“Do you imagine that the scientist and the poet are not united?”

He would deliver a sermon unlike any he had delivered before.

“Do you think that because we have learned that the sun does not go down, that in fact we are going around it at a dizzying speed, the sun is not the only star in the heavens, do you think this means we are any less important than we thought we were? Oh, we are far less important than we thought we were, and we are far, far more important than we think we are. Do you imagine that the scientist and the poet are not united? Do you assume you can answer the question of who we are and why we are here by rational thought alone? It is your job, your honor, your birthright, to bear the burden of this mystery, and it is your job to ask in every thought, word, and deed, ‘How can love best be served?’ God is not served when you speak with relish about those who are poor in spirit and cannot be defended. God is not served when you ignore the poverty of spirit within yourselves.”

The sky was growing light by the time he put his pencil down. Reading the pages over, he discovered that he had broken a cardinal rule of homiletics. He had used the word ‘you’ instead of ‘we.’

He sat for a long time wondering about this, then he washed his face and fell asleep on the couch.

From Abide with Me, Elizabeth Strout’s novel about a minister and his congregation in late 1950s Maine. Link to the paperback is here, and the ebook is $3 for a time.

Interesting Reads for May 7

“A growing group of Southern Baptist women called for Paige Patterson to be removed as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) on Sunday, due to what they claimed was his ‘unbiblical view of authority, womanhood, and sexuality.’…The letter comes from scores of Southern Baptist women, including leaders such as: Karen Swallow Prior, a Liberty University professor and research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention; Lauren Chandler, an author, worship singer, and wife of The Village Church pastor Matt Chandler; Jennifer Lyell, a vice president at SBC-affiliated B&H Publishing Group; and Amanda Jones, a Houston church planter and daughter of Bible teacher Beth Moore.” Find out more about the letter at this Christianity Today article. If you want to sign the letter, go here.


The Dinner Party That Served Up 50,000-Year-Old Bison Stew


Why God Still Works Through Fools Like Samson. Good read. Will probably make you think of He Who Must Always Be Named. I doubt that was the author’s intention.


“Soon enough, the “need” to defend Trump will pass. He’ll be gone from the American scene. Then, you’ll stand in the wreckage of your own reputation and ask yourself, “Was it worth it?” The answer will be as clear then as it should be clear now. It’s not, and it never was.” Superb piece by David French


A Shaolin Monk Throwing A Needle Through A Pane Of Glass:

“I know there are people out there who are silently going through what I went through”

In Essence magazine,Black Panther‘s Letitia Wright reveals how her faith helped her heal and prepare for the role of a lifetime:

“I said I wanted to give it up, then went into becoming a Christian. My friends told me about it and I thought it was nonsense and I realized that it wasn’t, that the spirit of God, the holy spirit is very real. And, I realized that and I felt centered.”

The actress added that soon God revealed that she needed to continue her work and find ways to inspire others, which is one of the reasons she’s so open about her faith and her mental health.

“The reason why I share this story is because I know there are people out there who are silently going through what I went through,” Wright told ESSENCE. “It’s a thing that goes on, especially creatives, putting so much pressure on ourselves and it leads to depression.”

“We would all appear to have speed lines trailing behind us as we rush along the road of the world”

In the club car that morning I had my notebook
open on my lap and my pen uncapped,
looking every inch the writer
right down to the little writer’s frown on my face,

but there was nothing to write
about except life and death
and the low warning sound of the train whistle.

I did not want to write about the scenery
that was flashing past, cows spread over a pasture,
hay rolled up meticulously—
things you see once and will never see again.

But I kept my pen moving by drawing
over and over again
the face of a motorcyclist in profile—

for no reason I can think of—
a biker with sunglasses and a weak chin,
leaning forward, helmetless,
his long thin hair trailing behind him in the wind.

