Baseball dreams cut short: The mysterious life of Chino Smith

In addition to writing about issues of faith, I also enjoy researching and writing about baseball players — especially players from my home state of South Carolina.  What follows is a story on the life of Chino Smith, a Negro League player from the late 1920s and early 1930s who has ties to the Palmetto State.


Charlie “Chino” Smith

Chino Smith is considered by some to be one of the greatest hitters ever in baseball. He was listed in Sports Illustrated‘s “Top 50 Athletes from South Carolina.” Yet, his legacy remains a mystery to many.

The mystery begins with the basics.  Smith’s birthdate is disupted as being sometime between 1901 and 1903.   In addition, his hometown has been disputed as well.  One source places his birthplace in Hamlet, N.C.  Many others place it in Greenwood, S.C.

No matter the year or the birthplace, Smith had developed a reputation as a great hitter in the Negro Leagues by the time his life was cut short in 1932 (placing his age at his death somewhere between 28 and 30).

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Are we getting even or getting in the way? Revenge and God’s justice

angry handsDo you want to get “even”?

I think it’s a natural feeling that we experience every time we are hurt.  Let’s face it, we can be hurt in so many different ways.  Our hurts can be physical, emotional or spiritual.  And when we are hurt, it’s easy to think, “I’m going to make you pay. I’m going to get you back.  I’m going to even the score.”

Do you want to get even?

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So, you’ve been given a lifeline. Now, what do you do with it?

Hand in the water

Life changes when you’ve been rescued from the pit of your own making.

One of my favorite movie scenes comes in “Unbreakable.”

It’s the moment in which the unlikely “superhero” David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis) comes in contact with his kryptonite.  Dunn has great strength and a way of sensing danger.  In a battle with a “villain,” Dunn falls onto the cover of the pool.

The scene builds to almost panic mode as Dunn and the pool cover begin to slip below the water.  He starts to move his arms and legs and tries to stay afloat, but you can almost feel the desperation.

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Memorial Day: Honoring those lost in the sinking of USS Indianapolis

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a chance to remember and to give honor and respect to those who have sacrificed all.

Today is Memorial Day and it’s a time to pause and remember the heroic sacrifice that others have made on the behalf of our country.

In 2015, PBS published a story on its website that estimated the total U.S. military deaths as more than 1.1 million. Add in the fellow servicemembers, the famlies and friends of those who died, the communities they lived in and the impact of Memorial Day is felt just about everywhere.

The church I attend ended the service Sunday with a video tribute to those who have died in the line of duty.

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Assemble! Life and faith lessons from superhero movies

capYes, I’ll admit it up front.  I’m a superhero geek and I absolutely love those kinds of movies.  If it involves superheroes, I’ll, at least, give it a try.

So, as I’m writing this, I can’t even begin to rattle off the names of the superhero movies I’ve watched and the number of times I’ve watched them.  I do have hopes for Batman and Justice League, but, at the moment, I’m opting for Marvel’s world as my favorite.

In watching these movies, I think that are some clear patterns that speak to us about our lives, our faith and church.  With that in mind, here are some thoughts that hit me:

Story matters.  Some of the worst superhero movies are the ones that assume everyone knows the story already.  They leave out huge details and important character moments.  However the latest Marvel efforts have done an incredible job of telling the story.  I, for one, was never a particular fan of the first of the Thor movies.  Entering into this movie, I had little expectation for the movie because I was not as familiar with the story arcs. Continue reading

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Jesus is THE Good Shepherd: A sermon in 10 tweets


A shepherd watches over the sheep.  Sheep learn the voice of their shepherd.

In John 10 (one of the Lectionary passages for this Sunday) Jesus lays out the image of a sheep pen, a gate, a Good Shepherd and a thief.  In the Book of John, many of the images are loaded with double meanings and point to higher things.

Yet, here, Jesus declares himself to be both Good Shepherd and the gate.  Here’s what the passage from John 10:1-10 says:

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It’s only the Monday after Easter


It’s only Monday.  So much can change in a day.

It’s only Monday.

It’s a day just like any other day in Jerusalem.  The marketplace reopens and people begin to prepare for the journey home after the Passover.

The Roman soldiers that have been in town prepare for the march back home with Pontus Pilate.

It’s only Monday.

The group that arrested Jesus and had him executed on the cross thinks that everything is back to normal.  The authorities think the rebellion has ended. People saw him die.

It’s only Monday.

The closest followers of Jesus have started to get the accounts that Jesus’ tomb is empty. Some have their doubts. Many still haven’t seen him and still think he’s gone.

It’s only Monday.

No matter how that Monday started out, things were changing.  The curtain in the temple was torn.  Jesus got back up from the cross.  Nothing will ever be the same again.  They just don’t know yet what it all means.

It’s Monday. Only Monday.

Centuries later, people were gathered in his name.  Churches and sanctuaries were packed.  People were dressed up in beautiful clothes and wore beautiful smiles. The familiar account of the resurrection was told and retold.  Those who came after the terrible events of the cross celebrated that Jesus is alive.

But, it’s only Monday.

On a Monday, we have to think about the way we view the resurrection.  That view is what has the power to change our lives.

If we view Easter as wrapping up the story of Jesus, as tying up the loose ends, then Easter is just another great Sunday that fades into the reality of Monday.  No matter how “great” the worship service was, it means knowing if the news of Jesus’ resurrection don’t work in our hearts.

And it’s only Monday.

However, if we see Easter as another moment in the journey, as another step in the path, as simply a continuation of a story that’s still being written, then Monday takes on new meaning.  It becomes our journey as well.

Yes, it’s Monday!

And on a Monday such as today, we have the chance to live in the power of a resurrected Jesus and we have the opportunity to boldly proclaim the continuing theme.

He is not here.

He is risen.

It’s Monday and he’s back at work.

If you want to keep up with the Jesus who is back at work then don’t take Monday off.  Get moving!  Tell someone what you heard.  Share the news that Jesus died and was resurrected with anyone who will listen.   It’s Monday and Monday is another opportunity to change someone’s story and journey before next Sunday.

It’s Monday and everything has changed.

Reignite My Story is based on fact that every life story can be reset, renewed and redeemed.  For more life lessons, visit For more, like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter at @reignitemystory.  You may also send email to

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