Friday, June 29, 2007

Jonathan's Undoing

Jonathan Falwell has gone on record as defending Ann Coulter.

Her point was that Bill Maher, a liberal, can get away with saying the most scandalously terrible things about a national leader, so she’ll do the same thing since it is evident that that type of language is acceptable on the public airwaves.

But that language is not acceptable.

That is, if you’re a conservative.

And so the media has been reporting, quite erroneously, that Ann Coulter has stated that she wishes John Edwards was killed by terrorists.

It would be funny if it weren’t so pitiful.

You see, the truth doesn’t seem to matter these days.

The media appear to be more concerned with creating perception than reporting the news.

It sometimes amazes me that members of the mainstream press do not even comprehend the basics of a story. I wonder if they are simply slow-minded or if they are willfully blinded by their political agendas.

It’s got to be one or the other.

Whatever the case, it is increasingly evident that there is no equal playing field in the so-called mainstream media, the great embracers of “diversity.”

Miss Coulter was on the Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor” on Thursday night and she seemed to be worn out by the continuing dishonest portrayals of her words.

Who wouldn’t be?

So I say this to Miss Coulter: As long as you continue to contradict the policies of the mainstream — which expect us to gullibly accept everything they say — you will carry a target on your back. This is a truth that my dad experienced almost daily throughout his 51 years in ministry.

It is apparent that when you stand up for conservative values, and especially when you stand up for Christian values, you will be ridiculed. But as my dad often said, we are not called to be popular, we are called to be faithful.

Ann, rest assured, there are millions of people in this nation who appreciate your willingness to step into hostile fire in order to point out the inconsistencies of the mainstream. May you be bolstered by our prayers and well wishes.

Jonathan posted on the same take on this issue as my new blog friend Luke took me to task for. However, I stand by this position: Ann took her opportunity. She could have responded differently--but she didn't. Her distaste and anger against John Edwards colored her response. She calculated what she wanted to say and said it. Ann's remarks may have been taken out of context and used by the media against her-in a manner of speaking. However, Ann's previous bromides (see my previous post) against the Edwards family does not make up for sniping yet again at the presidential hopeful.

Laying conservatism aside, when are conservatives going to become examples of the very values they proclaim? Laying Christianity aside, why is it OK for a (proclaimed) Christian to talk this way? This type of language is not acceptable; it isn't even permissible to joke around about someone's death. Conservatives should expect better than this for those who tout that they support our values in the public square. For Jonathan to defend Ann Coulter is disingenuous at best, foolish at worst. My hope for Jonathan was that he would not have trod the same political path as his father. I guess I am wrong.

Friday Finds

Chuck Baldwin preaches to the choir again and though this piece is tainted with patriotic theology, it nonetheless expresses what many Americans are seeing or refusing to see.
The Worst Tragedy of the Bush Presidency

It is no hyperbole to say that George W. Bush has done more to demean and mitigate the positive influence of genuine Christianity than any single person in American history. And I do not say that lightly.

Because George W. Bush successfully portrayed himself as the ultimate Christian president, his life and policies are indelibly linked to the very definition of what it means to be a Christian in public office. The Religious Right also share in this perception, as they almost universally and totally gave their allegiance to Bush. Hence, as far as most Americans are concerned, George W. Bush is a Christian, and, therefore, his philosophies and ideas are assumed to be Christian as well. THIS IS A TRAGEDY OF UTMOST PROPORTIONS!
Plus, I came across Senator Barack Obama's testimony of receiving Christ.

"He introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ," said Obama. "I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

"It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle ... and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church, like folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. ... But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truths and carrying out His works."

The juxtaposition of these two stories ought to be plain; President Bush, who has potentially done irreparable harm to Christianity in America and a presidential hopeful, who claims to also know Jesus personally, is unafraid to talk about faith despite the current administration's wholesale claim on it. Perhaps Obama seeks to capitalize upon Bush's tragic outworking and mishandling of faith or maybe he is sincere. Perhaps the President has not squelched sincere dialogue about faith and its practical outworkings in policy decisions. Perhaps.

