Travel

Bobby Jones. Image via  / Shutterstock

I knew this was going to be a great trip. I did not know it would afford me a chance to scratch off the top item on my bucket list.

But when the iconic gospel singer Bobby Jones met with the band of international journalists I am traveling with on a fellowship from the East-West Center, he mentioned the song “Oh Happy Day” was so popular among his fans in Russia, Italy and Japan that he can’t get offstage there without singing it.

Was I really the only one present who knew the song, or was I just the most brave? I don’t know, but in a flash I was singing backup — badly —  to gospel music’s greatest on one of my favorite songs.
Ed Spivey Jr. 03-09-2015

Illustration by Ken Davis

Saints (and sinners) around the water cooler. 

Jerry Marter 03-04-2015

Two countries lumped together in the "axis of evil" have few similarities. 

Danny Duncan Collum 11-06-2014

Our culture has managed to turn children's sports into an expensive "gated community" for the elite. 

Trevor Barton 04-10-2013

Reds, yellows, and blues in Havana, Cuba. Photo courtesy Kamira/shutterstock.com

I just returned from a weeklong visit to Cuba. A team of seven people from First Baptist Church Greenville went to be with and learn from our partner church in Guanahay, Cuba — La Iglesia Bautista del Camino. After time in such a colorful country, here are some colorful thoughts of my own for three of our Cuban friends.

If Javier were a color, he would be blue. He is kind. "It is important to look each other in the eyes," he said on Easter morning. "So look into each others’ eyes, really, now, look into each others’ eyes, for at the end of the day you will be able to say that you have looked into the eyes of Christ."

 

Julienne Gage 04-03-2013

A new generation of Cuban Americans encourages broader dialogue.

Christian Piatt 05-18-2012
Invisible Man, Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock.com

Invisible Man, Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock.com

We finally made it to the Oregon Coast yesterday. I took some pictures in the redwood forest that I’ll share soon, but this post isn’t about that.

We got in before dinner and were happy to learn that we had a hotel room with an ocean view. Not only that, but it actually is right on the beach. So of course, we decided to sleep with the windows open.

It’s one thing to fall asleep to the nature sounds on my iPad; it’s entirely another to drift into an alpha state to the real thing.

And then came the noise. It was this periodic buzzing/honking/humming that started sometime in the middle of the night. It sounded like someone snoring through the wall in the next room. Seriously? I drive two thousand miles to sleep next to the ocean and you’re going to keep me awake snoring?

Christian Piatt 05-14-2012
Photo courtesy Christian Piatt

Amy, Christian and Steve (AKA, Indiana Jones) in Tennessee Cove. Photo courtesy Christian Piatt

No great theological revelations today. No tear-jerking finale. No big mortal lesson. Just another step in a journey of a lifetime. ...

We’ve been in San Francisco the last couple of days, which is one of my favorite cities in the world. Driving here definitely hikes my blood pressure, but the sights, culture and food makes up for it.

Mostly we’ve continued to walk as much as possible. We’ve covered several miles every day, but my feet are evidence of the change of routine. Several blisters have emerged where there should just be calluses, and my plantar fasciitis decided to rejoin me in my heels after a brief, but welcome, sabbatical.

 

Christian Piatt 05-10-2012
Road illustration, Iakov Kalinin / Shutterstock.com

Road illustration, Iakov Kalinin / Shutterstock.com

We just passed through Death Valley (insert 23rd Psalm joke here) and we’re about 100 miles from the edge of the world, also known as Los Angeles.

As my mind wandered while scanning the dunes and scrub brush, I started thinking back to the stories about my dad when he left home. As soon as he was old enough, he headed west with his mind full of images of the California orange groves. Coming from a small town outside of St. Louis, California might as well have been a world away, but he was resolved to get there, despite no plans for when he got there.

The whole point was just to get there. That, and to get away from his life in the Midwest. California still represented an escape from the mundane, a mecca of second chances, an eden of new beginnings…

Christian Piatt 05-07-2012
Photo via Christian Piatt

Zoe found some eggs in the hen house this morning. She smiles at the and the eggs just pop right out. Photo via Christian Piatt

We headed west toward Las Vegas this morning; chasing daylight toward the coast, leaving the kids in the care of grandma and grandpa.

I’ll give you one guess to figure out which one of us had a harder time leaving.

Personally, I know they’re safe at the farm, and they’ll have a lot more fun there than they would with us, driving a couple thousand miles over the next two weeks. Of course I’ll miss them, but I’ve also been looking forward to some “grown-up” time for a while. More specifically, this trip is not something most people ever get to do, let alone parents of two young kids.

And before we get to Portland and take our positions in the Big Kid Church, this is our chance to be a little bit irresponsible and childish. We can stay up late if we want. I can eat 12 Slim Jims for lunch if the mood strikes— though to be honest, the white stuff you squeeze out of those things turned me off of Slim Jims decades ago.

But I could if I wanted.

Christian Piatt 05-07-2012
On a hike below the mesa, Photos via Christian Piatt

On a hike below the mesa, Photos via Christian Piatt

Amy’s mom, Suzie, and stepfather, Russ, live on a 12-acre apple orchard nestled against the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico. Instead of describing it, I decided to show it. 

Enjoy.

Christian Piatt 05-04-2012
National Independence Day Parade, Vsevolod33 / Shutterstock.com

National Independence Day Parade, Vsevolod33 / Shutterstock.com

We’ve invested eight years of our lives into this community called Milagro Christian Church (Spanish for “Miracle”). As we have said many times before, it has our DNA throughout it. Our story is Milagro’s story. Our struggles and breakthroughs have been Milagro’s struggles and breakthroughs.

And now the paths are diverging, and although it’s exciting and necessary, there’s a part of it that really sucks.

Joshua Witchger 03-14-2012
Hula hoop image, Gorilla, Shutterstock.com

Hula hoop image, Gorilla, Shutterstock.com

It’s a simple joy – hoola hooping. And that seems to be the reason Carissa Caricato left her job to travel the world.

A few years ago when Carissa traveled to Haiti for earthquake relief efforts, she brought a few hoops to share with the children. Amidst the devastation she discovered the power in these simple hoops to bring people together and transcend barriers of language and culture.

Eugene Cho 05-12-2011
Like all of you, I was stunned some days ago as I started soaking in the breaking news of Osama bin Laden's capture and death via U.S. military operations.
Tracey Bianchi 05-27-2010
"So what are you up to this summer?" seems to be the question du jour. With the calendar about to flip into June everyone seems antsy for a summer plan.
Duane Shank 05-07-2010
Professional sports and political issues have traditionally remained separate. But the new immigration law in Arizona is closing that divide.
Lynne Hybels 05-01-2010
Every single member of God's family is as important to God as you are.

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