Plus Ultra!

April 5, 2015 12:54 am

The crest displayed at the center of the flag of the Spanish kingdoms of Castile and Aragon had for many years read under its splendid artwork “Ne Plus Ultra” “Nothing Further Beyond”. After Christopher Columbus returned from his voyage to the new world, the crest stood in need of a rewrite. “Plus Ultra” “More Beyond” was emblazoned on the flag, a motto that is there to this day. For centuries human beings had stood at the open mouths of graves and tombs, wondering if perhaps there was more to us than meets the eye, asking with the ancient longsuffering Job,... Read this post

Tweets are the New “Amens” of Church

March 29, 2015 1:24 am

Twitter is so highly valued in my head that I tend to think of the Book of Proverbs as King Solomon’s Twitter account. I can easily imagine seeing ‘@RoyalWisdomSol’ right after, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue” or “Without a vision my people perish”. While a great deal of the twitterverse is a sea of silliness and shame ­ like all social media ­ there are notable islands of sanity, encouragement, and healthy entertainment as well. Its also quite a barometer about world culture. Lady Gaga has over 40 million followers while an exceedingly popular Pope... Read this post

Buzzers, Brackets, and Prophets

March 22, 2015 1:21 am

Like millions of Americans I’ve filled out my NCAA Tourney brackets for March Madness. That’s ‘brackets’ plural because I like to give myself as many chances as possible to look like an expert. Oh, and a chance at millions of dollars too. Warren Buffett has offered a massive payday for anyone who can successfully predict the outcome of each game. Even the Microsoft Bing brain has a bracket filled out! Well, I can humbly report that my ability to predict the outcome of these games is less than stellar. Oh sure, I still have a shot at the Final Four... Read this post

The Reason to Celebrate St. Patrick

March 15, 2015 1:27 am

With ‘Patrick’ for a middle name it only makes sense that I have some celebrations planned for later this week. St. Patrick is indeed a man worthy of celebrating, whether with a pint of green beer, a shamrock or three pinned to one’s hat, or a jig and a song. ‘Tis a great day to be sure, a day for parades and parties and prayers – and not a few broken Lenten fasts! But where did we get this celebration and what’s really true about St.Patrick? To begin with, we should remember that St Patrick was not Irish… he was... Read this post

Is Your Legacy Etched in the Minds of Others?

March 8, 2015 1:30 am

While I’ve had family in Franklin for a quarter of a century and I’ve been visiting here long enough to remember when the only thing at I­-65 and Murfreesboro Road was Shoney’s and the long­gone Uncle Bud’s fried chicken place, I’m still a newcomer. ‘Home’ is a word I’ve employed to describe Franklin only since May of last year. Thank you for forgiving my intrusion. When you’re new, you get delightfully lost on purpose, heading down roads for no other reason than they look inviting, stepping into shops not so much to make a purchase as to create a mental... Read this post

The Subject of Words

March 1, 2015 8:35 am

While tempted to write this week about the colors of dresses and the escape of llamas, or perhaps the arrival of a new ice age in Williamson County, or Kanye and Beck, or Birdman (about which I surely will write), I can’t escape bringing to your attention a somewhat more mundane theme – the subject of words. The conventional wisdom of the age is that we live in a time when the power of visual image has eclipsed the potency of the pen. I’m not convinced. In fact I can’t escape the feeling that I am swimming through a sea... Read this post

Lent on the Beach

February 22, 2015 11:45 am

The snow and ice we’ve both enjoyed and endured this past week not only led to panic in the bread aisle along with school closures, but to the cancellation of a what is in many Christian churches a deeply meaningful worship gathering: the Ash Wednesday services that mark the beginning of Lent. In New York City (where they know how to handle the snow), St. Patrick’s Cathedral was open – and welcomed over 50,000 worshipers through its doors on Wednesday. FIFTY THOUSAND. In one day. And a Wednesday at that! Which rather begs the question, “What’s with the ashes?” What... Read this post

Love is Worth the Risk

February 15, 2015 9:00 am

With an emphasis on chocolate and romance the weekend before us will probably be marked by some full and happy hearts, side by side with the shattered. Love hurts as well as it heals, and its absence can make painful what others find delightful. Yet we continue to find love worth the risk, and we’ve sung its praises for centuries. Granted, we often sound terribly confusing when it comes to the subject of love. We say that we ‘love’ a good steak, that we ‘love’ the Titans (really?), and ‘love’ a favorite movie, while employing the same word to describe... Read this post