• What I did on my summer vacation

    This was supposed to be about my July 4th and a unique opportunity to watch celebratory bombs bursting in air over the harbor area of an American city far older than the Declaration of Independence, which would be Beaufort, S.C., founded circa 1711.

    But given the deluge I left with those of you at home, given all the efforts to produce and ignite fireworks that had to be shelved day after day and finally for more than a week or two, understanding the holiday cabin fever that beset you, that would have seemed a bit self-serving.

  • CHARLTON: How to decipher complex issue of marriage

    To anyone who has ever said, “Marriage is just a piece of paper that doesn’t really matter,” you were clearly very, very wrong. The Supreme Court decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, and the legal wrangling and controversy leading to those decisions, demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that piece of paper called a marriage license is incredibly important.

    Though so much has already been written and spoken in the aftermath of the decisions, allow me to make a few further observations.

  • Fighting the good fight for us
  • SOUDER: The Founders’ Declaration of ‘In-Dependence’

     as we celebrate the 4th of July, millions of Americans will have cookouts, go swimming, play cornhole, and watch fireworks. A few of us will actually pause for a moment to reflect upon what the day is all about.

  • The legacy of a really big man

    I was maybe 10 or 12 when I first met Lloyd Redman. On warm, sunny afternoons in the spring and summer, he sometimes would show up at our farm near Simpsonville with my Uncle Pat, and they would, with my Granddaddy’s advice, traipse among our four large lakes and couple of small ponds until they found a fish or two who were interested in their bait.

  • CHARLTON: Sometimes the questions aren’t the answers

    During the course of my ministry, I’ve experienced a lot of church interviews. Some of those interviews have taken place with search committees looking to fill a church staff position, but most of them were instigated by people who wanted to see if I held the “correct” theological opinions.

  • The most difficult job in life

    They say that the most difficult task in sports is to hit a baseball, to strike a round ball, heaved as fast as 100 mph, with a round bat squarely, which by description seems impossible. The very best who try fail a majority of the time.

  • SOUDER: Once upon a mattress – and a religion

    Sometime ago, my wife and I determined that we needed a new mattress. We determined this based on the fact that we had begun to experience aches and pains that we hadn’t noticed before, and rather than admit the obvious (that we were getting older), we found a scapegoat. Obviously, it was the bed’s fault.

    I’m not sure how long a mattress is supposed to last, but apparently the lifespan for the best mattress $200 could buy at Value City is about 12½years.

  • CHARLTON: In the beginning, there was love

    As I sat down to work on my first Sentinel-News column, I began by making a list of possible topics. It didn’t take long to compile a rather lengthy list. As I pared the list to a few ideas that seemed most timely, it occurred to me that I should first present the perspective from which I write.

    I am a minister, so I will naturally take an interest in the way that faith intersects with the various elements of life, such as politics, social issues, economics and, of course, religion and/or the lack thereof.

  • Embrace those spotlight moments

    Little boys and girls grow up imagining the big moment in their dream lives. For some that means hitting the game-winning home run, making the half-court shot as the buzzer sounds, playing solo in Carnegie Hall, recording a hit single or even delivering a moving speech in the halls of government.

    They stand in back yards, on playgrounds, on a balcony above a hallway, in front of the mirrors in their bedrooms. Some may hold hair brushes for microphones, hit rocks with a chipped bat or bank in a shot on a wooden backboard attached to a barn.