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The Smell Test By Neil Boggan

The Smell Test By Neil Boggan

We all have performed a smell test at least once in our lives. We have smelled an item of food such as milk to see if it’s spoiled. We have smelled a baby’s bottom in order to discern if the child has had a bowel movement. We have even smelled a piece of clothing that...

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Red and Yellow, Black and White By Carmen Anderson

Red and Yellow, Black and White By Carmen Anderson

My dad loves to tell the story about a time when I was perhaps 4 years old and I wandered into the den on a Friday night while he was watching a boxing match. He said that I stood there for several minutes observing the boxers and then turned to him and asked, “Daddy,...

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Reflections on Hamilton’s Unafraid By Dr. Jim Lewis

Reflections on Hamilton’s Unafraid By Dr. Jim Lewis

Adam Hamilton’s book Unafraid was published in 2018, two years before the COVID-19 pandemic.  Its subtitle,” Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times,” captures a message that resonates with this summer of discontent.  Hamilton, pastor of the largest Methodist...

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Be Still and Know that I Am God By Joe Livesay

Be Still and Know that I Am God By Joe Livesay

As I reflect on the past weeks a few insights come to mind.  It was March 24, 2020, that Jim Strickland, Memphis mayor, declared a “shelter in place” policy for Memphis.  At that time I think I was like most people.  What will this mean?  How long will it last?  I had...

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Let Them Who Have Ears, Listen By Neil Boggan

Let Them Who Have Ears, Listen By Neil Boggan

On May 25 in Minneapolis, George Floyd, a black man, died because a white police officer’s restraining technique cut off his air supply.  For over eight minutes, the police officer’s knee pressed directly onto the back of Floyd’s neck while Floyd lay handcuffed on his...

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Mourning Has Broken By Neil Boggan

Mourning Has Broken By Neil Boggan

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lists a series of beatitudes: “Blessed are...for....”  The second beatitude reads, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).  The word rendered as “comforted” comes from the same root word that serves as...

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Shepherd of Lost Things By Carmen Anderson

Shepherd of Lost Things By Carmen Anderson

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10 As many people are these days, I am in a book club.  Of course, these days we find ourselves meeting in Zoom sessions and waiting until we determine that we can once again meet in person!  My book club...

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Pandemic Butterflies By Catherine Denman

Pandemic Butterflies By Catherine Denman

I have been thinking a lot about butterflies lately.  During this pandemic, my 5-year-old has been attending online class each morning for thirty minutes. One morning, her teachers mentioned that they were going to be learning about butterflies, so I went online and...

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Who/What is Essential? By Theresa Jennings

Who/What is Essential? By Theresa Jennings

When the COVID-19 virus first hit the United States, it ushered in a new vocabulary.  Commonly heard words and phrases are: masks, PPEs, social distancing, and essential people and items. The most obvious essential people are the doctors and nurses who are treating...

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Is COVID-19 the Will of God? By Dr. Jim Lewis

Is COVID-19 the Will of God? By Dr. Jim Lewis

As the COVID-19 epidemic tightens its grip on Memphis, it is helpful to think about God and His involvement in human affairs.  Our young adult Sunday School class had just started reviewing the book The Will of God by Leslie Weatherhead when Covid-19 struck. ...

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Connection and Belonging By Carmen Anderson

Connection and Belonging By Carmen Anderson

As I am writing this, our country and the world at large are going through an unsettling and disorienting time of dealing with COVID-19. Perhaps the idea of writing about connection and belonging may seem a bit untimely, as we are now in the midst of learning the...

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“In a World Where…” by John N. Avis

“In a World Where…” by John N. Avis

The first time I recall truly thinking about what the future held for me was during the summer of 1961 as I was about to enter the fourth grade. My older sister graduated from high school earlier that spring. She made several trips visiting colleges across the...

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The Value of Saying, “I Don’t Know” By Catherine Lewis

The Value of Saying, “I Don’t Know” By Catherine Lewis

Last Sunday one of our class members mentioned his child’s tendency to respond to new information by declaring, “I know.”  He also pointed out that, as adults, we often still struggle with the same desire to hide our ignorance and pretend we already know something...

