Burns Strider

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‘Grace Notes:' The Quiet Unshakable Faith of Hillary Clinton

by Burns Strider 04-08-2015
Photo via REUTERS / Carlo Allegri / RNS

Former first lady Hillary Clinton. Photo via REUTERS / Carlo Allegri / RNS

Late on a Saturday night in 2012, I received word from my sister in Mississippi that my mamma had passed away. My home was silent as my wife and two boys slept upstairs. I was reading when the sad call came.

I woke my wife to tell her; we sat on the edge of the bed and hugged. In my sadness, around midnight, I started cleaning the kitchen, likely because my mamma was always cleaning something. I also reached out to two friends.

It was within minutes that I heard back from Hillary.

Secretary Clinton joined me in my heartbreak, reminding me that she could share the pain because of the fairly recent loss of her own mother. She also told me to get to Mississippi, be with my family, and take all the time I needed — because my work in Washington paled in comparison to remembering and mourning my mom and being with family.

My family and I drove home, deeper and deeper into my Southern motherland, to bury my mom. My siblings had asked me to speak for the family at the funeral, so I rode shotgun and wrote while my wife, Karen, drove.

Along the way, drafting what I consider the most important talk of my life, I again reached out to Secretary Clinton, who was engaged in one of the most grueling and intense schedules that any secretary of state had undertaken.

Even so, she found the time to offer suggestions and talk me through this most personal task.


The Community of Fatherhood

by Burns Strider 06-16-2012
Father and sons, Dubova / Shutterstock.com

Father and sons, Dubova / Shutterstock.com

I am fortunate for the examples of an amazing father and friends. God’s grace abounds.

Those of us who are so blessed must commit to be those examples for everyone in all our communities. It takes us all sharing who we are and what we know with others. Bad, generational cycles in a society can be hard to break. We all suffer. And, building strong fathers is no exception. 

Six Reasons Why Mississippians Said No to "Personhood"

by Burns Strider 11-09-2011
Personhood protest banner in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building during the

Personhood protest banner in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building during the 2009 March for Life. Image via Wiki Commons.

In January, I sat in the lobby of a Washington, DC hotel with a group looking for ideas on how to defeat Personhood. My advice, partly, based on my experiences with races in the South, polling data and my personal knowledge as a native Mississippian was to assume its passage, run a singularly grassroots operation and craft a campaign that would look beyond Election Day. Fortunately, I did suggest a flexible campaign with data collection and growth capacity in case the unexpected happened and defeating the measure came into play.

The unexpected happened. Mississippians defeated "Personhood" driving a stake in the heart of a movement that was planning on sweeping, state by state, through the nation.

Why did they lose in arguably the most conservative state in the Union? Why did the anti-Personhood forces win a majority of the vote in Mississippi?

Senators Kyl and DeMint Exploit Faith for Political Means

by Burns Strider 12-16-2010
While American troops will be working through the Christmas holidays, putting their lives on the line for our safety, and while millions of Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince o

Coal Mines, Potato Salad, and Damn Good People

by Burns Strider 04-09-2010
The unfolding coal mine disaster in West Virginia has me constantly checking the news for updates on the plight of our fellow Americans who are victims of this latest tragedy.