Subscribe to Columns and Blogs RSS feed

Columns and Blogs

Pine Bluff going forward

About 12 years ago I returned to Pine Bluff, my hometown, after spending nearly 40 years living elsewhere. One of my favorite preoccupations from the start has been the writing of letters and guest columns to The Commercial.

The class of ‘69 had its dreams, too

I received a special honor this weekend. I was asked back to give the keynote speech at the El Dorado High School Class of ‘69’s 45th reunion. I taught English IV that year. I was a bit apprehensive at first. Yet, at the end of the speech, I enjoyed a standing ovation and was “over the moon” because of the “Thank-you-for what-you-did-for-me” remarks and the student who asked, “You goin’ with anyone right now?” before slapping Freemon on the shoulder. The following includes portions of that speech …

“School days/school days”– again

So many things have changed since I began elementary school back in 1949. First, we did not go to kindergarten. It didn’t exist. We never used 20-pound backpacks slung over our shoulders to carry everything from books to cell phones to clothing. We carried our sparse needs in book satchels. They were plastic, light-weight, some decorated with pictures of heroes of the day. There was a little pocket in the front for items such as colors and lunch tickets.

The benefits of attack ads

Negative campaign ads appear to be on the rise with the approach of this fall’s congressional elections and the 2016 presidential campaign. Hardly anyone has a good word to say about them. The standard critique — that they demean our democracy, deceive voters and cause disgusted voters to stay home on Election Day — has the ring of truth. But this exaggerates the negative about negative ads while obscuring their benefits.

College cost isn’t big problem for poor students

To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting more kids from poor families into college, the key to moving up in an increasingly unequal society.

How to stop a gossip

“Rumor has it…” What is it about having the edge on juicy information? What drives people to be the first to have and share some inside information? If someone starts off a sentence with, “Guess what I heard?” you had better be careful to check that information as truth before sharing it. Why is it we love rumors and gossip? What is even more ironic is that they are both forms of lies. If Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44) then why do people, Christians especially, run to them sometimes like moths to a flame?

A Lenten reflection

When my father died I was devastated. I was relatively young, as was he, and we were close — even though my parents were divorced and I lived with my mother in another community. The loss was enough to cause me to register shock. One of my coping devices is to compartmentalize, which I did in this case. As a result, I did not have to deal with my emotions until much later.

Conviction verses condemnation

God does not work in condemnation, guilt, and shame. He doesn’t say, “Shame on you” but “shame OFF you.” Condemnation, guilt, and shame are tools of Satan meant to tear you apart. Satan is a thief and his goal is to steal, kill, and destroy your life (John 10:10a).

Lions deal with parity, not panic

The more I hear the question, “What is going on with UAPB?” the simpler the answer is to me — even when a lot of things have occurred that have brought the Arkansas-Pine Bluff football team to its current situation.

Florida QB has skimpy resume

LITTLE ROCK — Fascinated by the official one-line synopsis of Tyler Murphy’s college career — a redshirt who has played in three games — I wanted more and the additional info was telling.