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Ircel Harrison

The latest entry in the “Star Wars” canon, “The Last Jedi,” is an entertaining visual treat. Although it basically follows the structure of “The Empire Strikes Back,” it gives us as fans a solid second act in this new trilogy. I don’t intend to provide a traditional film review, but rather to reflect on a […] Read More

The story of American railroads in the 19th century is a focal point in Bob Johansen’s book, “The New Leadership Literacies.” Telegraph companies came to the railroad owners – ambitious people we often refer to as “robber barons” – and asked if they could string telegraph wires along the tracks. The railroad people thought this […] Read More

The messengers from First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Tennessee, will not be seated at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention because they have called a woman as “senior pastor.” According to the organization’s constitution and bylaws, this means that First Baptist is no longer a “cooperating church” although they still send funds to […] Read More


Thurgood Marshall was a civil rights icon. As founder of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, he argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and won all but three. The most notable may have been Brown v. Board of Education, which threw out the “separate but equal” approach to public education. In 1967, […] Read More

Early in the history of the Christian church, believers were divided into two groups – the clergy and the laity. Clergy were those called to a full-time Christian vocation. Laity were the men and women who pursued secular vocations and supported the ministry of the clergy. Of course, these categories were not always hard and […] Read More

Perhaps you are blessed to be part of a congregation that has a full-time professional staff. Your pastor and most of the associate pastors are seminary educated. The staff members provide leadership and train lay leaders in specialized areas of ministry such as Christian formation, worship, youth, children and preschool, and senior adults. This is […] Read More

‘Cars 3’

The good news first: “Cars 3,” the third Pixar movie about racing cars, is much more like the original film (2006) than the 2011 sequel that jumped the track. The new animated film has the heart, fun and action of the original film while allowing the hero to evolve and introducing interesting new characters. In […] Read More

“Wonder Woman” is the real deal. With the relatively unknown Gal Gadot in the title role, and Patty Jenkins as director, DC Comics has finally produced a superhero movie with both action and heart. If you are expecting a feminist polemic, you will be surprised. This is a story about humanity, our virtues and sins, […] Read More

Water is essential to the life of a fish, but the fish is totally unaware of the presence of water until it is no longer there. The same is true of us and the culture in which we live. When Christians do discuss culture, we tend to identify some negative aspects of our cultural environment […] Read More

The writer of Ecclesiastes observed, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). I will not attempt to comment on the second half of this statement, but the first part is certainly true. We live in a time when the production of all types of media grows […] Read More