I also drew many lines to indicate speed,
to show the air becoming visible
as it broke over the biker’s face

the way it was breaking over the face
of the locomotive that was pulling me
toward Omaha and whatever lay beyond Omaha
for me and all the other stops to make

before the time would arrive to stop for good.
We must always look at things
from the point of view of eternity,

the college theologians used to insist,
from which, I imagine, we would all
appear to have speed lines trailing behind us
as we rush along the road of the world,

as we rush down the long tunnel of time—
the biker, of course, drunk on the wind,
but also the man reading by a fire,

speed lines coming off his shoulders and his book,
and the woman standing on a beach
studying the curve of horizon,
even the child asleep on a summer night,

speed lines flying from the posters of her bed,
from the white tips of the pillowcases,
and from the edges of her perfectly motionless body.

“Velocity,” by Billy Collins

Sundry Dinner for April 19

Devout hero: Might Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Shults’ ‘nerves of steel’ be related to her strong faith?


Could artificial intelligence get depressed and have hallucinations? Of course. Haven’t they ever been exposed to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe?


Can We Please Stop Talking About Generations as if They Are a Thing? (David Costanza for Slate) I’ve studied generations for years. So, the complaints against the whole concept of “generations” is well founded. Still, I believe that an age cohort is influenced by their common experiences, especially experiences that happened in the formative years of late teens to early twenties.


WSJ: How to Raise More Grateful Children. A sense of entitlement is a big problem among young people today, but it’s possible to teach gratitude.


Creepy Chick-fil-A and New York(er) Values: The Shock (and Slander) are Getting Old,” a CT piece by Ed Stetzer. IMO, until the New Yorker also excoriates the city’s halal food trucks, owned and operated by people who have the same untoward traditional values, I can’t see their piece as anything other than a snooty rejection of that which is seen as Southern suburban evangelicalism.


Mind Games: The Tortured Lives of ‘Targeted Individuals’. Fascinating and sad, an article about highly intelligent people convinced they are the targets of experiments in mind control.


“While white evangelicals tend to be older, fully half of evangelicals under the age of 30 are nonwhite, and 18 percent are Latino….And these nonwhite evangelicals see politics differently than white evangelicals. While the largest plurality of white evangelicals identify as Republicans, most black evangelicals are Democrats. A plurality of evangelical Latinos, in contrast, identify as political independents — and they’re less supportive of the Democratic Party than Latinos overall — but they are still more likely to consider themselves Democrats than Republicans.” FiveThirtyEight


“Why would a Catholic Republican [Jeffrey Bell] back a Democrat [Bob Casey]? In a 1995 interview, Bell told me that he was worried many religious voters – especially evangelicals and Catholics – had already decided they had no choice but to support GOP nominees….As for evangelicals and traditional Catholics, Republican leaders “pat them on the head,” and “buy them off easy,” because cultural conservatives have few political alternatives. ‘Someday, this is going to cause BIG problems for evangelicals and conservative Catholics.’” Terry Mattingly, writing about the late Jeffrey Bell.


“That God is using Trump not as an agent of his good work but as a kind of ongoing test of everyone else’s moral character seems like a not-unreasonable inference to draw. That God would offer religious conservatives in danger of selling their souls a chance not just to step back from the brink but to literally replace Donald Trump with a fellow religious conservative — well, that seems like just the kind of opportunity that a beneficent deity would grant to erring members of his flock. And for those same religious conservatives to pass up the chance…would be a sad confirmation of the point that a beloved Christian author made many years ago: The doors of hell are locked on the inside.” Ross Douthat’s column, “Why Not Mike Pence?

About Tom

ANCHOR COURSE LOGO Tom Goodman is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, and he holds a doctorate from New Orleans Seminary. He has served as pastor in Louisiana, north Texas, and overseas in Grand Cayman before becoming the pastor of Hillcrest Church in Austin, Texas. Diane and Tom have been married since their days at Baylor University, and they have two sons, Michael and Stephen. Tom enjoys scuba diving, watching the latest Netflix DVD with Diane, and chasing mis-hit golf balls.