Blog

A House Divided: 10 Ways Trumpism is Harming Rural America

In a whirlwind of chaos, violence, and absurdity, the administration of President Donald Trump is coming to an end. As easy as it is for parachute journalists to assume rural America is a monolith, the reality is that rural America, like the rest of the country, is divided in its perception of President Trump. To [...]

Hillbilly Elegy and the Danger of a Single Story

That best-selling Appalachian memoir Hillbilly Elegy is popping up again, now in Netflix form. I watched it. I enjoyed it. I have some issues with it. But mostly, it's giving me flashbacks... What’s the Story? I woke up on November 9, 2016, and gazed out the window at what looked like another cool and crisp [...]

Saying and Seeing Grace: Exploring the Practice of Gratitude

The Practice of Gratitude Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks… I’m writing a book. Have I told you that? Well, I am. It’s a book about this whole recovering abundance concept and about all the amazing the amazing people like you who are bringing renewal and [...]

Serious Wounds: Becoming the Balm of Gilead

I’m convinced that small towns and rural regions have a critical role in determining the direction of our nation. A couple months ago Ashlyn and I began to feel a call to organize a vigil in our own small town and joined with some like-minded local folks with similar stirrings. It was stretching, to say [...]

The Rest of the Story: One Confession, Ten People, and Many Questions about Racism and Rural Action

"What's the deal with that colored fella out in the parking lot?" An older patron asked me this question when he came into the library to return his DVDs. It was so unexpected and inappropriate that I stood dumbfounded for a few seconds before responding with a mix of confusion and irritation: "Pardon me?" "I [...]

Now the Green Blade Rises

This is a guest post from my friend Anthony Kirk. I asked if I could share his reflection because I think it speaks to the season and the divine wisdom hidden in creation. It reminds me of Martin Luther’s quote about the mystery of Christ in nature: “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, [...]

Pandemic Possibilities (Part 1): Testing God, Caremongering, and Jesus in a Public Health Crisis

The last several years of my life have been gripped and guided by the gospel story in Mark commonly known as The Feeding of the Multitude, or incorrectly named The Feeding of the 5,000 (5,000 men but easily 20 or 30,000 people). It has shaped my faith and practice in a number of ways and [...]

Take Courage: Some Things I Learned in 2019

2019: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  Every year brings its own gifts and challenges. For me, though, 2019 brought a lot of both. It was a hard year in some respects. More conflict than normal. Many tears. Wrestling with hard questions and hard answers. Raging at the darkness [...]