Tag: Eastern Shore

  • Annie Dillard’s Writing Life

    Annie Dillard’s Writing Life

    It’s hard for me to overstate how much of an influence Annie Dillard has been on me over the years. A short story about weasels in her essay collection Teaching a Stone to Talk is a big part of my call story. The one about a man pursuing her as a child through the snow […]

  • Racial Justice: A Constant Challenge for an Inconstant People

    Racial Justice: A Constant Challenge for an Inconstant People

    The challenge is that we’re inconstant. I am inconstant. I walked in two marches on Saturday here on the Eastern Shore, partly because I haven’t had the words to put to my feelings about my country in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands (and knee) of the Minneapolis police. I had the […]

  • No More Lone Rangers: Forming 21st Century Leaders

    No More Lone Rangers: Forming 21st Century Leaders

    Come to the Eastern Shore of Virginia two centuries ago and more and you would have found Methodist preachers traveling their circuits in pairs. It was the normal way in the early days of our denomination. Going solo was the exception. The first American Methodists formed their clergy by sending them straight to ministry with […]

  • The Parable of Stuckey’s: A Story of Church?

    The Parable of Stuckey’s: A Story of Church?

    Despite the fact that one of my most traumatic childhood episodes happened in a New Mexico Stuckey’s, I have always been in the thrall of the teal blue roofs that promise Mexican blankets, cheap sandwiches, and lots of pecan-themed candies.  The trauma came as a result of Stuckey’s time-honored practice of placing fragile novelty knick-knacks […]

  • What If We Can’t ‘Get Past’ Sex? A Review of Entangled

    What If We Can’t ‘Get Past’ Sex? A Review of Entangled

    The following review was originally published on The Englewood Review of Books and is republished with permission. The author is Heartlands editor, Alex Joyner. What if questions of human sexuality are not something that the United Methodist Church (UMC), like other mainline Protestant denominations, have to settle and get past, but rather are the foundation on which the […]

  • God is in the Countryside (and Country Churches)

    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. […]

  • #8 Heartlands Best Reads of 2018: Chesapeake Requiem

    #8 Heartlands Best Reads of 2018: Chesapeake Requiem

    Tangier Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. CNN did a report that got the mayor, Ooker Eskridge, an audience with the President. A social media storm naturally followed. And now Earl Swift has written a magisterial account of a year on the island. […]

  • When Flo (and Other Storms of Life) are Raging

    When Flo (and Other Storms of Life) are Raging

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. —Isaiah 43:2 As I write this, it looks like the Eastern Shore will be spared the worst of Hurricane Florence, (or Flo, as I’ve come to call her this week).  I’m praying for the people […]

  • Fracking & A Fractured Land

    Fracking & A Fractured Land

    The Washington County Fair in 2010 should have been unalloyed joy for Stacey Haney and her family.  After all, Haney’s 14-year-old son, Harley, and his goat, Boots, took the Grand Champion Showmanship award.  Paige, her 11-year-old daughter, got awards for her two rabbits, Pepsi & Phantom, and for her Mexi-SPAM Mac and Cheese entry in […]

  • Two Big Reasons for Churches to Talk About Race

    Two Big Reasons for Churches to Talk About Race

    These are dangerous days to talk about race.  If you try to raise the subject in polite company you’re likely to face some averted glances or rolling eyes.  In impolite company, well, who knows?  For some, talk of race is a pretext for a political agenda.  For others, the failure to talk about race is […]