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In May 1991, I was a 13-year-old seventh grader at Ballard-Hudson Middle School in Macon and had zero knowledge of or interest in Baptist denominational politics. The small, semi-rural, super conservative Baptist church of my growing up years certainly did not talk about what had been going on in Southern Baptist life for several decades.…
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In the spring of 1792, a thirty one-year-old cobbler who also toiled away as a not-particularly-good preacher, convinced a gathering of Baptists in Nottingham, England, to form “a Baptist society for propagating the gospel among the heathen.” As the society began its work, this young shoemaker/preacher, filled with missionary zeal, readily volunteered to leave England…
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In 1965, Burt Bacharach penned a song, set to a lilting waltz tempo, that would become emblematic of the longings of the decade: “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” Originally sung by Jackie DeShannon, the song’s introduction in the turbulent 1960s was no accident. Bacharach wrote in his autobiography that he had the tune…
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I have a confession to make: I like Southern Gospel music. Well, at least some of it. My grandfather had a booming bass voice, and before my mother and her brothers came along, he often sang with various Southern Gospel quartets around middle and south Georgia. As I helped him feed hay to his cows…
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A couple of years after finishing seminary, I returned to the hallowed halls of the McAfee School of Theology. I ran into Dr. Larry McSwain, from whom I took a class in church leadership and who had become a good friend. With the characteristic twinkle in his eye, he asked me, “Well, how are things…
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