Leaving Salem
December 2011 Archives

Artie Whitfield Bearden. My maternal grandmother was a woman like no other I have known. She died four years ago this weekend, New Year’s Day, 2003. She owned very little; a smattering of furniture; her clothing; a few gardening tools. […]

Sometimes, rather than being the one behind the pulpit, I get a chance  to listen to someone else wax eloquently about God, life, grace and faith. Not long ago, anticipating a treat, I sat in on a talk by a […]

On Saturday, December 17, 1927, the crew of the Navy submarine S-4 was trolling beneath the waters of Cape Cod Bay. They were engaged in routine testing of their vessel. The Coast Guard Cutter Paulding was traveling across the surface […]

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart.” So goes the children’s tune I first learned in a Sunday School class more than thirty years ago. “It’s down in my heart to stay,” the familiar refrain ends. […]

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” So the angels sang on Nativity’s morning. Peace on earth? We haven’t seen much of that. In the course of written human history, there have been […]

Roger Williams arrived in the Massachusetts Bay colony ten years after the first Pilgrims. He was part of that Puritan effort to build a “city on a hill,” to prove to the nations of the world how God’s people were […]

Repent. Now that’s a uniquely Christian word. I’ve heard it most of my life, and to this day it still makes the hair on the back of my neck tingle with fright. See, as a child, I heard the call […]

Most every day I walk my boys to the bus stop. We talk each morning about the day to come. We double-check homework. We might say a prayer for the day. Sometimes we play with a football or kick the […]

Not long ago I returned to my hometown to speak at a former congregation’s “homecoming Sunday.” Homecoming is a combination of gospel music, sweet reunions, blissful nostalgia, and of course the famed “dinner on the grounds.” My family and I […]