The 14-year old murdered by the state of South Carolina on June 16, 1944

When I prayed at the Black Lives Matter Rally in Estill County last week, as we mentioned names of black citizens killed by runaway police officers, I mentioned the name of George Stinney Jr. After the rally, a couple of folks asked me who he was.

George Junius Stinney, Jr. (October 21, 1929 — June 16, 1944)

When he was just 14 years old, young black George was accused of murdering two white girls in Alcolu, South Carolina. There was no proof he committed the crimes, and 70 years later his sentence was finally vacated. But it did George no good. He was dead. …

How preserving Confederate statues is perverting American history

One hundred and nine years ago a group still bitter about the loss of chattel slavery at the end of the Civil War set about finding a way to keep hope alive. They petitioned the state government for funds, then set about erecting a statue to one of their Civil War heroes. Confederate General John Hunt Morgan sacrificed a lot for their favorite cause, and they wanted to find a way to honor his memory.

Cheapside Slave Auction Poster circa 1855

On Wednesday, October 18, 1911, a statue was unveiled on the courthouse square in the middle of downtown Lexington, Kentucky — and it happened to…

From the steps of the Estill County Courthouse

Black Lives Matter Rally in Irvine, Kentucky on June 8, 2020 (photo by Nema Brewer)

These are my remarks at the Estill County Black Lives Matter Rally. But first; before the rally, County Judge-Executive Donnie Watson told the organizers that he did not support their cause and wanted that to be made clear publicly; so we honored his request.

What a wonderful joy it is for me to be here today to stand for and with our black brothers and sisters.

Thank you to B.J. and Lindsey and all the others who’ve worked so hard to put this gathering together. And, Brandon, thank you for being brave, bold, and honest.

Thank you to our police…

A prayer of gratitude, repentance, and petition because black lives matter

Praying for justice on the steps of the Estill County, Kentucky Courthouse on June 8, 2020.

Earlier this week I was invited to offer a prayer and some words of hope and motivation at the Black Lives Matter rally in my old hometown of Irvine, Kentucky.

I plan to post the entire transcript of my remarks soon but wanted to go ahead and share the prayer now. I hope you will join me in this prayer of gratitude, confession, and petition:

God, first we say thanks. We offer gratitude for all of those who do good and do right. We offer our appreciation for honest and thoughtful law enforcement. …

My experience at a Black Lives Matter rally in Eastern Kentucky (#NoHateInMyHoller)

A proud racist displays the flag of a failed nation at the Black Lives Matter rally in Irvine, Kentucky on June 8, 2020. (photo by Silas Walker, Lexington Herald Leader)

I got a text this morning from a family member. “I’m warning you…” he said. “Black-on-black crime is worse than white on black crime.” (I honest to goodness just saw those same words on an alt-right person’s Twitter.) “Saying black lives matter is racist,” he continued. (Apparently, we’re seeing the same tweets.)

My concerned family member’s warning was in response to my appearance at a Black Lives Matter rally in my old hometown of Irvine, Kentucky, a place where the U.S. Census Bureau says 98.1 percent of the people are white and no one would’ve ever imagined a group large…

How Evangelical fear culture was out of control

Most folks know that I grew up attending very conservative churches. Most of them were Pentecostal. There was, maybe still is, a circuit of evangelists who would travel around and hold revival services. Depending on the leanings of the pastor, each church had their favorites they’d invite in from time to time. You had your health-and-wealth prosperity-preaching evangelists, your singing evangelists, your big-name TV and radio evangelists, your healing evangelists, your end-times evangelists, your clothesline evangelists, and your devil-chasing evangelists. Each one had their own niche, and they were good at cultivating it to its greatest effect.

The Smurfs circa the 1980s

Back in the…

a devotional

Can we start over? Can we forget everything I’ve said and done up to this point? I’d like to erase, delete and disregard all of the minutes of my past now please. I want my next step to be my first. Can we start over?

One of the big movies of the holiday season features Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button. Ben is living life backwards. He’s starting at the end and working toward the beginning. It’s an impossible thing of course, but the idea is weirdly interesting. The movie’s synop says it’s about a man who is “born…

How the birth of Jesus is prejudiced… against the church

Christmas 1976 with my brothers Mark (11), Loren (almost 7) holding Chris (2 months) and me (10).

As a kid in elementary school, I can remember December afternoons hurrying off the school bus and into the house just in time to watch Santa and his puppet reindeer read letters from kids who’d sent their Christmas wish lists into the local TV station. The shows were corny as could be, but they’re one of my many favorite Christmas memories.

I had ideal Christmases growing up. The artificial tree that took center stage in our living room is a big part of my holiday recollections. It fit inside our average eight-foot-tall living room, but it looked like a giant…

How Kentucky’s Governor can continue or kill tradition

Governor Ernie Fletcher and First Lady Glenna Fletcher welcome Governor-elect Steve Beshear and new First Lady Jane Beshear to the State Capitol Building in 2007.

There is a lot of interesting tradition around the transfer of power between the outgoing and incoming governors of Kentucky. Keeping up those traditions is important, if only for tradition’s sake. But a decent respect for keeping them alive is required, especially by the outgoing, and I’m a little worried we may lose some of them this time around.

Matt Bevin is only the second governor in the history of Kentucky not to be reelected. To be fair, only four governors have had the opportunity.

Until Governor Paul Patton who served two terms from 1995 to 2003, Kentucky governors were…

How an incumbent Governor loses the empathy vote

I think most of my friends know that back in 2015 I produced Governor Matt Bevin’s inauguration.

Kentucky’s gubernatorial inauguration is actually a very fast series of several events that are all planned within the space of a month, and all happen within about 24 hours. The first one happens at midnight on the 5th Tuesday following the election, and they all usually end when the final song is played at the official Inaugural Ball.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin delivers his Inauguration Address on December 8, 2015

Altogether, there are two swearing-in ceremonies; the first one at midnight that is followed by a list of official duties that must be discharged immediately…

Kenny Bishop

Co-Pastor at Bluegrass UCC, a forward-thinking church in Lexington, Kentucky Facebook: Instagram: @kennybishop

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