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Open Hands and Open Hearts By Carmen Anderson

Open Hands and Open Hearts By Carmen Anderson

“To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do - to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst - is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful...

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Quarantine Interviews: Linda Serino

Quarantine Interviews: Linda Serino

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. Linda Serino and I met in the sanctuary on a day when the rain fell so hard the air itself seemed to have become a liquid. She told her story with a matter-of-fact...

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Quarantine Interviews: William Keith

Quarantine Interviews: William Keith

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. Quarantine has turned many pivotal milestones into drive-by experiences. From graduations to proms to dates to hanging out with friends, most teenagers’ lives came...

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Quarantine Interviews: Amy Moffatt

Quarantine Interviews: Amy Moffatt

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. Covid-19 took away Amy Moffatt’s sense of stability. Her children lost their routines, she shut down her business for six weeks, and she lost her ability to plan...

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Quarantine Interviews: Tommy Sexton

Quarantine Interviews: Tommy Sexton

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. Tommy Sexton’s wedding was the last official event held within the church before it closed in late March. They were married two days after Shelby County Schools...

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Quarantine Interviews: Joe Livesay

Quarantine Interviews: Joe Livesay

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. Joe Livesay is still living under a strict quarantine due to his health complications that categorize him as high risk. “I can’t do anything,” he said. “[The virus...

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Quarantine Interviews: Stephen Cook

Quarantine Interviews: Stephen Cook

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. Stephen and I met every Tuesday to discuss my internship. He sat with his legs crossed, leaning back in his chair, and always held a legal pad on one knee. We met...

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Quarantine Interviews: John Avis

Quarantine Interviews: John Avis

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. John Avis lost more than he’d planned to when the pandemic shouldered its way into his life. He was nearing the end of his last semester teaching at the Memphis...

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Quarantine Interviews: Catherine Lewis

Quarantine Interviews: Catherine Lewis

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. When I met Catherine Lewis in the front lobby of the church, one of the first things she mentioned to me was the goldfinch she’d seen that morning at the Douglass...

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Quarantine Interviews: Mary Smith

Quarantine Interviews: Mary Smith

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. Mary Smith was at the church for her second funeral this summer when she walked past my door, paused, and said hello. She told me that she’d been meaning to send me...

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Quarantine Interviews: Sandra Livesay

Quarantine Interviews: Sandra Livesay

This interview is one part of a series written by our 2020 CBF Summer Ministry Intern, Emmaline Rogers. I spoke with Sandra several weeks after interviewing her husband; she’d come up to me at one of the outdoor worship services and said she’d be willing to sit and...

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Frugality in Small Town America By Dr. Jim Lewis

Frugality in Small Town America By Dr. Jim Lewis

There are many verses in the New Testament from Jesus about money.  His message was consistent – help the poor, don’t store up riches for yourself, and never put money before God. More recent was John Wesley’s paraphrase, “Make all you can, save all you can, and give...

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Masked by Theresa Jennings

Masked by Theresa Jennings

Recreation According to the dictionary, some of the purposes of a mask are to conceal/hide, misdirect, and protect. Children start young when they plan their Halloween costume to portray themselves as a Disney character or a frightening figure disguised to startle or...

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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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