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The Illegitimate Jesus
“The Illegitimate Jesus” – Sermon By Rev. Brian Combs, 12/22/21 The first Christmas Eve was not a silent night, nor calm and bright.  Loaded camels snorted and saddled donkeys brayed as they passed the haggard couple already a week into the 80-mile walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  Joseph kept checking his empty wallet, anxious about paying the...
A Eulogy For Tommy Sampson
Written By: Rev. Brian Combs, 10/23/21 A mentor once told me to be “suspicions of perpetual smilers,” the megawatt Christians who live in a world of uncloudy days.   Tommy Sampson grew up one of eight boys. As an adult, he traveled the country as a homeless iterant, squatting in abandoned buildings and scavenging through dumpsters...
Faces & Stories: Eric “The Blue Ridge Boy”
Eric can’t really not draw a crowd. I’ve taken a seat by him on the blacktop and, subsequently, two teenagers and their parents have as well. He’s showing us how Johnny Cash made that chuka-chuka percussion sound by strumming with a piece of folded-up loose-leaf paper. He’s spilling all the trade secrets before we’ve even exchanged a...
Faces & Stories – Meet Aaron
If you’re going to sit down with Aaron, buckle up. He comes with 42 years of peaks and valleys and an urgency to recount all the journeys in between. For a man who describes himself as the thing that doesn’t fit, Aaron grew up in the considerably form fitting tradition of Jehovah’s Witness. His knowledge...
Eulogy for Nancy Bennett
Eulogy for Nancy Bennett Written & Delivered by Rev. Brian Combs, 6/16/2021 Adopted at birth, Nancy Bennett grew up with autism in Connecticut before boarding school in Lenoir brought her to Western North Carolina.  Strolling the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach and skiing the Black Diamond at Cataloochee Mountain were her favorite pastimes.  But when life wasn’t an...
Left Behind
Left Behind Sermon by Rev. Brian Combs, 5/19/21 Jesus didn’t spend his last day on earth assigning a beneficiary for his pension fund.  No, he, perhaps, asked one of the disciples to return the borrowed colt to its confused farmer back in Bethphage. Or took a slow walk through the Old City, leaning against the Western...
Michael & Family
I often see Michael from my office window; sitting, smoking, waiting patiently until it is time to pick his two-year-old daughter up from daycare. For our staff, who care tremendously for Michael and his family, it has become painful to ask if they’ve been placed in housing yet. We’ve been asking for four years. The...
A Letter From Rev. Brian Combs, 3/1/2021
Dear Haywood Street Community, Before the oil paint dried, Janet McKenzie’s icon, “Jesus of the People,” was immediately controversial.  The artist chose an African American woman as her model- thick eyebrows, generous lips, locked hair- to portray a non-binary Savior.  One covered in the unadorned robes of a peasant, a tangle of barbs encircling her...
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