a new book written by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock Trende, known more affectionately by us at Central Baptist Church as Emy, daughter of Greg and Sharon Hancock. Emy’s book is a memoir of her experiences growing up throughout Kentucky as a Baptist pastor’s daughter. One […] Read More

For the greater portion of my professional life, I have felt more at home outside of my denomination than within it. I guess it can be expected when you’re from a divided family. During the Baptist divorce of the 1980s, I chose to live with the more egalitarian and nurturing parent, rather than the more […] Read More