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‘Sword & trowel’: New beginnings
Jan11

‘Sword & trowel’: New beginnings

Since 2011, I have had the privilege of writing editorials for the Baptist Messenger, which I have done under the headline “Conventional Thinking.” For 2019, in this era of new beginnings and a New Year, I am reintroducing my column as “Sword & trowel.” The phrase, which is a reference to the Book of Nehemiah, was used by the late, great preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, whose publication that was founded in the 1860s still bears...

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Conventional Thinking: Baby steps
Dec21

Conventional Thinking: Baby steps

Some time back, I saw one of those social media posts that make you smile or cringe, depending on who you are. Called “The top 10 reasons liberal atheists don’t like the holidays,” the list included things like “Christmas lights waste electricity” and “The pilgrims and Indians gave thanks to Whom?” The list, which I did not know if it were serious or silly, did end on a very somber note. It said they don’t like the holidays because...

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Conventional Thinking: Home alone at Christmas
Dec14

Conventional Thinking: Home alone at Christmas

“Home Alone” continues to be one of the most popular Christmas movies. To recall the plot, an eight-year-old boy’s family accidently leaves him at home for the holidays, while they jet off to Europe for vacation. Realizing his family is gone, the boy (Kevin) thinks he has permanently wished his family away, when he is confronted with two bungling burglars trying to raid his home, all while his mother tries to get back home to her...

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Conventional Thinking: Christmas wars & peace
Dec07

Conventional Thinking: Christmas wars & peace

I recently saw a Facebook contest that encouraged people to pick their favorite Christmas song. In an NCAA Tournament-style bracket, the contest pitted 64 songs against one another in a round-by-round process, with one song to win out in the end. While I’m not sure if “O Holy Night” or “Jingle Bells” or “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (or another) will ultimately prevail, this was a reminder that Christmas songs continue to hold a...

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Conventional Thinking: Turkey & table talk
Nov23

Conventional Thinking: Turkey & table talk

Thanksgiving is here, and that means family members who may not normally gather will assemble around tables to give thanks. This joyous opportunity, though, is often marred when disagreements and debates arise. From politics to sports to religion, there are no shortage of topics these days that can divide people quickly. Christians are not immune to the temptation toward sharp division and disagreement. That’s why it’s important to...

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Conventional Thinking: Marijuana’s march
Nov16

Conventional Thinking: Marijuana’s march

The 2018 midterm elections saw many winners and losers. Yet the much-discussed Nov. 6 vote had one big winner that some people are not talking about. That “winner” is marijuana, which is actually a loser for families and society. On Nov. 6, voters approved recreational marijuana use in Michigan, as well as so-called medical marijuana in Missouri and Utah. Indeed, 2018 as a whole has been a banner year for the advancement and...

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