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The Sounds of Easter by Theresa Jennings

The Sounds of Easter by Theresa Jennings

Our church recently celebrated Ash Wednesday as the beginning day of Lent, the 40 days prior to Easter.  After the choir and congregation sang, our pastor led us in devotional thoughts preparatory to receiving our crosses made of ash. Near the end of the service, a...

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Known by God, Know God by Catherine Denman

Known by God, Know God by Catherine Denman

Every day as I drive to work, I pass by a church where the minister stands outside in all kinds of weather, waving to the traffic. Even though I pass by on the opposite side of the road, the minister and I usually wave to each other. This past year, though, I have...

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Aging and Old Dogs by Dr. Jim Lewis

Aging and Old Dogs by Dr. Jim Lewis

How do we age gracefully?  Perhaps we need to look at our pets to get the answer.  We own Abigail, a 14-year-old cocker spaniel pictured above.  Abigail has always been a trip whose adolescence caused us consternation.  As a young dog, she disdained pleasing us....

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Three Chords and the Truth by John N. Avis

Three Chords and the Truth by John N. Avis

I first heard “three chords and the truth” in a song by U2 from their Rattle and Hum album (1988), as lead singer Bono added the phrase to Bob Dylan’s  “All Along the Watchtower” declaring, “All I got is a red guitar, three chords and the truth.” This line followed...

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Religious Humor by Carmen Anderson

Religious Humor by Carmen Anderson

A rabbi, a Baptist pastor and a Muslim walk into a ………theater. No, not the start of a joke but certainly an invitation to an evening of humor! I recently attended the Laugh in Peace Comedy Tour that was held in the theater at the Crosstown Concourse. As soon as I...

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Greetings and Salutations! by Theresa Jennings

Greetings and Salutations! by Theresa Jennings

How do you greet a family member, good friend, or fellow church member? Do you greet them  with a smile or hug? Often we in the south inquire either sincerely or by rote, "How are you doing?" (How ya doin?) or "Doing OK"? If you are sincerely interested in them, we...

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Becoming the Solution by Catherine Denman

Becoming the Solution by Catherine Denman

When my daughter was born, I felt like my community was changing. We had been a part of an amazing Sunday School class filled with other young couples with young children, but three of the couples soon moved away and my husband took a position at a different church. I...

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Elder Abuse by Dr. Jim Lewis

Elder Abuse by Dr. Jim Lewis

On July 1, my wife and I made an emergency trip to a small community in Arkansas to relocate my sister who had become a victim of elder abuse. The short story is that my sister required living assistance following the death of her husband three years ago. She suffered...

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Sacrificial Giving By Carmen Anderson

Sacrificial Giving By Carmen Anderson

Christmas is certainly the time of year when giving is uppermost in our minds. We have our lists of names consisting of family, friends, school teachers, music teachers, soccer coaches, yardmen, babysitters, etc. We want to remember everyone who has contributed to our...

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Sing! by John N. Avis

Sing! by John N. Avis

In a recent New York Times article, Linda Ronstadt talks about why we sing. “For the same reasons birds do,” she says, “for a mate, to claim their territory or simply give voice to being alive in the midst of a beautiful day. They sing so coming generations won’t...

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Muslims among Us by Dr. Jim Lewis

Muslims among Us by Dr. Jim Lewis

Recently our church has experienced in-depth discussions about other religions.  One of the most important religions for us to understand is Islam.  Internationally the number of Muslims will be about the same as the number of Christians after 2050.  Islam is the...

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Be Still by Catherine Denman

Be Still by Catherine Denman

“To do anything, you have to resist being entertained.” -Pete Dunlap, author of The Digital Detangler: A Guide to Mindful Technology Use. For my work, I am a librarian and technology specialist for a PK-5th grade school. Recently, I attended a professional development...

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Searching for Family by Theresa Jennings

Searching for Family by Theresa Jennings

I recently spent a unique weekend at a "reunion" of people who are Georgia Tann babies.  If you do not know, for three decades Ms. Tann ran an orphanage/clearing house that placed babies for adoption in the Memphis area and all over the United States.  The downside of...

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Aging and Loss by Andrew Smith

Aging and Loss by Andrew Smith

There are times when you get a wake-up call.  It was December 5, 2018, and we were in the Rehab Hospital where Mary Jo was recovering from a fall and two cracked bones in her neck.  She got a call from her brother to tell her that her sister-in-law Jo Anne had died. ...

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