Turning Garbage Into Gold

On this day in 1987, a 210-foot barge named the Mobro 4000 began a strange voyage on the seas, searching for a place to dump over 3100 tons of garbage. The trash was generated by the Long Island city of Islip, but their overextended landfills couldn’t take in the refuse....

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Signs of the Season

  Ah, spring! That season when, as the American writer e.e. cummings put it, “the earth laughs in flowers.” Here in the Lone Star State, there are two seasons that I cherish: autumn, because it finally brings cool weather after the hellish heat of a Texas summer and spring, which summons green growth following...

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How A Slave Set Others Free

A Peek into a Famous Parade On this day in 1762, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held, but not in Ireland. Irish soldiers stationed in colonial New York City organized the first procession. Though St. Patrick parades are held in over 100 U.S. cities every year, the New York...

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What the New Pope Can Teach Protestants

  “Habemus papam!” We have a new pope, which might prompt some Protestants to utter, “Who cares?” After all, we bid arrivederci to Rome centuries ago. Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals and a host of other denominations don’t go in for praying to the Virgin Mary, eschewing contraception or believing that the bread and wine...

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What Makes A Church Grow?

  The United Methodist bishop of my conference, Mike Lowry, recently noted on his blog that laypeople are asking him, “What makes a church grow?” When the bishop offers a couple of points in reply, the questioners begin to debate him.  “I pointed out that my answer wasn’t a matter of opinion,” Bishop...

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God’s Story

This past Sunday, “The Bible” miniseries premiered on The History Channel and, lo, it was good, drawing in 13.1 million viewers. The numbers were powerful enough to smote the competition on all the major broadcast networks and become cable’s most-watched entertainment telecast this year. The creators of the 10-hour series, which will culminate on...

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A Cliburn Lesson in Character

Van Cliburn, the celebrated concert pianist who lived in my hometown of Fort Worth, TX, died Wednesday morning at the age of 78. When I was still in diapers, Van Cliburn took the music world by storm by capturing the first-place prize at the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. The lanky,...

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Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

This past Tuesday was the 540th birthday of Nicolas Copernicus, who discovered that we are not at the center of the universe. The Polish astronomer put forth a heliocentric model that had the Earth revolving around the sun–not the other way around. So important were his theories that Google dedicated an...

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Gone Fishin’

  This Sunday, February 24, I will debut a One Man Show program entitled “Sea Change.” It’s a new drama or, more accurately, a series of dramatic vignettes set in a Lenten worship service. The vignettes are delivered by Peter the fisherman, who traces his relationship with Jesus from call to...

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An Invitation from the Divine Lover

  It’s a small town – one of those kinds of towns people make jokes about. You’ve heard ‘em – “that town is so small that when you dial the wrong number, the person on the other end gives you the right number. It’s so small that there’s no place...

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