When I moved to the South in 1994 I experienced many new cultural expressions. One the most interesting was the unique use of honorific titles plus a first name (Miss Margaret, Mr. George, etc.) for adults with whom you have a close relationship. I often hear people from Oklahoma say that they are from the … Continue reading What may I call you? A cultural dilemma
I vividly remember Sept. 11, 2001. We were living in Waveland, Miss., at the time and was in my first year of study at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Kimberly taught first grade at Charles B. Murphy Elementary in Pearlington. Our son, Jonathan, was just 10 months old. At first it was a normal Tuesday. … Continue reading Remembering 9-11: A Personal Reflection
Culture is a curious thing. Ask anyone to describe the ideal human culture and, chances are, the person will describe a culture very similar to his or her own. Some may point to subtle differences between the ideal and their own, but people tend to believe their own culture is not only good but best. Can … Continue reading Is ‘my’ culture is better than ‘your’ culture?
Any way you look at it, empathy is hard work. Selfishness always comes easy. Unfortunately, selfishness and empathy cannot occupy the same space in our lives. Every time I scroll through social media I see a few expressions of empathy and many expressions that are anything but empathic. Words that dehumanize and marginalize people are … Continue reading The Hard Work of Empathy
When I moved to New Orleans 15 years ago, I was enamored. The architecture, the music, the art, the culture, and the people inspired me. This young love for the city focused on the positives. Because I lived on the seminary campus, I had a safe place to retreat. I could enjoy the city with … Continue reading Falling in Love with My City … All Over Again
In the raw pain of writing about CJ’s death a few weeks back (“The Death and Life of an Imagine-bearer”), I could not communicate all I wanted to say with clarity. Here is an attempt to connect the dots. This is an honest effort meant to address difficult issues of race and culture. Talk will … Continue reading Gaining Clarity and Hope
Who is my neighbor? That can be a scary question to ask. And there is more than one way to ask that question. One is positive, and one is not. In the context of a larger discussion on keeping the Law (Torah) and gaining eternal life, an expert in the law posed this question to … Continue reading Who is my neighbor?
Car burglaries are an urban reality. Just last week, using the daily crime report that I receive via email, I could track a criminal’s movement from the evening before as he went from address to address taking things from cars. In the 10 years I have lived at my current address, my car has been burglarized at … Continue reading Lessons from a Car Burglar
Will you weep with me over another life snuffed out too soon? It happens way too often in New Orleans. Over the past 15 years, I have heard countless news reports of young, black, teenagers shot to death on the streets of New Orleans. On some level, I have grieved over these deaths, but only … Continue reading Death and Life of an Image-bearer
I received unexpected flowers last month and they really made my day. Before you start wondering why I was sent flowers or who sent them – these flowers simply appeared in my yard. I didn’t plant them. I didn’t water them. But I am enjoying them. Several months back I noticed sprouts appearing throughout my … Continue reading Unexpected Flowers