Twenty-four years ago today, the Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people. I remember that day. I in middle school with both parents working for the state government in a capital city just one state over from the government building targeted by the bombers. Security changed dramatically in town, especially at the building my mom worked in & that I often had hung out in. I remember the tragic images on the news & tracking the investigation. . Earlier this month, I visited the memorial & museum for the first time. The memorial is powerful, with one chair for each victim. The chairs sit on the site of the former building, with a reflecting pool in front (photo 2). Smaller chairs represent the children killed (photo 3). It was almost too peaceful. . Then I went into the museum. I didn't expect it to be as moving & emotional as it was. It's a multi-sensory experience that captures a bit of the chaos & carnage from that day. It was almost overwhelming. And that was even before I got to the part about the parents searching for their kids in the daycare that was destroyed. . The next day, I heard a presentation by journalist Bobby Ross Jr. about his experience covering the bombing & aftermath as a local reporter. He told moving stories of talking to families of victims. . The bombing's anniversary doesn't always coincide with #GoodFriday like this year, but it seems appropriate. I know Tony Campolo likes to remind us that Sunday's comin', but sometimes on Friday it doesn't seem ike it. Sometimes there is just death and sadness. Sometimes it seems God is dead.
It was great to have Elijah Brown of @baptistworld in #Missouri last week as the keynote speaker for Churchnet's Spring Gathering (photo 2). We took him across the state so more #Baptists could hear from him about the BWA, with stops in Lee's Summit, Liberty, & Columbia (photo 3) before the gathering in Webster Groves. Glad we could help more people learn about the global Baptist family. . Look for coverage in the May issue of Word&Way and my interview with him in an upcoming episode of the Word&Way podcast Baptist Without An Adjective. #tbt
Four Baptist ministers walked into a Senate hearing room... . It's not a joke! We went to testify in the Missouri Senate's Education Committee against #HB267 (which encourages #BibleLiteracy classes in public schools). From left: Brittany McDonald-Null, pastoral resident at First Baptist Church in Columbia; Carol McEntyre, pastor at FBC in Columbia; @brianwford, executive director at Churchnet; & me. . I was the lone voice against the bill during the House hearing in February (after about 8 people testified for it). So, it was great to be joined by other advocates for true #ReligiousLiberty for all. We were also joined by Cynthia Holmes (a Baptist attorney) & a few other witnesses. While only 4 testified for the bill, 9 offered remarks against it (photo 2 is Carol holding up a children's book about Jonah as she made a point about why churches & families should teach the Bible, not public schools). . I'm not optimistic about the committee, but hope we set the stage to beat this at the full Senate level. #moleg
Watching the news as Notre Dame burns is devastating. It's a gorgeous cathedral with rich history. My favorite place in Paris. Here are a few photos from 2015 when I had opportunity to worship there in special ecumenical service with Christians from around the world (photo 2). There is so much art & history in the building (in addition to the building itself), much of which might be lost. Truly irreplaceable items from hundreds of years ago are burning. And during holy week...