J. Barry Vaughn

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November 21, 2009

“Where is he who is born king of the Jews?” the magi asked. That question alerted Herod to the presence of a rival in his midst. To eliminate the rival he had his soldiers kill all children in an entire region of his realm. “Are...

June 21, 2009

“Have you considered my servant Job?” God asked the Adversary in the first chapter of Job. And that was the fateful question, the catalyst, the push that set in motion a chain of events that would leave Job near despair. Job had...

March 29, 2009

Phillips Brooks, author of “O little town of Bethlehem,” and briefly Bishop of Massachusetts, was also responsible for one of the masterpieces of American nineteenth-century church architecture: Trinity Church in Boston’s Copley...

October 19, 2008

The Pharisees despised the Herodians with good reason. Like their namesake, Herod, the Herodians cooperated with the Roman occupiers and oppressors. The Pharisees, though not advocates of violent revolution, were loyal to Judaism and its...

November 25, 2007

“It’s good to be king!” says Louis the Fourteenth in Mel Brooks’ film “History of the World, Part One,” but the Feast of Christ the King makes many of us uneasy. We have little experience of kings and queens, and much of our...

August 5, 2007

Jesus had just said, “When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say.” Then suddenly, out of the blue, someone in the crowd...

March 25, 2007

Quite a few of us grew up in evangelical churches and were raised on a diet of fiery preaching and gospel hymns. One of the most popular hymns of that genre is “What a friend we have in Jesus.” Jesus was rich in friends and found...

September 10, 2006

I suspect that "pushy" women do an enormous amount of the work that keeps the world going. One very popular pushy woman is Baroness Thatcher of Grantham, the first woman to serve as Britain’s Prime Minister. In the late 1980s, Mrs....

January 6, 2006

I want to give a personal two thumbs up to the movie “Big Fish.” “Big Fish” is the story of a father and a son that begins and ends at a river. The father, Edward Bloom, is larger than life. On the day of his son William's birth...

December 4, 2005

In the year 539 BC, Cyrus, the ruler of the Persians, conquered the Babylonians. A relatively benign and tolerant ruler, in the following year Cyrus allowed the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and Judea and resume their customs and...