Hoc est Corpus Meum

Hieronymus Bosch: The Conjurer, 1475-1480

Last week I sat in a theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with my wife and four-year-old son. We were waiting for Terry Evanswood’s magic show to start and sharing a comically small box of popcorn that my wife assured me I didn’t want to know the cost of.  I was more worried, though, that my son’s attention span wouldn’t last the full hour and a half. It turned out I had nothing to worry about. He was mesmerized from the first second to the last. I spent more time watching his reactions than I did the performance.

In my son’s stunned expression, I find something that I long for, something that I believe we all long for in one degree or another—a sense of wonder. In an age and culture where the answer to virtually any question we can conceive is just a few taps and swipes away, wonder and unknowing are absent. It is one thing, however, to suspend disbelief for a couple hours to enjoy a magic show, and another to live a life believing anything blindly.

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The Secret Beauty of My Heart

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I’m going to put all my cards on the table.

I’m a journalist – with an agenda.

There it is in black-and-white. I want whoever reads my stories, or looks at my photographs, or watches one of the videos I’ve produced to see the world the way I do. I want you to feel what I feel. I want you to believe the same truths I believe. I want you to hate the things I hate, and love the things I love.

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Over Mountain Weavers Guild

Over Mountain Weavers Guild in Kingsport, Tenn.

“This,” said Marita Swartz, waving her hand over the intricately woven pattern of threads taking shape from her loom, “gives me life.”

Swartz is one of over forty members of the Over Mountain Weavers Guild, a guild that gathers at least once a month at the Exchange Place, a kind of living history museum in Kingsport, Tennessee.

“It’s an art,” said Jean Green, “It makes you appreciate things. Not everything you can just go into Wal-Mart and buy.”

Many of the guild members are retired, though not all, and many see the art of weaving as a way to reconnect with the way things were done in the past. For some, it is cathartic, providing an opportunity to take something intangible and shape it into something real, something permanent.

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Simply Living

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Editor’s note: We’re excited to introduce Palmer Gregg, Director of Storytellers (a title we all want) at CrossRoads Missions, photojournalist, enjoyer of pipes, and appreciator of handcrafted things. As you might expect from a director of storytellers, he’s a wonderful fellow for standing around under a tree and talking at length during a lovely afternoon. Also, he has a beard—the surefire mark of a spinner of tales.

Simply Living is a personal photo project I took up seven years ago after leaving the demanding and busy world of newspaper journalism. A simple life is intrinsically beautiful in its intentional focus and devotion to a small set of internally coherent ideals. It was, and is, something that I greatly desire for my family.

My intention at the time I began the project was to continue following and photographing this family every few years as they raised their children, grew their vineyard and lived out their intentionally simple life in a world where multitasking and constant distractions are the norm.

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