Leaving Salem
October 2011 Archives

One Wednesday afternoon my twin sister and I were ripping up terra firma in my grandmother’s fallow garden. We were only five-years-old, just months before beginning kindergarten. My sister, in her clod-crushing zeal, miscalculated the distance between herself and me. […]

Hilda is my dear friend and an example in perseverance and grace. Thanks to Sean Dietrich for this video. Hilda  

“You know Dad, you do a lot of good work in the world, but you need to chill out a little.” So said my eight-year-old son as I clicked the “off” button on my cell phone. He and I were […]

When I was a bit younger and a bit braver, a group of friends and I shot the rapids on the Ocoee River in southeast Tennessee. The Ocoee, which I think is the Cherokee word for “terrified rafter” is a […]

On this day in history, October 18, 1970, the lives of Roy and Rita McBrayer changed forever. Roy, a shy boy and a month shy of his twenty-second year, and Rita, even younger, were two redneck kids weaving their way […]

Do you know the three most frightening words in the English language? “Some assembly required.” You order something online; a toy or a bicycle for your children. Or you go to a big box store to get a grill or […]

Sometimes everything comes together perfectly: In life, at home, even in church. I had one of those perfect Sunday mornings not long ago. The weather was warm and pleasant. The sky was clear. It was one of those days in […]

I grew up with a lot of religious rules. To violate these rules was to subject oneself to the violence of God. You may be familiar with these rules. No drinking, no smoking, no dancing, no mixed-bathing (a prospect that […]

Churches are peculiar places. I have had the opportunity to serve a few of them. Some of my pastoral experiences have been awesome and rewarding – baptisms, weddings, the transformation of individuals and families. Some other experiences have been about […]

“Be sure your sins will find you out.” That’s what the Good Book says. My mama said it a lot too. In fact, my mother once arranged for the public display of this proverb. I’m just glad I wasn’t on […]