U-WO-DU-HI SPOUTING WATER

“Portraits of You” – Celebrating Endings and Beginnings

AS THE SAYING GOES, and as you have heard it said, you are the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the friends you make, the name you bear, and the words you speak. You are also your social security number, your high school picture, the glimpse of you a passerby keeps in mind, and …

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A Christian Looks Back at the First Year of Trump

IT CAME AS NO SURPRISE nor was it widely welcomed. As herald of the imperial census taken every fourteen years for the sake of universal taxation in support of ancient Rome’s vast military, “in those days a decree went out from the Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered” (Luke 2:1). Now, again …

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“From Warriors to Saints, Saints to Lovers, Lovers to Tigers, Tigers to Flowers”

VINCENT VAN GOGH LEARNED VOLUMES from his fellow artists by the study of countless numbers of their drawings and paintings, some old, some new. Not only did he visit many museums and exhibitions. He also lined the walls of his room with copies of others’ works, including the great masters who preceded him. Vincent once wrote …

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davidson's-orchard-dillwyn-virginia

Grace Given As Grace Received

THERE ARE STORIES PASSED DOWN about my grandfather Clarence, who died several years before I was born, to the effect that he could take quickly to the stern edge of his character and at times be brusque, impatient and demanding. While he was an industrious and productive Virginia farmer who certainly knew the meaning of hard work, with …

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van-goth-self-portrait-in-front-of-an-easel

“Best and Deepest” Self-Portraits

IF ONE TAKES THE TIME to study Vincent van Gogh’s numerous self-portraits, it is apparent that there are several “Vincents” dwelling within the one Vincent. Never, though, do Vincent’s self-portraits exhibit an outright display of mirth. Like a hound tracking a faint whiff of exotic expectation, one must hunt for the glee hidden beneath the surface of …

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St. Valentine

A Day for Love in the Age of Trump

YOU MIGHT SAY that at its inception St. Valentine’s Day was born of the order of a lover’s “blizzard.” For, as legend has it, Saint Valentine, a third century Christian priest, selflessly ministered to his fellow Christians during the blizzard of persecution instigated by the Roman emperor Claudius. He did so by deliberately defying the …

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crowe-slaves-waiting-for-sale-richmond-virginia

The Line Of Vision

DICK, STEPHEN, CHARITY, AND LUCY were their given names – these beloved “Negroes.” They were the propertied slaves owned by my fourth great grandfather at the time of his death. At the top of the list of all of Hezekiah Davidson’s worldly goods, the court appraised Dick at 120 pounds sterling, Stephen at 100, Charity …

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From Death to Life — A World Of Surprises

BEING MOTHER OR FATHER TO YOUR OWN LIFE’S WORK is like the stone-deaf Beethoven birthing the Ninth Symphony’s Ode to Joy. The craft of creativity is far more formidable than comprehensible. We become infinitely more dependent upon what we do not know than upon what we know. Who knows for sure whether this score will ever …

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Quiet, Please! While The Fox Is Passing!

AMONG THE PURPORTED BLESSINGS OF LIFE in the countryside is nature’s primordial gift of tranquility. This is reason enough to take the wilderness trail that rambles toward Eden. To a human actor too long accustomed to the raucous rattle of the internal combustion engine in its endless procession over miles of concrete freeways, the world-stage of …

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Some Wisdom From Woodchuck

IT IS TRUE. An oyster would have better concocted this beloved mother-of-pearl than I, the pearl-maker, who is left holding nothing but the encrusted shell of a mollusk. What on Earth, I ask, has happened to the luxurious nacre within? My fond creation, all six pages of it, like pearls on a strand, broke loose this …

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Trickling Twiddling Rippling River

OLD MISTY EYE, Fountain of Eden — Draped over spiked spine of wet-cold sleeping mountain Ancient of Days, canticle of waters thundering aground Rumbling and tumbling atilt and crashing around Through craggy fissures of rock and sodden seams of silt. Trickling, twiddling, rippling river Splattering over bobbing twig, jagged stone and sunken rig. Gentle flowing brook today, rowdy ripping rapids tomorrow Frothing …

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miters-and-mites

Of Mites and Miters

MINISTRY IS LIKE SPORTS. It is subject to the pointless competition of the steeplechase, the serious injuries of boxing (with shadows), and the deadly leisure of line drives aimed straight at the preacher—absent the benefit of recreational drugs (religion alone is dangerous enough as opiate). It is like golf minus the combat compensation of seaside, …

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Symbols of the Ages

HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED that something as minuscule as a tiny ink dot on a sheet of paper is actually a complex, multivalent symbol? “We know it by a dozen names. . . . As the smallest, the beginning point. It can be seen as an image of infinity . . . which we can only represent …

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