Remarking on Obama's testimony, CBN commentator David Brody said, "That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a conversion experience." Conversion experience or not, Obama was preaching to the liberal choir, and has made no qualms about being a member of one of the most excruciatingly liberal Protestant denominations, the UCC. Granted, this will not harbor even any condolences from the right, and my curiosity has been piqued if his statements regarding the right's hijacking of the faith will stir any Democratic sympathizing.

Obama clearly seems to be more fluent on religious issues than other Democratic candidates. How will this benefit him? Only time will tell but this much is certain; he will not reach a broad religious base, only those on the left.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ann Coulter: More than Ad Hominems

I have blogged on Ann Coulter before as a plea to fellow conservatives to abandon her outright. As she hasn't tread over the line before, now she is calling for the murder of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.
When a guest on Good Morning America urges the murder of one of our leading presidential candidates, somebody has exceeded the limit. A person who does that needs to be, should be, ought to be, must be kicked off the air permanently.
Edwards, though I disagree with him on numerous fronts, should not be the target of such attacks, nor his family. What exacerbates these attacks is that these come from a self-proclaimed, Bible-believing, Christian lady. Coulter has referred to Edwards as a "faggot" and mocked the death of his son in other venues. It is one thing to take an opponent to task for holding views differing from your own, but this is shameful and tasteless, beyond ad hominems.

What is even more amazing is this comes from someone who has also stated publicly in the past, "Christ died for my sins and nothing else matters." "I'm a Christian first, a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don't you ever forget it." "Christianity fuels everything I write."

However, Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards called her on the carpet. Courteous, clearly displaying restraint and civility, Mrs. Edwards calmly requested, addressing host Chris Matthews:
I'm calling you … in the south when we -- when someone does something that displeases us, we wanna ask them politely to stop doing it. Uh - I'd like to ask Ann Coulter -- if she wants to debate on issues, on positions -- we certainly disagree with nearly everything she said on your show today -- um but uh it's quite another matter for these personal attacks that the things she has said over the years not just about John but about other candidates -- it lowers our political dialogue precisely at the time that we need to raise it. So I want to use the opportunity … to ask her politely stop the personal attacks.
But as is her usual style, she played it off as a joke. This is the type of joke that a playground bully plays and then nasally responds, "Sorry Ms. Crabapple." The joke should be on her--and she should be removed from network broadcasting.

More on the Myth of a Christian Nation

A great post oddly, from the ERLC; To whom Do You Pledge Your Allegiance?

For conservatives, watching the church-state boundaries means resisting the temptation to perceive Americans as God’s chosen people and America as God’s chosen nation. It means rejecting attempts to analogize God and Israel to God and America. Americans are not God’s chosen people. America is not God’s chosen nation. Although God may have a great deal to do with our history, and although God’s involvement with America may put a special claim on America to stand for truth, righteousness, and liberty in the world, that does not in any way mean that America is somehow a privileged nation with a unique relationship to God. The argument that God has a special role for America to play in the world is a doctrine of obligation, responsibility, sacrifice, and service, not pride, privilege, and arrogance.

“God, guts, ’n’ guns made this country free!” is national pride raised to the point of idolatry. It’s as if I were born on third base and I thought I hit a triple.


God has had, and does have, something to do with America—and we have to assume that He will in the future because of the vast numbers of people of religious faith in this country. What many liberals are missing is the danger, the wrongness, the central unfairness of attempting to emasculate, eviscerate, censor, or suppress religious expression in the public square, particularly in an overwhelmingly religious country. What many conservatives are missing is that they too often tend to blur and merge the identity of Christianity and God with America—that’s idolatry. Idolatry leads to worship of the state. It leads to suppression of minority viewpoints. Government shouldn’t be discriminating either in favor of or against religion. Instead, government should be accommodating a maximum range of views in the public square.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Parsley's Saber-rattling

Via OneNewsNow, Pastor Rod Parsley is rattling his saber over Christians becoming "culture warriors."

"When you speak of the church, most of the church's present impotence, its compromise -- its failure, if you will -- I believe stems from a fundamental misunderstanding about what it really means to be a Christian after all," Parsley says.

