Religion: Burning Thoughts

After the Rev. Cecil Myers concluded his evening sermon on the topic "You Can Start Right Over Now," the lights of Atlanta's Grace Methodist Church were dimmed. The choir sang softly, and members of the 1,200-strong congregation, each bearing a tightly folded scrap of paper, began to crowd the aisles. As each worshiper reached the altar, he dropped his twist of paper into one of a dozen burning urns; some knelt for a moment in prayer before returning to their pews.

Written down on the burning papers were the darkest thoughts, the most vexatious worries, the deepest hatreds that had come to...

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