David Epps's blog

A long delayed letter

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A few weeks ago, I was going through my desk and found a church directory from Mountain View United Methodist Church. The directory was from 2007 and I was going to toss it but, before I did, I thumbed through it and noticed a name. Read More»

The man of Steele

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I had been on my first summer job after high school graduation for about seven weeks when my dad announced a change. He had arranged, against my will and without my permission, for me to work at a general construction company inside the giant Tennessee Eastman Chemical Products Corporation. I was paid $1.65 an hour to work myself to the point of exhaustion each day.

“Next week,” he said, “you will start as an electrician’s helper for King Electric Company.” I would still be working inside the Eastman plant and I would make $1.85 an hour. A small improvement, I reasoned. Read More»

The smell of concrete

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As I made a visit to a local hospital early the other morning, a vaguely familiar scent filled my nostrils. It was the smell of concrete — fresh concrete, as in “new construction.”

Sure enough, the hospital was constructing an addition which requires lots of concrete. Sniffing the aroma, I was transported back in time. Read More»

What good are sermons?

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So, here’s the question: “What good are sermons?” You may be thinking, “I’ve been wondering that for years!”

In evangelical and charismatic churches, the sermon is the centerpiece, the focal point, the high water mark of the worship service (as least that’s what pastors think). In liturgical/sacramental churches, it may not be the center of the service but it’s still viewed as highly important.

When I was a young minister starting out, just in my early 20s, I was told that “For every minute of sermon, there should be an hour of study and preparation.” Read More»

Should weapons be banned? Part 2

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There are always those who believe, with all sincerity, that weapons of any kind should be outlawed. The reasoning is that, if no one had weapons, society would be a much safer place. Any conflicts would be handled with words and, at most, with fists. There would be injuries, of course, but not destruction on the scale currently experienced.

The same sort of thinking is often applied to the world scene. If there were no nuclear weapons, and no weapons of any kind, the world would be a safer place. Read More»

Should weapons be banned?

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A terrible incident, which could have resulted in multiple murders, occurred a few days ago in Texas.

A 20-year-old man went on a rampage at a Texas community college and attacked and wounded at least 14 people. Several had to be life-flighted to an area hospital as the young man went from building to building seeking targets of opportunity.

What makes this attack stand out from similar attacks elsewhere is that the weapon the man brandished was not a firearm. It was a knife. Read More»

Dr. Sam Brown and house calls

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Dr. Sam Brown was my family’s doctor when I was a boy. I remember him being a kindly man who smiled a lot, especially when dealing with fidgety kids. I don’t recall that I was ever panicked about going to see Dr. Brown as I was when I was going to the dentist.

When I was 7 years old, I was in my parent’s home in Kingsport, Tenn., and, strangely, everything seemed to go distant. My mother, in the kitchen, appeared to be a football field’s length away from me and my hearing became muffled. Apparently, I then passed out. Read More»

Memories of homesickness

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I was homesick for the very first time. Even though I had been at Parris Island, S.C., for several weeks undergoing the rigorous Marine Corps boot camp, now called “basic warrior training,” I had not had the time to think much about home.

At 19, I had not been away from home more than a day or so before enlisting. Now, it was approaching the two-month mark. Read More»

From slave to saint

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Imagine that you are, in the eyes of your superiors, inadequately educated, without the necessary social skills and political graces, in the later years of your life, and you have been given an assignment that falls to you only because the boss’s first choice died unexpectedly. No one expects you to succeed but a warm body must be thrown into the breach.

In this true story, the reason that the person in question was poorly educated was, quite literally, no fault of his own. Read More»

Pope Francis

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Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Buenos Aires, has been elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Francis. He is the first Latin American pope to lead the church, as well as the first Jesuit priest.

Many believe that Pope Francis brings to the papal leadership a new feature of humility and boldness in spirituality. While archbishop in Argentina, he did not live in the archbishop’s palace but chose to live in a small room in a downtown Buenos Aires home, it has been reported. He also cooked his own meals and visited the poor in Argentine slums. Read More»

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