• 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.

  • SOUDER: School’s out for summer, but class is still in session

    If you are, like I, a parent of school-aged children, then you know that school is officially out for summer. At our house, that means our kids want to stay up late at night and then sleep in even later the next morning. And because my wife and I remember being teenagers, we generally allow both, within reason. However, there was one end-of-the-school-year “event”’ to which I did not agree.

  • A sign of the holiday weekend

    Mine was a Memorial weekend to remember, but not for the altruistic and patriotic reasons – although any father of a Marine, which I am, holds service and sacrifice with immeasurable respect – but because we made a lot of memories around our place.

    During my youth, Memorial Day was the holiday when we would visit the gravesite of my maternal grandfather, whom I can’t remember from my infancy but whose medals from World War I have been for decades part of the decor in my mother’s bedroom.

  • An overpowering storm of fear

    Tell the truth: If you are a parent, you thought twice about sending your child to school on Tuesday morning.

    You looked at the satellite images of the approaching weather system that had laid waste to miles and miles of homes in Oklahoma. You looked at the darkening skies in the west. You thought about families whose children were huddled in a school not built to withstand the right cross from nature’s most fearsome force.

  • SOUDER: Wit & wisdom for graduates (or anyone who will listen)

    To commemorate this season of graduation, allow me to share this letter written to advice columnist Ann Landers.

  • Lifespan of a baseball fan

    A steamy Sunday afternoon in early August, 1963. Crosley Field, the old baseball park in Cincinnati, and the Pirates are in town to play the Reds in that long lost treasure called the “Sunday doubleheader.”