Midtown Is Memphis…or Not

midtown is memphis

Memphis is a city that I believe is truly on the rise. I don’t say this simply because the Bluff City is my hometown. Some great things are truly taking place in the city. For starters, there has been and continues to be a lot of renewal and renovation – from downtown to midtown to crosstown to Binghampton, the city is in a bit of a renaissance. Not only that, but CNN (#10) and WalletHub (#7) rank Memphis as one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. to start a business. Nobody would have thought this could become reality some 25 years ago.

And don’t get me started on the the opportunities that exist in this city through music, education, and sports. Matter of fact, I believe if this city is going to continue to find not just stability, but proven success, health, and growth, much of it will need to be connected to the areas of music, education, and sports. There are others. But these 3 have a proven track record for success in this city.

In all, there’s lots of good stuff on the horizon!

That wasn’t always the story.

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Re-telling a Disturbing Story

jesus and scrollThe storied accounts of Scripture are there to challenge us, transform us, and shock us at times. However, we have become so acquainted with Scripture that we rarely have such encounters, me included. I’m not necessarily talking about a writhing moment of crying out at the top of our lungs in repentance, though that surely might be needed at times.

But many of these biblical accounts have lost their punch.

Knowing this, I like to re-tell stories at times. I’ve done this before with the Good Samaritan, so I want to do it again. Continue reading

Superheroes, Children & Us

superheroesThis week, my son (and I, vicariously through my son’s experience) received some rather difficult news to swallow. That news is this: Superheroes don’t exist.

Plain and simple.

How was such news announced? At school, following my son expressing his desire to be a super policeman when he grows up, supposedly his first grade teacher proceeded to share the deflating message that superheroes aren’t actually real. The carpet was pulled right out from under his feet. He was left very confused. Everything he wanted to be when he grew up was impossible to be.

Now, before anyone wants to throw stones at this teacher (or perhaps you’re in agreement with her), let me say that she seems a pretty good teacher. My son has enjoyed his first two weeks of first grade. He’s doing well. So we’re on the right track.

Not only that, but I must remember we received the report from my 6-year old. Something could have been misunderstood on his part, though I do wonder if the topic was broached with as much care as it should have been, knowing my son’s dreams were dashed.

So, I’m not exactly certain how it all played out. But there is a part of me that would be irked if his teacher had actually shared such information. To tell a 6-year old, or 36-year old as myself, that superheroes don’t exist is a flat out lie. Yes, you heard me. Of course, superheroes exist! To tell anyone they don’t is a problematic statement, if you ask me.

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The Role of Stories in Life

peterson-wrk01.inddI’ve probably mentioned not a few times of my love for Eugene Peterson as a pastor-teacher. I can read and re-read any of Peterson’s work at any point. He’s simply one of my favorites. I recently decided to re-read Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology, which is part of Peterson’s “conversation” series. The book is based off the lines of a Gerald Manley Hopkins poem entitled As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

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