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Has anyone ever had any success in handling a situation by shouting, “Everybody just calm down!” Didn’t think so. Depending on the audience (one can get away with it with younger children sometimes) there will likely be immediate silence followed by outrage. If ever there were a phrase that …

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Has anyone ever had any success in handling a situation by shouting, “Everybody just calm down!” Didn’t think so. Depending on the audience (one can get away with it with younger children sometimes) there will likely be immediate silence followed by outrage. If ever there were a phrase that …

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I, as I suppose many of you, was fascinated and deeply troubled by what I witnessed on my TV screen on Wednesday. I am equally fascinated by the various responses that followed Wednesday and Thursday. It was a wake-up moment for us. The change in tone and words in a usually mundane procedura…

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In my lifetime, 2020 has been the strangest of years. I never ran out of toilet paper or anything for that matter. I did buy some wax for making jam because lids for jars have been hard to get where I live. There have been strange shortages, inconsistent rules, violence which beget more viol…

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There is an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” It is a reminder that we may think we know what we want, but when it arrives it does so with a plethora of unexpected baggage and sometimes obligation and unwanted responsibility.

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The relationship between Christianity and the military has, from the beginning, been theologically, practically, and emotionally challenging. My own faith tradition has, at various times, moved from no involvement in secular government at all (including not voting), to pacifism, to full supp…

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Massac County Minister Association will host its Thanksgiving Community Service 7 p.m. Nov. 24 at Community Christian Church, 1150 County Club Road, Metropolis, Ill. Message will be brought by Jim Duncan, pastor of Zion Evangelical Church.

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St. John Knights of Columbus is hosting an American Red Cross Blood Drive, 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, at St. John’s Knights of Columbus Hall, 6725 U.S. Highway 45 S, Paducah. Information: 270-556-3678.

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The election is over. At the time I am writing this we have a good idea of who will serve the next four-year term, but it is not yet certified. I expect this will be extended for a few more days yet. As it should be.

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West Kentucky Christian Alliance will host a “Hallowed Eve” Christian event and singing 3-5 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31, at Noble Park in Paducah. There will be music and free food, including candy. All CDC regulations will be enforced. Information: 270-994-3230.

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I shared here a couple of years ago a story from a camp I directed for 11-13 year-olds in Wisconsin. They are two-week sessions, so there is time to take on some significant camp improvement projects for those who want to take part. One particularly warm day one of the young men said to me, …

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MAYFIELD — A monthslong revival 20 years ago is being reignited this weekend with organizers hoping for a similar result of leading people to renew or find their faith and bring the community and country together.

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Special ServicesMacedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 830 Oscar Cross Ave., Paducah, will celebrate its 146th Church Anniversary at 10 a.m. Sunday with a “Drive-By” service. After the “drive-by,” members will park in the parking lot (wearing masks) and stand in the parking lot (observing soci…

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What I hope to do each week is to help those who read these 800 or so words to slow down enough to give thought to things we already know, along with some historical and spiritual perspective. There are few weeks that go by that I do not hear from someone, and for that I am thankful.

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There are signs that we are living in a world of emotionally charged, high anxiety. We are a glob of an emotionally entangled mess. We see this in the hyped-up presentation of news editorials. We see it in the “outrage” of people who have no idea of any facts, only the emotional content of a…

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I watched it. I watched the whole thing. I watched the worst example of public discourse (I know it cannot be called that) I have ever witnessed. There have been more colorful name-calling examples, mostly by newspaper editors or party spokespersons. One of the more famous was penned about J…

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Grace Episcopal Church will be hosting a Drive-By Blessing of the Animals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 820 Broadway St., Paducah, to celebrate the feast of Francis of Assisi.

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Christian history is fascinating in every century but the transition in the fourth century from persecuted to being the official religion of the empire is difficult to top. Transition from persecuted to legal under Constantine in 313, to official under Theodosius in 380, to the criminalizati…

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I really hate to break this to all our young voters, but the current election cycle is not the most important one in our history. We are in no greater existential national crisis today than we were in the years immediately after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Or around 1812. Or …

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FestivalsWest Kentucky Christian Alliance will sponsor a 2020 Fall Christian Festival, 1-6 p.m. Saturday, at the Fort Jefferson Cross in Wickliffe. Free food, music and speaking. This year’s theme is “The Signs Are Here — Wake Up!” Information: 270-994-3230.

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Editor’s note: Due to “a slight medical issue,” Sean Niestrath was unable to prepare a column this week. Instead, here’s a column from this past January. “Not much has changed, if anything, we are in worse shape. Keep looking for the good,” he says.

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I sure hope we can work through the next year together. The key here is “work.” It is one thing to have an ideal. It is another to work toward it with others. By “work” here I mean doing something constructive that expresses that ideal in a positive way. When one is working at something mean…

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There is a constant fight for who gets to tell stories of the past. It is a matter of perspective. I was taught the “received story” of the United States as a child. The telling of that story has changed some since then, but it is still basically the same story. When I got older, I learned t…

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Special Services/CrusadesHealing Waters Ministries presents The God Encounter Crusade 2020. Services 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, and Friday, Aug. 14, and 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Word of Faith Church, 2207 Ky. 58 E., Mayfield.

