Nathan Branson

Part 2: Seeing God in the Post-Prayer Present

The Hand from the Sky When the Urgency is Gone

“Belief in God has to be more than mental assent, more than a cliched exercise in cognition.” ---Ann Voskamp

Recently I came home from work, very hungry. I knew there was very little to eat, no crackers, no cheese, no yogurt, no left-over spaghetti or burrito ingredients. So I got the peanut butter and bread out of the cabinet, laid . . .

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September 21, 2017

Part 1: A Method for Developing Internal, Private Gratefulness to God

Does a person intentionally need to learn thankfulness?

"When one is thirsty one quenches one’s thirsty by drinking, not by reading books which treat this condition.” ----Pierre de Caussade

I’ve always thought of thankfulness as a perfunctory virtue for old people and holidays. It was something adult mothers started to develop once they had children. By the time they had . . .

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August 11, 2017

Write on the Whiteboard Every Class: My Advice to Teachers Straight out of Undergrad

An Old School Answer to an Common Problem

If I were speaking to 22-year-old, recently graduated, aspiring teachers I would give them one piece of advice:

Find a way to write on the white board every single class.

This is the one thing I've found that can wake up a sleepy class. I’ve taught freshman composition for 5 years now at the community college level. Like . . .

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July 14, 2017

5 Digital Lectures by Christian Thinkers

Background Noise for the Commute or House-Work

Wrestling with questions in my faith has consistently led to growth. I have lots of questions about Christianity and how it works. Typically these questions float around subconsciously in my mind and I may randomly stumble across an answer in a book, sermon or lecture. Sometimes I write the question down and seek it out intentionally. However . . .

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June 30, 2017

Creativity is Easy, Execution is Hard

On Executing "Big Ideas" and Leadership

When it comes to leadership, I find that execution of a “big idea” is as important as the creation of the idea in the first place.

My senior year of college at UNCW, I came up with an idea, in which my literature professor helped me to turn into an on-campus panel discussion.

One Saturday afternoon in the spring of 2006, I . . .

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June 20, 2017

Five Memoirs that Guys in their Twenties Should Read

Stories That Help Make Sense of the Big Questions

I work on a regular basis with people between the ages of 17 and 25. As a community college English teacher, I am tasked with helping students write the 5-paragraph essay, find credible sources online and write clearly. I walk into work every day hoping to help students enjoy writing rather than viewing it as a soul-sucking chore. However, . . .

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June 04, 2017

Writing Poetry is About Being Aware of When to Write

And Less About Knowing How to Write Something That Rhymes

I started regularly writing poems in 2009 after two friends asked me to help them write song lyrics. My friends Zack, Marcus and I were sitting around a campfire late one night in the mountains. Zach was holding a guitar and Marcus was playing a banjo. Zack said “Nate, you were an English major. Do you think you teach us how to write song . . .

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May 17, 2017