David Epps's blog

Should free speech be absolute?

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The civilized world is aghast at the violence visited upon the French cartoonists and journalists who were murdered by Islamic Jihadists. The French publication, Charlie Hebdo, is well known for taking satirical swipes at almost everybody. The gunmen claimed that they were massacring the employees of the publication because Charlie Hebdo had insulted Islam’s prophet. The gunmen were killed by police but violent incidents continue in Europe. Read More»

Life at 64

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I celebrated another birthday this past week. I suppose that normally would be nothing to think very much about, but I recently learned that over 10 percent of my high school graduating class has passed from the scene.

Some 40 or more graduates of the Dobyns-Bennett High School, of Kingsport, Tenn., class of 1969 are gone. I am among those who have survived — thus far. Read More»

Should veterans step up?

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Today, the percentage of military veterans in the United States Congress is at its lowest rate since World War II. According to a report by CNN, only 20 percent of the 535 members of the new Congress have served in the military, 25 from the Senate and 90 from the House of Representatives. Compare that to the Congress of 1975, where 70 percent of the members were military veterans. Read More»

Santa rides a motorcycle

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One of the wonderful aspects of the Christmas season, which has just passed into history, is the flood of people and organizations who give generously, often to needy families and children.

There are the more famous efforts — Salvation Army, Toys for Tots — and others less well known contributors to happiness, including fire departments, police departments, and many churches.

One of the least known groups who almost always are quietly raising money and giving gifts are motorcycle clubs. Read More»

Whom does God call?

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When I was a child and began attending the little Methodist church near our home, I concluded that the man who stood in the pulpit must be the godliest man I would ever meet. He was educated, wore a black pulpit robe, spoke with confidence and authority, was admired by the gathered congregation, and was friendly and kind to all he encountered—even to an eight year old child. Read More»

Christmas traditions

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It is the season for traditions. When I was a child, everyone on my mother’s side of the family gathered for a Christmas Eve dinner at the home of my mother’s parents. My mom had two sisters and, all together, they produced six grandchildren. It was a lively gathering with wonderful food and lots of conversation. Read More»

Christmas cards

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Christmas cards

Finally, I finished all my Christmas cards! This year I sent out about 250 cards to members of my family, my church family, clergy in the diocese, and several military chaplains — oh, and several friends and other clergy colleagues.

It is an annual ritual that I try to start work on around the first of November. This year I didn’t get started until Dec. 3. But the cards are all in the mail now and I have breathed a sigh of relief. Read More»

The solace of the ocean

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I first saw the ocean when I was 19 years old. I was a young Marine Corps private stationed at a military base in Virginia and, one weekend, several of us ventured to Virginia Beach.

I was awed by the immensity, the power, the beauty, and the mystery of the ocean. That evening, while my comrades were bar-hopping and trying to pick up girls, I sat on the beach until long into the night. It was, for me, a place of peace, of calm, of solace. It has remained so throughout the years. Read More»

Forgiveness

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It is a strong truth that the God of Scripture is willing to forgive — more willing that we often believe.

Some find that a difficult concept, especially those whose lives have been filled with terrible decisions and flagrant sins. Read More»

Those who make things happen

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“What a beautiful service!” “This night was so inspirational and meaningful.” “Everything about tonight was wonderful!”

These comments, and more, were spoken to me last Sunday evening following a service of ordination. The individual who was being ordained began a process some five years ago, including the earning of a three-year Master of Divinity degree. As the bishop for Georgia and Tennessee for our denomination, I was the one who ordained him. But I was not the one who made everything so meaningful and inspirational. Read More»