God really does work in mysterious ways

Until 18 days ago, the Bible had always been an afterthought in my spiritual journey. It was a book I viewed from a distance, unsure how to use it in a way that resonated with me. Even in adulthood when I first attempted a daily devotional, I would Google the suggested Bible verse instead of actually looking it up in the Bible.

This must be the place

art theplaceSo, do you?

Data shows that we are becoming more religious

bookIn recent years, we have seen a stream of books and authors promoting atheism. Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; comedic columnist Dave Barry; J.G. Ballard author of numerous works of science fiction; the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci; John Fowles, author of The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Christopher Hitchens, renowned columnist and author of God Is Not Great: these are only a few of the late 20th century writers who have spoken or written of their disbelief in a god. These writers, and many millions of others, including your reviewer, assumed that societies around the globe were becoming more secular and less religious.

I swear, it’s really much ado about nothing

op frSometimes in the world of journalism, the story becomes more about the reaction than the original news event. By my estimation, that’s what’s going on right with Franklin Mayor Bob Scott and his decision to put his hand on the Constitution instead of the Bible when getting sworn in for his second term.

Scott is one of those small-town politicians who seems to come to public service naturally. He is a former alderman, has led the local chamber of commerce and the Rotary Club. He’s been a journalist and a public affairs officer who believes passionately in open government. He’s retired, but from what I’ve seen he works nearly all the time as chief cheerleader and advocate for his adopted hometown.

Swearing to God still carries political weight

fr mottoPublic officials aren’t required to place their hand on a Bible to be sworn into office, but a majority of them still do.

Separating church and state: Mayor’s oath of office sparks larger debate

fr bobscottIn the last couple of weeks, Franklin Mayor Bob Scott has been called un-American, arrogant and an asshole, but he’s taking it in stride knowing he made a decision based on his conscience and not on fear.

‘In God We Trust’: Local governments asked to display national motto

fr mottoMembers of the U.S. Motto Action Committee have been making their way around the state asking county commissioners and town boards to display the national motto, “In God We Trust,” prominently on government buildings.

Book explores clash between religion and science

bookIn Lauren Grodstein’s novel The Explanation For Everything (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013, 336 pages, $24.95), we meet Andrew Waite, a biology professor and widower living with his two young daughters in Southern New Jersey. Andrew is an evolutionist, an atheist who at the same time is haunted from time to time by his recently deceased wife, Louisa. He is a good father and a provocative teacher, but along with his wife has lost the power to connect with others. He spends a part of each day writing angry, unsent letters to the young man, now imprisoned, who killed Louisa while driving drunk.

Hymnbook breathes life into Cherokee lyrics

fr cherokeehymnsIt’s Sunday afternoon, and a quartet of musicians — one guitarist, three vocalists — stands at the front of a small room whose rows of chairs hold about twenty people. The guitarist strums a few chords, and the voices join in a familiar tune, “Amazing Grace.” 

Same-sex marriages cause Swain magistrate to resign

fr magistrateIn the short walk from the doors of the Swain County Courthouse to the steps outside it, a couple of people stopped Gilbert Breedlove to shake his hand, ask him if it was true he was resigning his post as magistrate judge and express support. After holding the job for nearly 24 years, this was the last day that Breedlove would spend his working hours in the courthouse.

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