"The message much of the church preaches today is but a mere shadow of the real thing," he continues. "And as a result, we've become a midwife to births of entire generations who are ill-equipped to engage the culture, unprepared for the rigors of the call of Christ, and unwilling to fight for their King."

It seems Pastor Rod is conflating Christianity of the Bible with this American religious mix of warring in the name of Jesus and patriot pastor talk about the army of the Lord. Where in the Bible are we to take up such arms? Forgive me if I have a slight problem with the culture warrior motif to spread Christian values and ideals. The Bible I read seems more attuned to turning the other cheek, going the second mile, and loving one's enemies into the Kingdom, not converting them at saber-point.
Before the church can be victorious in the culture war, says Parsley, its members must deal with their own sins. "We need repentance," he says. "[We need] individual, moral reform. It was John the Baptist's first message. It was Jesus' first message. Unfortunately, it's our last message."
So the mission of God's church is not missions and evangelism, caring for the poor and downtrodden, ministering to the least of these, but to enact moral reform? Yes, Rod, wear that "moral police" badge with pride.

Does this strike you as odd?

Rudy Giuliani is set to make a speech at Pat Robertson's Regent University.

The Republican presidential hopeful is due to give a speech at the preacher's Regent University in Virginia, marking one of the most explicit appeals to date by Giuliani to fundamentalist Christian voters.

It's a tall order for the thrice-married Giuliani, who will likely try to skirt his liberal views on abortion and other social issues and dwell instead on his tax-cutting, tough-onterror prescriptions for America, aides said.

Before Falwell's unfortunate passing, Giuliani had been cozying up to him; now though it seems Pat Robertson may be the only go-to guy for harboring those valuable votes from the far right. Knowing that Pat has not endorsed anyone thus far, "Even the slightest nod now from Robertson, who declined to be interviewed for this article, could help Giuliani sell himself to conservatives."

Not a chance, Rudy.

Via Covenant News

A Vote for Romney: Disloyal to Jesus?

I am becoming increasingly distressed about the mixing of faith and politics and how it is affecting every single policy decision and has become nearly the only talking point among evangelicals when discussing political candidates. Some are as comfortable as peas and carrots, such as Obama and his address Saturday at the UCC General Synod.

Now however, this BP News piece says that a vote for Romney may mean disloyalty to Christ.
"All of us are proud and blessed to be part of a nation where religious practice is protected and honored," Roberts said in concluding his remarks. "Simultaneously, because we live in an open, free and competitive marketplace of religious ideas, it is important that our candidates for public office -- if they are practicing religious persons -- be as candid and open about their religious convictions and practices as possible. It is also recognized that they may choose not to do so, but in being transparent, trust and admiration in a candidate's honesty will only be enhanced.

"As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, a candidate's spiritual values are not the only criteria, by any means, for public office, but as voters, exercising our rights as citizens, to ignore altogether candidates' religious perspectives would be potentially unwise, irresponsible and possible disloyal to our allegiance to Jesus Christ, Lord of lords and King of kings."
As Richard Land says, we are hiring a commander in chief, not a pastor (nor theologian) in chief. Are we looking for faith or competency?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yet Another Lousy Church Sign

Seen on a charismatic church going out of town today:
Do you observe Sunday or Funday?
Oh yes--go ahead--insult non-believers and potential visitors. Yet again I am thankful the church I serve has no marquee sign.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Movie Recommendation: The Last Sin Eater

This movie was a surprise. Typically, most movies with a Christian message tend to come off as baptized copycats of secular themes. However, The Last Sin Eater doesn't even try to follow any secular trends. A community of Welsh immigrants in 1850's Appalachia attempt to hide deep, dark secrets, going all the way back to the colony's original founding.

The title refers to an inherited custom of choosing a beggar or social outcast as a "sin eater", that when a person dies, in exchange for food and drink (incidentally, wine and bread) he would come and "eat" the person's sins so that they could "depart in peace."

A young girl, Cadi, becomes obsessed with the sin eater because of a past sin she deems so horrible that it must be taken away. She goes off on a quest to find this man only to discover that once she finds him and he, having been ostracized from the community and risking ostracism herself, even after "eating" her sins, he offers her no absolution, only more pain.

