• Christianity,  Personal

    The Real Weezer: Rest in Peace

    Many of you will recognize the name “Weezer” from the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias, a film about the special bond shared among a group of small-town Southern women and how they cope with the death of one of their own. Many will also remember that Shirley MacLaine turned in a performance of a lifetime in her depiction of the endearing curmudgeon, Weezer Boudreaux. What many people don’t know is that the movie was inspired by a true story. Playwriter Robert Harling wrote Steel Magnolias after the untimely death of his own sister Susan. Like the movie, Susan had a group of women who were a part of her life and…

  • Culture,  News,  Personal

    Farewell, Charlie Brown Christmas

    “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was an annual fixture of my childhood. For me, this special and “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” were two highlights of the Christmas season. Those were the days when there were only three broadcast channels and before people had VCR’s. You couldn’t record it to watch at your leisure. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” came on once a year, and if you missed it, you’d have to wait an entire year for another opportunity to see it. You had to “check your local listings” to know when it would be on, and then you made an appointment to plant yourself in front of the television to watch the…

  • Personal

    You have no enemies, you say?

    YOU have no enemies, you say? Alas! my friend, the boast is poor; He who has mingled in the fray Of duty, that the brave endure, Must have made foes! If you have none, Small is the work that you have done. You’ve hit no traitor on the hip, You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip, You’ve never turned the wrong to right, You’ve been a coward in the fight. -Charles Mackay, English Chartist poet, 1814–1889

  • News,  Personal

    My Hometown of DeRidder in the Aftermath of Laura

    Last week, I wrote about Hurricane Laura as it bore down on my hometown of DeRidder, Louisiana. None of us knew then exactly what path the storm would take, but it turns out that the eye of the storm passed right over my childhood home. As the dust settled on Thursday, it became really clear that our little town was devastated. In fact, the federal government has designated our city as a disaster area. My parents have been taking care of my aged aunt who has been having extreme difficulties that have rendered her unable to walk or care for herself. For that reason, they had decided to ride the…

  • News,  Personal

    Waiting for the Storm

    I suppose most of the country is watching a political convention tonight. Not me. I’ve been focused all day on Hurricane Laura that is bearing down on Southwest Louisiana. My hometown is DeRidder, LA, and my parents still live there. It is 80 miles from the Gulf and is far enough inland that we usually don’t worry about Hurricanes there. We found out 15 years ago from Hurricane Rita that our inland “safety” is not as safe as we once thought. Mom and Dad rode that storm out, and it was one of the most harrowing experiences of their lives. The winds churned through our town. Mom and Dad said…

  • Christianity,  Devotion,  Personal

    Battling the Coronavirus Panic

    Our nation is facing a real challenge right now, and it is a real gut-check for Christians. Will we trust in Christ, suffer faithfully, show compassion, and bear witness? Or will we get swept away by the panic that seems to be unfolding in some places? I want to be clear about what I mean. I am not winding up to rebuke those who are taking seriously the novel coronavirus and who are being vigilant to do all they can to stop the spread and to encourage others to do the same. This is not a drill. It’s real. We all need to be vigilant. And we need to take…

  • Personal

    The Cajun Night Before Christmas

    If you have never heard of The Cajun Night before Christmas by Trosclair, well, you’re about to! It’s a mainstay where I am from, and my dad read it to us every year on Christmas Eve when I was growing up. Even now, he reads it to my children whenever the family is together for Christmas. The video above is a great introduction to this Christmas classic. The only thing that would make it better is if we could get Coach Orgeron to record his own reading. That would be epic. I have a good friend with an English accent who picked this book off the shelf in my home one…

  • Personal

    The Morning of My Years

    I first heard Allen Levi sing “Morning of My years” when I was in my twenties. The song is about turning forty. After hearing the lyrics for the first time, I remember hoping that this would be my perspective when it came time for me to turn that page. And now that I’ve turned that page some years ago, I still think about this song every year at my birthday. It meant a lot to me then, and it still does now. It represents hopefulness for the grace to age like wine and not like milk. Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner. The song first appeared on an album…

  • Christianity,  Personal

    I have no hot-take, only grief

    Last week Joshua Harris announced that he is divorcing his wife, is no longer a Christian, and has embraced LGBTQ+ views on sexuality. I don’t have a hot-take on this. Only grief. I am not surprised that apostasy exists in the world. Jesus warned us that it would happen (Matt. 13:20-22) and so did the apostles (Acts 20:30). And yet it is so painful and heartbreaking to witness. I resonate deeply with what Heath Lambert has written: The author of Hebrews warns, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God” (Heb 3:12). Think about this verse,…

  • Christianity,  Personal

    All Flesh Is Like Grass

    I received news of Rachel Held Evans’ death on Saturday morning. Ironically, I was sitting in a session of our CBMW west coast conference when the text came from my wife. We had been praying for Rachel and her family for the last couple weeks. Nevertheless, I was stunned. Immediately after receiving the news and before the next session was to begin, we led the entire CBMW conference in prayer for Rachel’s husband and children.  The news really was a punch in the gut for me. Rachel and I never met each other in person, but we were not strangers. The New York Times obituary includes these lines: Ms. Evans…