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Gary Farley

Five days before Christmas 2012, the first inmates arrived at the Aliceville Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) work camp. This is a new federal prison for women in rural west Alabama. The work camp is for trustee-type prisoners who do janitorial, lawn care and food preparation tasks in the facility. The text for the initial worship […] Read More

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the first association of Baptist churches formed in what is now the United States of America. Inspired by a book by Paul Stripling, who outlines 10 Turning Points in the History of Baptist Associations in America, I offer my own list from study of the 172-year-old association I […] Read More

The nurse who greeted us in the emergency room was pleasant and efficient. I could not help noticing, however, the colorful tattoo on her right forearm. Below the tattoo were two additional figures, which looked like Chinese characters. Things were rather quiet and unhurried, so I chanced to ask about the tattoo, which by this […] Read More

Fifty years ago when I got a Kodak pony and started shooting pictures for color slides, it was an expensive, “middle-class” kind of hobby. In the years since the pony was replaced with an Olympus SLR with a telephoto lens and by other technological improvements. But the cost of film always made me very conservative […] Read More

Justice and Mercy

Last week three young friends, former college students with bright hopes for the future, stood in federal court in Birmingham, Ala., to plead guilty to setting a series of church fires last February. They were told to expect a minimum sentence of seven years in federal prison. After that state courts in five counties could […] Read More

To the Father’s House

At the association pastors’ prayer breakfast this morning, Deputy Sheriff/Pastor Eddie reported on the recent theft of the SUV owned by a fellow pastor. The account went like this. Pastor Melvin stopped at a gas station to buy a newspaper and a cup of coffee on his way to his business, a barber shop, in […] Read More

Baptist Obesity

The table was laden with sausage, fried bologna, bacon, from scratch biscuits, flour gravy, cheese grits, scrambled eggs, assorted jellies and jams and slices of cantaloupe. The hot topic of the day was the news of a sociological study by Dr. Ken Ferraro of Purdue University. He had found that Baptist were considerably more likely […] Read More

Drought and Blessing

Recent showers will make it possible for us to mow the yard again this weekend. And the hayfield out by the county hospital has been cut for the second crop of hay this summer. Usually, a third cutting has already been bailed and put in the barn. It will not produce at its normal level. […] Read More

The marquee sign at Dancy First Baptist Church read this past Sunday, “God has blessed our church.” Since early February the sign had read, “Forgive them. They know not what they do.” More than 250 persons gathered at the church to worship and celebrate the rededication of this smaller rural church. The congregation Sunday was […] Read More

The yellows, blues, whites, pinks and purples of the wild flowers along the roads and byways of our county have been augmented this spring by hundreds of political signs entreating us to vote for certain of our neighbors and friends seeking public office. It is gratifying to see that so many good folks are willing […] Read More