You can see where this is headed, right?

She soon meets a man of God who preaches by the riverside and he offers her the last sin eater, One who can take away all her sins, assuring her that there are no sins that He cannot eat.

The film has an overt Gospel message, the most clear and comprehensive I have ever heard in a modern film (even the name of Jesus was mentioned, as Savior). In fact, that was the only reason the film was rated PG-13, except possibly for some disturbing dream sequences.

The resolution of the film was gratifying, the whole community allowing the truth of their horrid past to be revealed and absolved. Though the beginning was confusing because of the peculiarity of the "sin eating" custom, Cadi's persistent search piggy-backed me onto the movie. A true, graphic film portrayal of the Gospel and its life-altering message, I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Image courtesy of IMDb.

Echoes of Virginia Tech

A Rescue from Madness

A well-written piece of one young lady's rescue, despite life-threatening injury in Norris Hall, from the chaos of April 16th, a day that will become as infamous as September 11th. A worthy read yet not for the faint of heart.
"We've been hurt," the voice whispered, terrified, into a cellphone.

On the other end of the line, Virginia Tech Police Lt. Debbi Morgan could hear gunfire. It was so loud that it sounded as if someone was shooting right into the receiver.

"Where are you?" Morgan asked, doing her best to stay calm.

"Two-Eleven Norris Hall," the voice said so softly that it was obvious to Morgan that the person did not want to be heard.

A Gentle Reminder

Selah V writes this morning:
All the details around me, created to distract, confuse, produce fear and worry. But in the midst of every storm there is peace when our minds are stayed on the Lord Himself.
Thanks Selah.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Living in the Land of 10,000 Questions

Spiritual lessons come in the most unlikely places. With so many small children in the house, questions are going to be asked. Lots of them. My wife and I are standing in the kitchen, exchanging thoughts about our days when three out of the four barrel in spouting a flurry of questions. After fielding the interrogations, I wearily commented, "We live in the Land of 10,000 Questions." Living in the Land of 10,000 Questions is not an easy endeavor.

Daddy, can we go to the creek? Can I have some ice cream? Will you read me a book? Can I play a game on the computer? Can we go fishing? Can we go to the store? Will you play a game with me? Will you come outside? Can we watch a movie? Can I have snack? Can we go over to Mr. and Mrs. Conners'? Can we print a picture off the computer? Can we go to the library? Can Rebecca come over? Can we go to the pool? Can we go on eBay and look at Wishbone books? Can we go to whits end dot o-r-g?

That is just a brief smattering of the hundreds of questions that are asked each day. And most of the time, I have to say no. I don't like saying no, but often when the timing isn't right, it is impossible to offer an affirmative response; like asking in the middle of preparing supper, or when I'm brushing my teeth, or when I am headed out the door on a pastoral call.

In the midst of getting our standard fare of cereal and juice together for breakfast I was asked a question. I don't remember what the question was nor does it matter. I remember my response and it was like the proverbial two by four upside the head.

"Sweetheart, will you for once ask daddy a question he can say yes to?"

Like I said, I don't like saying no. It pains me to turn one of my babies down and answer negatively to one of their earth shaking, ground trembling requests, like, "Can we go to the store and buy some string?" String? String? Why do you need string? At this hour? Now? Why? What for? String?

It is amazing the spiritual lessons that often emanate from our own hearts, especially spurned by childlike requests. Perhaps I myself, in all those hundreds of prayer concerns I have been praying, perhaps I have not been asking questions He can say yes to.
You ask and you do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:3

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Obama, "Hope-monger"

I have been asked a time or two which political candidate I am favoring for 2008. I must say I am leaning toward Ron Paul, though I am not sold on him yet. I am not thrilled with any of the Republican contenders. I will say though--I like Obama.

