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Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics from the song “Streets of Philadelphia” have never been more haunting. “I heard voices of friends vanished and gone … Night has fallen, I’m lyin’ awake. I can feel myself fading away,” he sings. Two of my academic mentors, noted Baptist ethics professors, each passed away on Saturdays – one week apart. […] Read More

Good and Evil. Constructive and destructive. Transformation and degeneration. Has such not always been the interlocking nature with the technology of communication? TV brings into our homes inspiring stories about the better angels among us, alerts us to impending danger (tornadoes and hurricanes), exposes corporate, governmental and ecclesiastical untruthfulness, evaluates facts, makes us laugh, causes […] Read More

Prisons are the largest providers of mental health. Cliff Vaughn and I heard that narrative in Indiana and Tennessee while producing “Through the Door.” We first encountered it when we interviewed Rich Larsen, public information officer at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, Ind. “Prisons make up the biggest mental health facilities in the […] Read More

Sam Tolbert has announced that he is running for the presidency of the National Baptist Convention of America Inc. (NBCA), with the election to be held June 25, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. NBCA is one of the major African-American Baptist denominations, with 1.5 million members. It is often confused with the National Baptist Convention, USA. […] Read More

Albeit much maligned, the Protestant work ethic is preferable to the secular entitlement ethic. If you are curious about the restoration of the Protestant work ethic with the focus on hard work and thrift – and without the theological claim that it is evidence of one’s eternal salvation – keep reading. If not, skip it. […] Read More

When we entered an administrative section of the Bibb County Correctional Facility, we observed an officer and several inmates packing up computers. Inmates were placing black monitors and hard drives in what appeared to be the original shipping containers. Dressed in all white, one inmate used a packing tape dispenser to seal the boxes. Another […] Read More

Syrian refugees present an abundance of humanitarian and economic challenges to Lebanon – all well recognized by the global community. Unrecognized is the challenge they present to Lebanese churches. “The number of registered refugees from Syria is approaching 1 million and could grow to 1.6 million at the end of 2014 if current trends continue,” […] Read More

Voice of Russia radio called for an interview. The call was as unexpected as the topic which interested the radio network. I initially thought the caller wanted to talk about what a Baptist was, since Russia had military operations in Crimea and deepening tensions with Ukraine, where the new interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, was being […] Read More

Christian aspirations for the movie “Son of God” differ strikingly from the Christian expectations for “The Passion of the Christ” 10 years ago. Hopes for the movie today are far more realistic – levelheaded, down-to-earth. Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” opened on 2,000 movie theater screens on Feb. 25, 2004 – Ash Wednesday […] Read More

Christian meetings in 2014 disclose two trends. One is the predictable gathering with the same “old” programs and speakers. The other is passionate, content-rich events with much to celebrate and contribute. Dynamic gatherings attract a crowd and expand the organization’s constituency, building unity around initiatives that strengthen and equip churches to make a measurable difference […] Read More