David Epps's blog

Those who make things happen

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“What a beautiful service!” “This night was so inspirational and meaningful.” “Everything about tonight was wonderful!”

These comments, and more, were spoken to me last Sunday evening following a service of ordination. The individual who was being ordained began a process some five years ago, including the earning of a three-year Master of Divinity degree. As the bishop for Georgia and Tennessee for our denomination, I was the one who ordained him. But I was not the one who made everything so meaningful and inspirational. Read More»

Fine or F.I.N.E.?

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A few years ago, a clergy friend gave me a phone call. I answered and said, “Hello?”

He said, “Hey, Father David, it’s Kurt. The Lord has had you on my mind all day and I’ve been praying for you. How are you doing?”

I responded, “Hey, Kurt. I’m fine, thanks!”

A long moment of silence followed before he replied, “Well, that’s just a $%&# lie. The Lord wouldn’t have had me praying for you all day if you were fine! Unless F.I.N.E. stands for Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic, and Exhausted!” Read More»

Thank a veteran

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Veterans Day is just a few days away. While Memorial Day calls to remembrance the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who died in the service of their country, Veterans Day commemorates all military veterans. A generation or two past, to be a veteran was a thing expected. Read More»

Big Stone Gap

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Some months ago, I came across an article about an upcoming movie, “Big Stone Gap.” The movie is to feature Ashley Judd and Whoopi Goldberg in key roles. Based on a novel of the same name, the author is Adriana Trigiani, who grew up in the real life town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The book centers around the life of the main character, Ava Maria Mulligan. I was intrigued because Big Stone Gap is only about 35 miles across the state line from Kingsport, Tenn., where I grew up. Read More»

Kremlin tactics in Houston

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Politicians in Houston, Texas, have apparently adopted Kremlin tactics in dealing with dissent. The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

This all began when the City Council passed an ordinance allowing, among other things, men to use women’s rest rooms and vice versa. The action was part of the city’s “non-discrimination ordinance.” Read More»

Going home

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It had been a long time—a very long time—since I had walked through the doors. Some things had been changed, added to, moved, or eliminated...but it was the same: familiar, warm, and comforting. I was back in my hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee and it was a Sunday. It was just before 11:00 a.m. and I found a seat about two of the way back and settled in. After 41 years, I was back in a pew at Mountain View United Methodist Church. Read More»

A jarhead's journey

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A few weeks ago, I retrieved the mail and discovered, among the bills and junk mail, a package. When I opened the package, I found that it contained a book. That’s not unusual as both my wife and I are voracious readers. However, I did not order this book which bore the title, “A Jarhead’s Journey.” The Urban Dictionary defines “jarhead” as, “A member of the United States Marine Corps. When used by civilians it could be considered derogatory, but it is used often among Marines. Read More»

Domestic warriors

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Ever since the first Gulf War way back in 1991, the churches I have served have set aside a special day to honor our military veterans. Most of the time we set a time for a special observance on the 4th of July. A couple of times, the veterans were recognized on Memorial Day.

Last year, we finally settled on the most appropriate day to honor these brave men and women — Veteran’s Day. Yet, there’s another group of heroic men and women who put their lives at risk day after day that we have not recognized every year. Read More»

The lesson of corporal punishment

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According to a report in GOPUSA, “Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says he never intended to hurt his 4-year-old son when he hit him with a tree branch (switch). But experts in childhood development said the intent doesn’t matter — striking a child is never appropriate.” Apparently, my parents never got the memo.

I was, what was called in my neck of the woods, a “precocious” child. One definition of “precocious” is “ahead in development, such as the mental development of a child.” Read More»

Vince Dooley, Devil Dog

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Anyone who has been around Georgia and the University of Georgia football is familiar with the name of Vince Dooley.

Dooley spent his entire 25-year head coaching career at the Southeastern Conference school in Athens, Ga. He was the head football coach from 1964 through 1988 and was athletic director from 1979 to 2004. Coach Dooley compiled a record of 201-77-10, won six Southeastern Conference championships, and won the National championship in 1980. After the 1980 season, he was named “Coach of the Year” by several organizations. Dooley’s Bulldogs played in 20 post-season bowl games Read More»