He jokingly refers to himself as a hope-monger--something I think the American people are lacking right now given the current political scene. In The Nation, blogger David Corn chronicled Tuesday evening's "Take Back America" conference in which Obama and Edwards delivered back-to-back speeches. Corn's summary:
But his appeal was not his policy shopping list. He was promoting himself foremost as an agent of change who can bring about "a new kind of politics." He offered the crowd "a simple truth, a truth I learned all those years ago as an organizer in Chicago...that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it."
Obama wowed the audience. Touching on all the right policy points--health care, education, greenhouse emissions, minimum wage, Iraq, and even torture, he connected. Obama knows how to weave personal stories in with policy promises and how his policy will personally touch your life and make it better. "I am your man," he proclaimed.

I don't know if I can get behind Obama but I sure do like him.

Just for Fun

Laughing over breakfast this morning, my wife shared with me a couple of wacky definitions she came across on a message board for letterboxing that she frequents. A few for your enjoyment:

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly. (my favorite, though not too far from the truth)

Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future. (though this is good too)

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it. (Huh? What?)

Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out. ('Nuff said)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Decalogue for Drivers

The Vatican has taken road rage seriously. What the cops cannot handle, evidently religion can, and so they will try by issuing the Ten Commandments for drivers. They include obeying speed limits, praying before getting behind the wheel, justice in the event of a crash, and not driving slow in the passing lane (OK, that one isn't really in there, but it ought to be).

The Rev. Keith Pecklers, a Jesuit professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, said Martino was clearly responding to an underreported social concern: an increase in traffic deaths in places like Italy and Spain because of speeding, as well as an increase in road rage, aggressive driving and DUI in places like the United States.

"It may be surprising for people because we're accustomed to the church speaking out about sexual matters, capital punishment, immigration," he said. "The point Cardinal Martino is making is that driving is itself a moral issue. How we drive impacts on the lives of ourselves and others."

Pecklers dismissed any suggestion that Martino's "Ten Commandments" were at all sacrilegious, saying it was "creative pedagogy" that would certainly get people's attention. He stressed that they could never be considered binding in the way the official Ten Commandments are.

Ahh, yes, here is yet another meager attempt at trying to coerce Christian behavior by legislating morality. No, the indwelling presence of Christ cannot lead believers to drive like Jesus would, but enacting a bunch more laws sure will. If we do not expect people to be obedient to traffic laws, how will imposing extra laws make certain that happens? I certainly appreciate that the guidelines are attempting to ensure that the use of a vehicle should not be an occasion for sin, but will a parody of the Ten Commandments do the trick? Creative pedagogy indeed.

As NPR blogger Tom Regan wryly commented, "HA! I always knew those guys in muscle cars who swerved by in no-passing zones were going to hell."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Been Tagged...

I have been tagged by Brandon at Eleutheros. Here's how it works:

1. Those Tagged will share 5 things they dig about Jesus.
2. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.
3. Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here so that others can read them.

My five:
  1. He forgives when no one else forgives.
  2. He encourages when no one else encourages.
  3. He loves when no one else loves.
  4. He listens when no one else listens.
  5. He weeps when no one else weeps.
I am supposed to tag five more bloggers in this, but since the majority of bloggers I would naturally tag already have been, I'll tag four:

1. SelahV
2. Kat
3. Peter
4. Jill (Just to get you back to blogging again!)

Thanks Brandon!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Barack Obama's Father's Day Message

Speaking to an invitation-only crowd at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in my hometown of Spartanburg, SC, presidential hopeful Barack Obama shared a stirring testimony couched in economic disparity.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday that fathers have to share the responsibility for raising children and caring for families because their role doesn't end at conception.

Days before Father's Day, the first-term Illinois senator and father of two daughters delivered his life message as well as an assessment of what government needs to do in remarks at a Baptist church.

"It's about to be Father's Day," he said. "Let's admit to ourselves that there are a lot of men out there that need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; who need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise a child."

He recalled his own upbringing as the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas. Obama said he grew up with a father he know only through letters and stories told by his mothers and the relatives who raised him.

He didn't share any original thoughts as far as I can tell, but he does seem solid on parenting and fatherhood.

