I couldn’t sleep last night.

So I watched rioting on my television.

Ferguson Fire

And I read Facebook posts and Twitter feeds that ran the gamut from reconciliatory to racist, sorrowful to sarcastic, heartbreaking to cold and biting, gracious and loving to judgmental and mean.

I can’t make sense of all of this.

Do we trust that the grand jury was impartial and made the right the decision in not indicting Officer Wilson? Or do we look upon Ferguson with a suspicious eye – an accusatory glare – disappointed but not surprised by what is simply and sadly the latest systemic failure to find justice? Read the rest of this entry »


In light of the recent tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, I asked Jon-Michael Brown to serve as a guest blogger. A graduate of Ozark Christian College and Lincoln Christian Seminary, Jon-Michael is a biracial American who lives in the Ferguson-Florissant school district, serves as a youth minister in the area, and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. His second post, “I Was Racially Profiled in Ferguson Last Week,” is below.

Jon-Michael Brown

Jon-Michael Brown

I haven’t protested, but I was racially profiled on Friday.

I live in the Ferguson-Florissant school district. I moved to Florissant in 2003 to serve as the youth pastor of a local church, just a few miles from the northern reach of the rioting. My home is just a few miles the other direction, while the college at which I teach is less than a mile away. I regularly shopped in many of the now looted businesses, so hear me when I say “the conflict is real.”

When a new commander was put in charge of the Ferguson security last Thursday night, we experienced a new approach: no more masks, no more snipers, no more violence. Captain Ron Johnson’s leadership was quickly felt in his handling of the protests and then again as he handled the press after the release of the officer’s name and the infamous video. In a short time, I amassed a great respect for Johnson as a true leader for the black community.

Ron Johnson

Captain Ron Johnson (Photo by Ben Kesling, Wall Street Journal)

I don’t make it a point to enter volatile situations, but after his morning press conference I was determined to shake Captain Johnson’s hand and thank him for his service and leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

In light of the recent tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, I asked Jon-Michael Brown to serve as a guest blogger. A graduate of Ozark Christian College and Lincoln Christian Seminary, Jon-Michael is a biracial American who lives in the Ferguson-Florissant school district, serves as a youth minister in the area, and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. His first post, “I Will Not March for Michael Brown,” is below.

Jon-Michael Brown

Jon-Michael Brown

The tragedy of Michael Brown’s death has become the latest cause and symbol for justice and equality across America. His name heralds the rallying cry against senseless killings and brutality at the hands of our law enforcement. Yet, his name rings a familiar, but different, truth to me.

I will not march for Michael Brown as I stand for truth and justice.

I live but a few miles from the Ferguson riots, but I’ve been at ground zero my whole life. Read the rest of this entry »

O Corporal!  My Corporal!
(w/apologies to Walt Whitman)

O Corporal!  my Corporal!  another script is done,
The show has weather’d eleven years, and Emmys have been won,
“Cease-fire,” we hear the end is near, mixed feelings are a-brewing,
To add eight years to a three-year war really took some doing;
But My mind!  mind!  mind!
With your memory it’s always fed,
The days you downed the Grape Ne-hi,
The nights with your bear in bed.

O Corporal!  my Corporal!  remember well the time
When you helped Pierce and Trapper John fight black market crime,
For many years, from your office desk, you kept this unit running,
You had a knack for detecting choppers before we heard them coming.
“Here, Corporal!” said Blake or Potter,
“File these before you go to bed.”
At the same time, you’d say, “Colonel,
I’ll file these before I go to bed.”

My Corporal, you were discharged and go to fly for home,
A transvestite took your office, his jokes did make us groan
Well, now the war is over, so Klinger gets to go,
But your Iowa farm has much more charm than his hometown of Toledo;
You delivered the mail!  You answered the phone!
That cap rarely left your head.
Thank God for reruns, Corporal O’Reilly!
We’ll salute you each night before bed.


It’s almost here!

On May 4th, 2014, the 2nd Unity in the Community multiethnic worship service will be held at 5:00 pm in the chapel on the campus of Ozark Christian College (for a recap of last year’s inaugural service can be found here).

The theme this year is “Our Father’s Heart for Joplin.” In addition to the time of worship, prayer and communion together, we will also feature community development-minded organizations and hear a challenge from our special guest speaker, Dr. John M. Perkins!

Dr. PerkinsDr. Perkins was born into Mississippi poverty, the son of a sharecropper who fled the state when his older brother was murdered by the town marshal. But in 1960, Dr. Perkins accepted Christ as His Savior and Lord and  returned to his boyhood home to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A leader in the Civil Rights Movement, a two-time servant on presidential councils, and the author of several books, Dr. Perkins has a testimony of forgiveness, hope and transformation. He is a pioneer of racial reconciliation, a champion of multi-ethnic ministry, and a highly respected voice in the field of Christian community development. In fact, in 1989, he helped found the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).

Today Dr. Perkins is president of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development of Jackson, Mississippi. He is highly respected and has received numerous honorary citations and degrees from churches, universities and organizations across the country.

Given Dr. Perkins’ passion and years of experience working for racial reconciliation, multiethnic ministry endeavors, and community development and transformation, it is truly an honor having him join us!

Unity in the Community is an opportunity for the Church of Joplin to come together in a visible display of unity across ethnic and denominational lines. The hope for a service like this is to (1) give us a glimpse of the Revelation 7:9 worship that we’ll experience together in heaven, (2) provide an opportunity to fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ that we may not have known we had, and (3) display a persuasive visible unity to the city of Joplin, in keeping with Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-23.

This year, in hopes of encouraging greater unity within the Church of Joplin beyond one worship service, we will highlight several local, Christian non-profit Dr-John-Perkins-Family-of-God-in-Neighborhood-Verge-Quoteorganizations that need volunteer support. If the Church of Joplin becomes more aware of the opportunities to support these organizations, perhaps visible displays of unity across ethnic and denominational lines can be seen throughout the coming year(s).

So if you are in the Joplin area on Sunday, May 4th, 2014, come on out to the chapel on the campus of Ozark Christian College at 5:00 pm for a great evening of worship – and stick around afterward for an ice cream social at neighboring Landreth Park!

Read Other Posts About Trav’s Pursuit of Multiethnic Ministry in Joplin, MO:

Can You Be Multiethnic…HERE?


If Tim Can Stop One Bone from Breaking
(w/apologies to Emily Dickinson)

If Tim can stop one bone from breaking
He shall not deal with pain;
But if a “Tool Time” show is taping,
And Al refrains,
And Wilson isn’t talking
Over the fence again,
Then Tim will deal with pain.


Rising the Star
(w/apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Behold a rising star,
Who made the show for me!
An unknown at the start, he would go far,
Stealing every scene,

In Alex P. Keaton, Fox found his role:
Full of himself and charm,
A tried and true and staunch Republican
Doing no harm.

Skippy, Jennifer, Mal,
All were comedic foil!
But then, for Ellen, in love he fell,
And Andrew he’d spoil;

A long career was born of “Family Ties”:
Films with a time-travel car,
Another show spinning mayoral lies
No longer rising, this star.