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Andy Watts
Andy is an Associate Professor of Religion at Belmont University in Nashville where he teaches a variety of courses in Christian Ethics. He has taught ethics in a Tennessee Department of Corrections minimum-security prison as well as taught the Inside-Out model in prison for 3 years. He is in his 2nd year of teaching in a TDOC medium security prison through the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative. The men of the prison have become his teachers, reminding him that advocate voices agitating injustice must speak on behalf of the powerless. The disproportionate numbers of minorities sentenced through unjust laws shape his theological conscience. As a result, he is currently writing on the ethics of mass incarceration and theologies of punishment. He is also preparing an manuscript on the spirituality of ethics. Andy is ordained in the Baptist tradition, as is his wife.

Entries by Andy Watts

Gambling, Guns and Jesus: An American Paradox

(3) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 3:52 PM

Why are many Christians morally suspicious of gambling, but not of carrying a handgun?

Perhaps they get their moral attitudes on gambling from a mistaken association of gambling with casting lots in the Old and New Testaments. If so they miss the big difference: casting lots leaves the...

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The Spirituality in Prisons Is Toxic

(4) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 3:32 PM

Prison does indeed have a 'spirituality' and it reflects the spiritual condition of American society.

Pope Francis and countless others in the United States--teachers, counselors, administrators, health care providers, prison personnel and prisoners--who this week find themselves inside barbed wire-capped walls understand the spirituality of prison.

They know how...

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Entering Prison With a Syllabus

(2) Comments | Posted August 31, 2015 | 5:42 PM

Each one, teach one.

So goes the compact black prisoners made with each other during the swell of Apartheid in the 1960's. In a lime quarry on Robben Island, several miles off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, Nelson Mandela and his fellow prisoners educated others...

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Catching Abortions Before They Happen?

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 4:48 PM

I'm an avid baseball fan who learned to love the sport in the 1970's. That is, before sabermetrics and the scientific valuation of players to teams came on the scene. It was also before free agency and the rise of the fan as 'consumer.'


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The School That Democracy Built: A Poem

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 10:24 AM

Like the house in the centuries-old English nursery rhyme, "The House that Jack Built," the building in my unoriginal and crude poem below appears chaotic and poorly built. Perhaps it looks the way it does because I'm angry, shocked, troubled, sad, defeated...

There are no words to describe this...

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Thoughts on the Drum Major Instinct in an Election Year

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 10:58 AM

Dr. King preached a sermon before the home audience, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in 1968. He was serving as its co-pastor with his father at the time. Titled "The Drum Major Instinct," it was a sermon in which, many say, he seemed to sense his own limited days. It...

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Would Jesus Belong to a Country Club?

(10) Comments | Posted January 30, 2012 | 9:06 AM

Two weeks ago an article ran in the Tennessean in Nashville. It described the completely all-white male voting membership of the most exclusive country club in the Nashville area and the saga of one its members. In this news item however, an important story was revealed: social privilege...

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Mark 1:4-11: Does Baptism Make for Better Presidents?

(162) Comments | Posted January 4, 2012 | 1:56 PM

Christians seem to have a genetic disposition for describing people and events through a biblical lens. It makes sense. We are story-formed people, and the Bible shapes our political, moral and social imaginations.

It follows, then, that our judgments about Presidents and presidential candidates will...

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