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Joe Phelps

I’m still a sucker for scenes from Africa amid a drought and famine. It’s what hooked me 35 years ago when a student in a required sociology class presented a report on world hunger. She was merely going through the motions to get a grade, but amazingly, the seeds of her nonchalant oral report found […] Read More

The question I raised last week – why do people like Osama bin Laden hate the United States so much? – has generated considerable response, mostly outside of my congregation, but also some from within as well as within my own family of origin. We should welcome the creation of a dialogue on such an […] Read More

The other day we buried Mary O’Connor, a woman who lived her faith every day by living out the central teaching of the Bible: to love God and neighbor seamlessly. She lived with her eyes wide open and noticed every person. She spanned west and east Louisville, Ky., and all parts between. Her “business card” […] Read More

A columnist for the Courier-Journal, John David Dyche, challenged whether religious persons and organizations should bring their faith-shaped values to political matters and, more specifically, whether doing so is abdicating their responsibility to tend to the poor themselves. His column was titled “A Question for Congress: What Would Jesus Cut?” This is a good and […] Read More

Last week a man walked hesitantly into the church office asking for help to get to Cincinnati. He was just released from University Hospital and showed the plastic ID bracelet on his wrist. He’d been shot a few weeks earlier while working as a bouncer at a local bar. He even lifted his shirt to […] Read More

It is a gift to be reminded that our routine and faithful actions can be a source of God’s healing love breaking forth. After 14 Advents, Sunday’s placing of crosses on our lawn in memory of this year’s violence victims has become as much a part of the season’s rhythm as lighting candles in the […] Read More

“Wow,” I said as I took another bite of Terri’s delectable chocolate birthday cake, “that is so satisfying I could stop right now and have my sweet fix met.” “Why don’t you then?” asked my son. I didn’t look up to determine if the question was a real inquiry or a challenge. I also didn’t […] Read More

“Politics makes a lousy religion,” Nathan warned me amid a casual conversation. He should know. Nathan has spent a great swath of his life and energy yearning for political change that would create a world which, for him and for many of us, is more just and peaceful. He has rallied and contributed. He has […] Read More

Unless you were trapped in a hole somewhere, you know that the eyes of the world were riveted on an obscure copper mine in Chile last week, as miners were rescued from what seemed likely to be their underground grave. Credit the nation of Chile for turning this disaster into this year’s No. 1 feel-good […] Read More

Questions and concerns surround the recent “Honoring All Sacred Texts” gathering at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., that included Jews, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, Sikhs and Baha’i. How does a Christian church, which affirms Jesus as Lord, welcome people of other faiths to a shared experience of readings from our texts and singing together? As […] Read More