Culture

I Know What I Saw

I Know What I Saw

As some of you know, I enjoy taking pictures – and then finding something to say.

Rest In Peace Mrs. Perkins

Rest In Peace Mrs. Perkins

Listen to “Rest In Peace Mrs. Perkins” by Fred Smith   Mrs. Perkins stepped out from her pew and walked down the aisle of our Baptist church to rededicate her life on a regular basis – almost monthly. It was a mystery to those of us who knew her to be one of the kindest and godliest people in the congregation. Sunday School teacher, model wife and mother, and a light in our ...[Read More]

Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness

Listen to “Bearing Witness” by Fred Smith   The first time I read the phrase “bearing witness” was in Elie Wiesel’s book “Night” recounting the horrors of the Holocaust and the responsibility he felt never to forget or allow others to dismiss what happened there. Over the years, the phrase has come to mean more. We bear witness by standing up for something in danger of being overl ...[Read More]

White Noise

White Noise

Listen to “White Noise” by Fred Smith   The last time I watched a movie about whales was…never. I did buy a Judy Collins album years ago titled, “Whales and Nightingales” that featured a duet of whales singing with Judy in a beautiful piece, “Farewell to Tarwathie.” It was haunting, but I had not thought about it in years until speaking last week for a small conference attached to ...[Read More]

My Trivial Sins

My Trivial Sins

Listen to “My Trivial Sins” by Fred Smith   No one would describe me as a product of diversity. As a Southern Baptist, I grew up sure of our traditions and practices but not our doctrine. I had a clear picture of who we were but had no idea what it was – other than hymns, potlucks, and full-immersion  – that distinguished us from the imposters to the true faith around ...[Read More]

The Four Hundred Pound Day

The Four Hundred Pound Day

  Listen to “The Four Hundred Pound Day” by Fred Smith   Tiger Woods‘ victory at the Master’s is a myth. I know that sounds like a post on a fringe site but I’m not saying it is fake news. Instead, his winning is a perfect example of what Joseph Campbell in his book, “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” would describe as a myth – a story that symbolizes one of the fundament ...[Read More]

Over And Over Again

Over And Over Again

Listen to “Over and Over Again” By Fred Smith   A favorite illustration was debunked last week. For years, I have used the image of the grain of sand in the oyster being the source of the pearl. It’s not true and I will miss it! Oysters and other mollusks thrive in the shallows and if a pearl were formed each time a grain of sand slipped through, pearls would not be the rare and p ...[Read More]

Our Little Town

Our Little Town

Listen to “Our Little Town” by Fred Smith   When we moved from New York to a small town in rural East Texas thirty-five years ago small towns were not trending. That has changed. Today, there is a surge of books, articles and even documentaries celebrating the values and lifestyle of small towns. Local is in and, at least for now, global is in decline. In “The Road to Somewhere,” ...[Read More]

A Living Thing

A Living Thing

Listen to “A Living Thing” by Fred Smith   My grandfather was a Baptist pastor with the temperament of an Irishman. Named Matthew Bunyan after John Bunyan, he was always addressed as Brother Smith by my grandmother. Mercurial and unpredictable are likely the right words for his relationships with both the deacons and the congregations he served. Today, we would call him a church p ...[Read More]

The Reef

The Reef

Listen to “The Reef” by Fred Smith   In “Where Good Ideas Come From” Steven Johnson uses the illustration of a coral reef as an example of a structure that is both fragile and still able to withstand the incessant pounding of waves and storms. He relates Charles Darwin’s first experience with reefs and his amazement they were able to withstand the violent surges of water. “The oce ...[Read More]