Outside the Walls: Shifts of Pandemic Proportions

Do you remember where you were when …? The event that follows shifted history: — Man walked on the moon. — The plane flew into the World Trade Center. — A virus shut down the world. The past year has shifted life as we knew it. Greetings shifted from a handshake to a fist bump. […]

Outside the Walls: Small Town, Big Deal

I remember the day that our world changed in the small town where I grew up. Everyone was talking about it. It was the buzz of the school. The men at the drug store who met for coffee each morning talked about it all week. The local newspaper even ran a story. Hardees was opening […]

Outside the Walls: Finding Jesus on ‘TikTok’

I was astonished at Mitchell’s answer. He had just confessed Jesus as Lord on my front porch after attending our 9th-10th grade small group of young men for four months. As we discussed his background, an Asian-American teenager from a non-practicing Buddhist family, it became clear that he had very limited knowledge of Christianity. I […]

Outside the Walls: Who Are South Carolina Baptists?

I was having a conversation with my 9-year-old son, Corder, about my new role as chief strategic officer for the South Carolina Baptist Convention when he posed the question. I thought of the complexity of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and its rich history. This year we celebrate 200 years of ministry, and I wondered […]

Outside the Walls: The Year of Hope

What Christmas gift from your childhood do you remember the most? The year was 1983. I had given Mom a variety of gifts that she could potentially choose from. It takes a kid a few years to figure out this strategy, but I had high hopes of receiving the one thing I asked for: a […]

Outside the Walls: ‘A Godless Crisis’

I remember where I was on 9/11/01. As I worked in my office, a colleague walked in and told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My first reaction was a momentary feeling of sadness, and then I got back to working on Wednesday night’s student service as planned. About a half hour […]

Outside the Walls: Rise to Serve

“Can you help us?” It was a humbling honor to receive this request from Molly Spearman, superintendent of the South Carolina Department of Education, directed to South Carolina Baptist churches. Because of the work our churches have done through Heart4Schools in serving over 200 schools in our state, she hoped we could help. Our schools […]

Outside the Walls: Facing a Pivotal Time

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.” Abraham Lincoln would say these words at the 1862 State of the Union address as the country found itself gripped in a war that put brothers at odds with […]

Outside the Walls: America the Beautiful

“He’s fine. Leave him alone.” I couldn’t believe my father’s words. He had just asked my first son, his grandson, to come to him when he was about 3 years old. “No!” Caden said, and then proceeded to kick him in the shin and walk away. I braced for what I knew would happen next. […]

Outside the Walls: We Are Family

“I’m going to go run.” As my son pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his head and put his earphones in, there was a sense of anxiety that washed over me. What if others didn’t know who he was? What if someone tried to yell at him to stop, but he couldn’t hear them […]