Beginning in March of 2019, the writer developed a weekly blog entitled "Stumbling Over Stardust" that went to each subscriber at six o'clock every Sunday morning. Since the writer had served as a Presbyterian minister in the South for over fifty years, this created another way of preaching within a digital congregation. This also gave him the chance to be shorter [confined to 600 words or less] and to the point. He worked hard to make sure the point was worth the read. Over those years, Dudley produced a variety of essays on religion, politics, spiritual issues and stories from his beloved homeland betraying how he was able to see beyond prejudices and provincialisms leading many of his hearers to wonder how he emerged from Mississippi with thoughts like that. The premise of the title is that all of us are the same creatures who live in a miraculous universe, and stardust [carbon] is the basic building block for this wonderful life. This premise also fits his background as an astronomer who became a theologian, with a tendency toward anthropology.
Set in the context of some turbulent times when Donald Trump was POTUS and Covid19 was the pandemic undermining our physical and mental health, these blogs helped the writer and readers get a grip on their lives beyond what was happening on the news media. Religion and church life were changing as a part of the unravelling of our national life which was becoming more fractured. The resurgence of racism and the rise of Christian nationalism was undermining so many of the moral and social gains that had been made for the past 50 years. All of these underlying issues created a space for a writer with a background in science and religion and the wit and wisdom of age to have his say in hopes of putting out the fires and reestablishing some framework for faith to guide us through such a time.
About the author
A Quick Biography
For the last sixteen years or so, Dudley Crawford has been pretending to be a retired minister of the Presbyterian Church USA. Some of the people of the West End Presbyterian Church thought he had retired long before that, but he just looked dead tired because he had served that congregation for 22 years, bringing it from a little church in the wildwood with less than a hundred members to a wild church in those same woods of nearly 600 congregants and active participants hailing from all over the map geographically, theologically and politically.
Born of natural causes in Canton, Mississippi nearly 80 years ago, he grew up a hardcore catechism kid in the reformed tradition. He has a BA degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS. and a degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond. After serving two churches in Mississippi from 1968 to 1975, he became Director of Admissions at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg. He moved to West End in 1983. In the late 1970's he also served as an adjunct professor of preaching in the Doctor of Ministry program at Columbia Theological Seminary.
He and his wife, Peggy, have lived in Seven Lakes for nearly four decades. They have 4 children and 5 grandkids who affectionately refer to Dudley as "Big Daddy", a name to which he has aspired most of his life so far.