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Do you remember the kid or the co-worker who never pulled their weight in group projects? They were quite happy to coast along and let everyone else do the heavy lifting and take an equal share of credit. But then, if something went wrong, because they had not done any work, they could quite…

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Remember when it was socially acceptable to shake hands with others? I am looking forward to that day again. There is so much revealed in that brief physical encounter. Traditionally it has been one of the first impressions that we make on others and they on us. Texture, strength, confidence…

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I do not write to pick sides, although sometimes it may be obvious which side I am on. Some people do write to pick sides. That is not my intention. I write to think on paper, and in doing so anyone that reads is carried along with my personal attempts to make sense of the world I am in. Agr…

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MURRAY — Westside Baptist Church of Murray has named Merrick Nunn lead pastor.

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There will always be “glass half full” and “glass half empty” people. Both will always be right. Personally, the thing that keeps me more on the half-full side are all the half-empty people that spoke and wrote in the past.

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“There is no lack in these days of captious listeners and questioners; but to find a character desirous of information, and seeking the truth as a remedy for ignorance, is very difficult. Just as in the hunter’s snare, or in the soldier’s ambush, the trick is generally ingeniously concealed,…

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West Kentucky Christian Alliance will host “What Is True Freedom?” an Independence Day celebration at Dolly McNutt Plaza, 5-7 p.m. today. There will be music, speaking and food. Bring a chair. All CDC regulations will be practiced. Information: 270-994-3230.

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I cannot say what I want for fear of being condemned as a “—phobe,” or a hater or a bigot. Language has been weaponized in a way that I cannot remember in my lifetime. I am not for hate speech, real hate speech. On the other hand, if an educated nation allows its haters to say what they want…

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Because the United States has such deep and important roots in Christianity, it is always going to be difficult to separate the two. One can make an argument that the United States is the most Christian nation on earth. (A possible exception is the Vatican.) One can also make an argument tha…

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We have been arguing with each other from the beginning. “That woman you gave me offered me the fruit and I ate it.” “Well, that serpent you let loose in the garden tricked me.” Cain, jealous of his brother, clouted Abel on the head with a rock and killed him. Sarah and Hagar. Jacob and Esau…

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West Kentucky Christian Alliance will host “God Our Father,” a Father’s Day celebration, at 5 p.m. Sunday at Mike Miller Park in Draffenville. Music, speeches and food will be available. Information: 270-994-3230.

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I am all out of words. I can say the same ones over and over, but they seem to vanish into thin air and have no effect whatsoever. If I say one thing I might hear, “You have no right to say that.” There is anger, apathy, confusion, distrust and emotional exhaustion gripping our nation right …

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I have heard it said that it is not a good thing to mix religion with politics. The only problem with that is its impossibility. We may mean different things when we say it but, upon reflection, we know the two are inextricably locked together. What I attempt to do personally is not allow pa…

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It would be foolish to compare today with the devastation wrought by the plague of the 14th century. What today we call the “black death.” Most of the destruction happened within a few years, but it recurred for at least another five decades after that. It took England 150 years to regain it…

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• West Kentucky Christian Alliance, Memorial Day Christian service, 5 p.m. Monday, McCracken County Courthouse lawn. Bring a chair. All CDC regulations will be enforced. Information: 270-994-3230.

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Eighty-seven years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln delivered perhaps the most famous speech in American History. In its text is the ironic line, “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” This is, of course the Gettysburg Address, …

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With my schedule disrupted like most of us, I decided to take the plunge and do something I have been putting off for years. You got it. I finally picked up “War and Peace.” It is my nighttime reading just before I go to bed, so it may yet take me a while to get through it. Yep. Just for fun…

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A bubbling stream, a few animals around, a partly cloudy sky, about 70 degrees and a wisp of a breeze — hopefully right after a rain. The birds are singing and there are absolutely no bugs anywhere. It is quiet. That poster says Psalm 23. (We forget about “the valley of the shadow of death,”…

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There is no doubt that our current circumstances have had various impacts on us. Some are busier than ever, others are working in different locations, and yet others are struggling and out of work completely. We are all concerned about different things even though the cause is the same.

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On the one hand, everyone needs to do their part and take care of themselves. On the other hand, everyone needs to look after their neighbor and take care of each other. Both of these statements are perfectly true, but if one is taken on its own without the other life would become unbalanced…

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There is an elephant in every room of our lives. It is a big bull elephant. Rather than being left alone and ignored, he is raging through the house out of control and then going after the neighbors. There is no one left unaffected, regardless of faith, work status or income. It takes some d…

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What a strange Lenten and Passover season we are finishing. I hope never to experience one like it again. We are away from our normal gatherings at this time of year. However, this one is perhaps more like those original events than any we will experience. Each family making its own preparat…

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I want to thank all of you who are reading each week. I am encouraged by the notes and comments that you occasionally send my way, even the ones that correct or challenge from time to time.

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This is how this always happens. This is how disaster overtakes us. We can never see it coming. We have learned to avert, be prepared, and predict a lot of things over the past centuries. But we are still surprised every 10 or 15 years or so by a disease, an attack, greed, or some other some…