On Thomas Merton and the Psalms

by the Rev. Amber Carswell


I’ve observed two diametrically opposed approaches to religious life and the pursuit of God.


First is the pursuit of novelty. I don’t think we can often be accused of this in the Episcopal Church, by and large, but the pursuit itself is certainly familiar to all of us in a consumer-driven society. “If I just had

Because it’s Clean

by the Rev. Paul McLain


In the movie “Lawrence of Arabia”, Major T. E. Lawrence was asked why he was drawn to the desert. He answered, “Because it’s clean.” Perhaps that is why John the Baptist began his ministry there. The wilderness of the Holy Land is not like those we have in the Mid-South. Instead of woodlands, marshes, and

Scott Walters

Grateful to the End

by the Rev. Scott Walters


At noon today (as I write), an Irish friend and I will Zoom (suddenly a verb in our vocabularies that needs no explanation). Pádraig is a poet and theologian and has worked in conflict resolution in the North of Ireland. He’s going to record poems for our Advent Service of Lessons & Carols,

Hold Fast to What is Good

by the Rev. Amber Carswell


A famous artist that Missy admires liked a photo of hers on Instagram. The problem was that it was a picture of Missy and me at the beach; the artist has never liked a picture of Missy’s artwork. This was the second time in a week I’ve had this conversation: a theologian I follow and

Time Horizon

by the Rev. Paul McLain


Last Wednesday morning, Ruthie and I arrived early at 157 Poplar to be among the first hundred people or so to vote in Shelby County. I must confess that I’m a “political junkie” who enjoys following campaigns and elections. But one thing that troubles me about our process of selecting leaders and deciding issues is

A Maker’s Attention

by the Rev. Scott Walters


On my days off and evenings, I’ve been adding on to our tool shed. There’s not much room between it and the fence at the back of our lot. But a four-foot extension provided storage for bicycles and a few of my clunkier carpentry tools that I’d rather not lug up from the


by the Rev. Paul McLain


One of the regulars at our Community Breakfast on Sunday mornings is an older man who goes by the street names of “Hippie” or “Shine.” He’s called Shine because that’s what he does – he shines shoes. This past Sunday morning, he gave my black shoes a long overdue shine and we visited as he

Holding onto Faith

Last night, a discussion of Mary Magdelene reminded me of a poem about her by Jane Kenyon. You can find the text of “Woman, Why Are You Weeping?” here, but be warned: if this is a cheery day for you and you’d like to keep it that way, read no further.


The poem opens with a

Scott Walters

Sarcophagi, Shiny Things, and the Great Right Here

To my mind, Pharaohs and Egyptians, who have been showing up with Moses & Co. in our Sunday readings recently, were the Old Testament equivalents of Darth Vader and the stormtroopers, the sort of folks whose drowning gets celebrated in poems and happy camp songs.


But a few years ago, I saw

Comfortably Numb

by the Rev. Paul McLain


Last Wednesday morning, we were running late. It had taken longer than we expected to pick up my mother’s birthday cake at LaBaguette Bakery, so we tried to find the quickest route possible to Jackson, Mississippi, where we were to meet my mother and family for lunch to celebrate her 84th birthday. Along Union Avenue,