• Can't keep him down

    “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” — James 1:2-3.

    Twenty-five years ago, a man drinking coffee in a Kentucky restaurant needed a kidney, so the Rev. John Mattingly gave him his.

    “I had a kidney; he needed one,” he said. “I knew God wanted me to do it.”

  • GRACE NOTES 9/25/10: It's a family thing

    Recently, my broth­er’s father-in-law, Ed Bremser, died after a very long illness.

    Just a few months before that, his mother-in-law, Audrey, died.

    The Bremser family is a bunch of huggy, kissy, demonstrative, fiercely loyal, loud, emotionally close people.

    They’ve had a lot of tragedy and hardship in their ranks, but they stick together. Over the years, the Bremsers have been my brother’s primary family.

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 09/18/2010: The Mikveh.

    It is considered the source of life, and here in Florida, it is a precious commodity, even though we are surrounded on three sides by it. And while we welcome the life-giving moisture, the destructive forces of hurricanes are not a desirable guest in our midst.

  • The way of the Tao

    As Nuris Lemire walks her life’s path, she’s drawing from the various religious traditions and practices of her past, from Catholicism to Judaism to Buddhism, Native American religion and Hinduism.

    All have brought her to this place, to Taoism.

    She has been studying with Master Yun Xiang Tseng (Master Chen) since 2003. Her husband, Dr. Jim Lemire, has been studying for four years.

  • ON RELIGION 09/11/2010: The Rev. King's niece causes a ruckus.

    Fox News star Glenn Beck staged the show at the Lincoln Memorial, and then fired up his flock by claiming, “Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God.”

    Mama Grizzly Sarah Palin almost stole the show with a political shot at President Barack Obama, telling her fans, “You, too, know that we must not fundamentally transform America as some would want. We must restore America and restore her honor!”

  • GRACE NOTES 09/18/2010: Blessed hunger pangs.

    One day last week I was at the market buying bananas, broccoli slaw and Vidalia onions, and when the kid bagging my groceries asked, “How are you today?” I told him, “I’m so hungry I could eat my arm.”

    We both laughed and then when I got to my car I gobbled a banana in about three bites because, frankly, my arm was looking pretty tasty.

  • GRACE NOTES 09/11/2010: On coming back to church

    Lately I’ve been fascinated by stories of people who grew up in church and now have abandoned the denominations of their youth, and sometimes church altogether.

    In a very funny memoir, “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress,” Rhoda Janzen writes about having to wear frumpy skirts, granny panties and doilies on her head and eating lots of potatoes.

  • All under the big tent

    For some, a gospel tent set up in the middle of a field evokes childhood memories. Metal folding chairs, sawdust on the ground. Passionate preaching by a traveling evangelist, people walking the aisle as the choir sings “Just as I am, without one plea; but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

    Some of the nation’s best known preachers got their start preaching tent revival meetings — Aimee Semple McPherson, Jack Coe, Oral Rob­erts, Billy Graham.

    Can somebody say Amen?

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 09/04/2010: Jewish High Holidays rituals

    In a few short days, Jews all over the world will be ushering in the New Year of 5771. Many will be attending the special High Holiday services which mark this very holy and penitential time of the year. I would like to give you a glimpse into some of the liturgical offerings in order to give you a better understanding of the nature of the holidays.

  • Group promotes communal Bible study

    How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in his excellent word; What more can he say than to you he hath said? You, who unto Jesus, for refuge have fled. — “How Firm A Foundation,” hymn author unknown

    Because the Bible is the foundation of a Christian’s life, followers of Jesus of all denominations meet to study the Word of God.

    In 1975, a group of women near Washington, D.C., met to pray, asking the Lord to provide opportunities for in-depth, effective Bible studies for people in their area.