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Leaving Salem

Leaving Salem

Faith Archives

Vow-Keeping Faith

posted by ronniemcbrayer

When the ancients spoke of faith, they used a word that described a signature on a contract or a title deed. Faith was the oath that lay beneath such a document. A buyer may not have yet taken full possession […]

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Doubt Enough for Me

posted by ronniemcbrayer

There is an old hymn that goes, “There’s room at the cross for you. Though millions have come, there’s still room for one. Yes, there’s room at the cross for you.” I have sung it many times. The words apply […]

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“You Can’t Just Sit There”

posted by ronniemcbrayer

Larry Walters was a thirty-three-year-old truck driver living inLong Beach,California. On a warm July morning he visited his local army surplus store and purchased for himself 42 huge weather balloons. With the help of some friends, he filled those balloons […]

More Than Just Stories

posted by ronniemcbrayer

“I don’t read that article by Ronnie McBrayer,” I heard a critic say not long ago; a critic who did not know I was within earshot. “He thinks the Bible is just a bunch of stories.” Just a bunch of […]

Too Good to be True

posted by ronniemcbrayer

He is six to fifteen feet tall. He weighs in excess of five hundred pounds. He is covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. He is reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell. The people of Australia call him […]

Letting Go…

posted by ronniemcbrayer

The late devotional writer and Catholic priest Henri Nouwen compared the leap of faith we must make to follow Christ to the courage of a trapeze artist. This was something Nouwen knew about first hand. Nouwen traveled with the “Flying […]

Getting to the Bottom of It

posted by ronniemcbrayer

Years ago my sister traveled toEastern Europe,Russia, and theUkraineon a mission trip. She worked among the indigenous Christians on a number of worthy projects. And when her time ran up, she returned home with a heart full of joy, a […]

Draw Near

posted by ronniemcbrayer

An old man and an old woman, who had been married for many years, were driving to church one Sunday morning. They fell in behind another car being driven by a young man. He was of college age or younger. […]

God is in the Goulash

posted by ronniemcbrayer

“Do you believe that God is in total control of this world?” Someone asked me that question the other day. We had been discussing the difficulties of life and the trajectory our planet so dishearteningly seems to be headed. Being […]

Faith Is More Than “What’s-In-It-For-Me?”

posted by ronniemcbrayer

“Christians ought to be the happiest people in the world!” I’ve heard this line used more than a few times in my life. The happiness experts would like nothing more than to slather the faces of the faithful with smiles […]

Why Be Afraid of the Truth?

posted by ronniemcbrayer

Maybe Buddhists and Hindus are just as stubborn as Christians, but I don’t think so. We Christians are about as inflexible as they come. Of course many are all too happy with this assessment, equating rigidity with holiness. I’m just […]

“This Is All We Can Do”

posted by ronniemcbrayer

In his book, The Fall of Fortresses, Elmer Bendiner describes a bombing run over the German city of Kassel during World War Two. His B-17 Bomber was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual. Routinely, if […]

Resilience

posted by ronniemcbrayer

The Old Testament character, Joseph, endured enough injustice to fill multiple lifetimes. Betrayed by his family, sold into slavery, falsely accused of sexual assault, unfairly abandoned in a Middle Eastern prison: It was enough to break the hardiest of souls. […]

Crashing Faith, Crashing Computers

posted by ronniemcbrayer

Maybe faith is a lot like your personal computer. Is that a stretch? Well, think about it. No one really thinks about their computer until it stops working. Faith isn’t much different. I spent some time once with a young […]

“I Just Did What I Could…”

posted by ronniemcbrayer

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. […]

Fear, Flights, and Faith

posted by ronniemcbrayer

A parishioner walked up to me after a recent Sunday meeting and gushed, “I wish I had half as much faith as you!” I laughed in his face. Quickly I tried to explain that while I may serve as a […]

“Sweat It Not…Dude”

posted by ronniemcbrayer

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 […]

Some Assembly Required

posted by ronniemcbrayer

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 […]

“Maybe I Outgrew the Church…”

posted by ronniemcbrayer

It was a winter day as I waited beneath the funeral canopy. Still, drops of perspiration collected in the small of my back as my dark suit and nerves conspired to suffocate me in spite of the cold weather. Funerals, […]

A Drug Problem

posted by ronniemcbrayer

There I sat, stranded in a continuing education conference for a week. The lectures made me sleepy. The content bored me to tears. The schedule, unrelenting, did not allow for more than fifteen minutes of freedom at a time. Oh, […]

I Remember

posted by ronniemcbrayer

I was in the hardware store when I first heard the news, though I did not know what I was hearing. As the cashier tallied my purchase, I overheard a reporter on the store’s radio make the peculiar announcement that […]

Fear, Fear, Everywhere

posted by ronniemcbrayer

My son Blayze has a frightful disease: Arachibutyrophobia. Though he didn’t know the technical name of the ailment, he properly diagnosed his case. Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Seriously. I understand […]

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An Apple Pie Could Change the World...Or at Least Change Yours
When my wife’s boss first moved to our small town it was more than a little culture shock. Raised on the slick windy streets ofChicago, he had mastered the ways of the urban jungle, but this experience had done little to prepare him for the Deep South. He had never eaten grits. He did not know wh

posted 4:16:42am Sep. 04, 2012 | read full post »

Learning to Let Go
There are things in our life that are very, very good. Money, family, jobs, church, possessions, friends: These are all good and in many cases irreplaceable, but you cannot build your life on these things and expect your life to sustain itself. These can all turn to sand. Money vanishes a lot quicke

posted 4:12:16am Aug. 31, 2012 | read full post »

Getting an Education
My children have returned to school; let the rejoicing begin. But I don't know why they go to school. They know everything already, just like I did when I was their age. See, when I was a kid, I really thought my father was something. I looked up to him as if he was a superhero who could leap tall b

posted 4:05:34am Aug. 28, 2012 | read full post »

Step into the Water
My youngest son was baptized recently. I had the honor of dipping his little shaggy head under the river that runs near our home. It wasn't quite like my own baptism, however. When I was his age, however, I was terrified of water. I didn’t learn to swim until I was an adult, so commanded by Jesus

posted 4:57:42am Aug. 24, 2012 | read full post »

Vow-Keeping Faith
When the ancients spoke of faith, they used a word that described a signature on a contract or a title deed. Faith was the oath that lay beneath such a document. A buyer may not have yet taken full possession of the property, but the closing documents gave them the faith that they one day would. Fa

posted 4:53:56am Aug. 21, 2012 | read full post »

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