Archive for the ‘why i love memphis’ Category

I watched a video today by Tim Keller called “Grace and the City”. It is a really interesting discussion of what a City is and what that means for us as Christians. He covers alot of ground in 40 minutes, from how Christians engage the culture to the basic characteristics of a City to a Biblical view of work. It’s a thoughtful look at how we as Christians relate to the City, and how we should relate to the City. At one point he points out that the population density in Manhattan is higher than almost anywhere in North America, and that therefore it has the highest concentration of the image of God! Funny, interesting, and the more you think about it the more challenging a comment it is. Here’s the link to the video:



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There are some places to eat in Memphis that have, deservedly so, developed cult-like status locally. Think Jerry’s, Brother Juniper’s, Bryant’s- comfort food. While you’ve probably heard of these places, and have a few of your own to add, I have one that you might not have heard of. Ching’s Wings. Ching’s is in a strip mall on the east side of Getwell just south of Park and it has the best wings you will ever eat. I couldn’t pretend to tell you what he does different, I just know that his wings are unlike any other I’ve had. That’s the best reason to love Ching’s, but not the only one. The place itself it decked out with autographed pictures and jerseys of Memphis Tiger basketball and football players, and it’s not unusual to run into the players themselves. It is probably the reason Calipari was able to bring in so many high-level recruits, kind of our secret recruiting weapon. One last reason to love Ching’s is the owner, Lafayette. We met him waiting for an order one night and he made us feel completely at home. Being there you get the sense that he treats everybody that way. You have to love these places that are truly a cross-section of Memphis, where no matter what part of town you come from, you’re made to feel welcome.

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Audubon Park is more or less an extended backyard for us.  Lots to say about this, including the awesome Cancer Survivor’s Park with loads of flowers for much of the year.  For now I’ll note the wildlife:  in the time we’ve lived here, apart from the usual wildlife, we’ve seen raccoons, owls, hawks (twice we’ve seen a hawk eating a squirrel), voles, possums (dead), turtles, and frogs.  A serviceman saw a five-foot king snake this week, and this morning our kids and Uncle Duncle saw a fox (we were at the Botanic Gardens in the heart of the park).

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New Ballet Ensemble is a dance studio in Midtown run by Katie Smythe, fellow 2PC member Clay Smythe’s sister. This morning they were featured on the NBC Today show segment called Lend A Hand Today. The link below will take you to New Ballet’s website, which has the video on the front page. The Studio is doing an amazing job of creating community in Memphis, by bringing “…together children from all backgrounds by providing a professional standard of training, regardless of the ability to pay.” I love that all over Memphis, you will find people like Katie who are using their gifts to love and serve our city.


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Advance Memphis is a ministry in the Cleaborn/Foote neighborhood run by our good friend Steve Nash. They have just been awarded the South regional “Hope Award for Effective Compassion” by World magazine and are featured here in World’s most recent issue. If you want to be both encouraged and challenged about what’s happening in Memphis, check the links and read more about how God is using Steve and Advance Memphis to love the folks in one of the poorest zip codes in America.

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yesterday the ny times ran an article the economic impact of the “great recession” on african americans in our beloved city of memphis. they write, 

Not so long ago, Memphis, a city where a majority of the residents are black, was a symbol of a South where racial history no longer tightly constrained the choices of a rising black working and middle class. Now this city epitomizes something more grim: How rising unemployment and growing foreclosures in the recession have combined to destroy black wealth and income and erase two decades of slow progress.

The median income of black homeowners in Memphis rose steadily until five or six years ago. Now it has receded to a level below that of 1990 — and roughly half that of white Memphis homeowners, according to an analysis conducted by Queens College Sociology Department for The New York Times.

Black middle-class neighborhoods are hollowed out, with prices plummeting and homes standing vacant in places like Orange Mound, White Haven and Cordova. As job losses mount — black unemployment here, mirroring national trends, has risen to 16.9 percent from 9 percent two years ago; it stands at 5.3 percent for whites — many blacks speak of draining savings and retirement accounts in an effort to hold onto their homes. The overall local foreclosure rate is roughly twice the national average.

you can read the rest of the article here and we would love to here your thoughts below in the comment box.

more mercy…

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memphis is a city that has a lot to boast of, be excited about, and strive for. for these reasons i think we should look for any way we can to celebrate our home town and encourage folks to engage the city in beneficial ways. i am not sure tnt’s new “drama” is going to do that. the promo looks like they make a mockery of our city. i mean, jason lee as a leading police officer? really? sure, the national attention brought to memphis will give us more of a household name but it i am not sure it will be the best case scenario. the good news is that, from the promo, it doesn’t look like the show will run for very long. tell me what you think-

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One of our favorite places to go in Memphis is the Memphis Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings downtown. By saying this is one of the reasons I love Memphis, I’m not saying other cities don’t have great farmer’s markets. I’m just saying I love ours. It is a wonderfully colorful and eclectic mix of food, flowers and people.

A couple of years ago our family ran into some health issues that we eventually found out were related to food allergies. As we worked through what we could eat, we got an education about where our food comes from, and how it is made. (Just for fun, read the labels at the grocery store next time you go, and try to find products that don’t have some form of sugar in the first three ingredients.)  As we looked for alternatives and tried to eat more “natural”, we got know some folks at the Farmer’s Market. We met people like Jill and Keith Forrester, who run Whitton Farms, and joined their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We got Dark Star Granola (absolutely heaven in small plastic bag) from Uele at Groovy Foods. We got educated and we got encouraged and we got some really good food. Everybody we have met was not just selling us some vegetables or bread or hummus, but they were generous with their time and knowledge. The Memphis Farmer’s Market is not just about sustainable agriculture or organic foods, it is also about community. It’s one of the places that makes Memphis feel like home.

(Note: There are several other great farmer’s markets, from Shelby Farms to the Botanic Gardens to Cooper-Young, and probably more that I haven’t heard of.)

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In a recent article on the church and mercy ministry byFaith magazine used Second Presbyterian as an illustration. There are a lot of great quotes like this one:

“To spread the kingdom is more than simply winning people to Christ. It is also working for the healing of persons, families, relationships, and nations; it is doing deeds of mercy and seeking justice.”

And it is pretty cool to read what the Lord is stirring through some non-urban churches. The article is worth reading and Eddie, Scott, and Kim are worth thanking for their leadership in this area. Thanks be to God! More Mercy!

You can read the byFaith article here.

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https://www.noisetrade.com/joshuasmith .  Turns out the best musician in our state is not in Nashville.  He’s a little too intelligent sometimes for my taste (Isolde?  Really?!), but what do you do.  Check out the first and ninth tracks.  (A higher quality version of the ninth track is the soundtrack here:  http://vimeo.com/9313482.)

My favorite non-Tennessee song, which Josh will be doing at CUMC (9:31 edition) in the near future, can be streamed for free:  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2010/03/31/only-your-blood-is-enough/.  Absolutely wearing this song out on Itunes; top notch lyrics adapted from an Isaac Watts hymn.

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