The Prodigal Son’s Older Brother as Wimbledon Chair Umpire – Friday Poetry

What the older brother squandered was his sweat, which, had he known it was as dissolute as life in the far country, might have traded out for something more exciting. But his fierce integrity to the American dream was his particular delusion. “Virtue can be earned in honest labor.” Only honesty was not his aim. […]

God is in the Countryside (and Country Churches)

Maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to do a workshop on storytelling this weekend, but I’ve been thinking about the parables of Jesus. The Nazarene had a way of incorporating the stuff of the world around him into his messages. Farmers and seeds, shepherds and sheep, tenants and landowners—these were things Jesus’ listeners knew about. […]

Why Don’t Country People Just Get Out? – Episode 3

It’s happened again. Writers in The New York Times are once again wondering aloud if country people shouldn’t just give up and move to the city to deal with problems of economic insecurity. Which means, it’s time for another episode of “Why Don’t Country People Just Get Out?” In an article titled “The Hard Truth […]

Christmas Music and the Incarnation

Originally posted on Tell it Slant:
photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash The  essay from my FaithLink for Dec. 23rd–“Christmas Music and the Incarnation”—has been posted on the Ministry Matters website:  https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/9420/christmas-music-and-the-incarnation Here are links to the songs mentioned in the essay: John McCutcheon’s “Christmas in the Trenches”:  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox?projector=1 Noel Paul Stookey’s  “Christmas Dinner” with…

How to Hunker Down for Advent: A Review of Fleming Rutledge’s New Book

It’s Advent! In liturgically-oriented churches, tables and pulpits are draped in purple. (Or perhaps a dark shade of blue, which to my mind is a nefarious invention of the liturgical-industrial complex.) Four-candled wreaths tick off the Sundays before Christmas. In homes, Advent calendars adorn walls. And yet so much is missing. “I have never seen […]

Bitter is Better: The New Bitter Southerner Podcast

A few months back I had the privilege of interviewing Chuck Reece, one of the masterminds behind the great Bitter Southerner site. Now Chuck is hosting a new podcast which you can subscribe to at your favorite podcast watering hole. It’s all the things you’d expect from such a thing: wry, rye, and an ongoing celebration of […]