A Possible Answer to Why Atheists are Speaking Out

Pastor Chris offers an answer as to why atheists are asserting themselves and their books are topping the best-seller lists.
"Although Christians may profess to be doing a good deed by sharing their religion with others, in reality it's very often the case that they are simply not treating non-believers with the respect and consideration they deserve. . . . Atheists are treated not as human beings worthy of equal consideration, but as targets — almost as if they are being hunted. It shouldn't be a surprise when atheists find this annoying and complain."
Chris goes on to explain--and I agree--that boundaries should be respected. It is up to God to overcome those boundaries and to scale a wall in the name of Christ that has an obvious "Keep Out" sign posted is detrimental to that individual ever committing his or her life to Christ. This is a good lesson to remember to treat all people not as evangelistic targets but as real people with lives, feelings, jobs, concerns, and anxieties.

Update: The article that Chris references is not original, but rather is from an atheist board. Sorry about the attribute!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Remember the Graham Family

Ruth Bell Graham dies at 87.

God is Not Great

At least that is the title of a bad book slamming the Good Book. Christopher Hitchens, new kid on the atheistic block, attempts to cause more believers to abandon their faith for an empty, meaningless substitute. The book however is nothing more than bloviation and caustic bromides, without any real point nor purpose. Commonweal reviews:
But as Mark Twain once mused, give a man a reputation as an early riser and he can sleep until noon. With God Is Not Great, a caustic polemic on the evils of religion, Hitchens has earned the dubious honor of confirming Twain’s aphorism. Anyone expecting a masterful demolition of all things sacred will be disappointed. Bullying and shallow, God Is Not Great is a haute middlebrow tirade, a stale venting of outrage and ridicule. Beneath his Oxbridge talent at draping glibness in the raiment of erudition, Hitchens proves to be an amateur in philosophy, an illiterate in theology, and a dishonest student of history. Too belligerent to be nimble and too parochial to be generous, the once-captivating Hitchens demonstrates why he has forfeited any claim on our attention.
Dawkins sparked an interest and was a worthy read (though I didn't convert). God is not Great? Even the title is lame. (H/T Carlos)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Atheism Gaining Ground

As regular readers know, I slogged my way through Richard Dawkins' magnum atheistic opus, The God Delusion. The extensive acceptance of atheism is a cause for concern and should give us a few moments pause. It also gives us a barometer to judge just how well the church is doing. OneNewsNow reports:
The time for polite debate is over. Militant, atheist writers are making an all-out assault on religious faith and reaching the top of the best-seller list, a sign of widespread resentment over the influence of religion in the world among nonbelievers.
Many of these atheistic evangelists are drawing crowds debating theologians and other clergy. I find it fascinating that people are open to embrace a life devoid of God and that books like The God Delusion top best-seller lists. Could it be indicative of the fact that the church has little to say, or just won't? Or the fact that too much time is spent on church and not enough on Jesus?

More Evangelical Nonsense on Climate Initiatives

This BP News story relates to us yet more evangelical foolishness on the issue of global warming, this time that to be pro-environmental means you are either anti-evangelism or simply uncompassionate.

Russ Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said:
Southern Baptists and other likeminded evangelicals "are concerned that tying Bible verses to any specific legislation on global warming, especially when there are potentially harmful results, could serve both to harm the public interest and trivialize the Christian Gospel," Moore said [emphasis mine].
And even more confusing is David Barton's take on environmental concern.
He told the committee that evangelicals "simply will not place the theoretical needs of the environment above the actual needs of the poor."
As I remarked to frequent commenter selahV, I just do not understand why conservatives are so adamantly opposed to global warming initiatives. Just how does caring for the environment truncate evangelism? And are the poor not part of the environment? Will global warming not affect their lives as well?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Global Warming: A "Romantic Error?"

Dick Armey contends that Al Gore has committed a romantic error in his assessment of environmental change.
Armey says the "hysteria" Gore has created over global warming has replaced "serious, adult science" in environmental analysis. And he laments that even President Bush apparently has been swayed by that hysteria generated by Gore and other global warming alarmists. Gore, says the former Texas lawmaker, has given a new definition to "shortsighted and self-serving" political behavior.
As if other politicians have not promoted policy for self-aggrandizement, yet the science confirming global warming is to be rejected because it is more of a political maneuver than concern for the globe's well-being. And what is short-sighted about environmental concern?

The Myth of a Christian Nation

Melissa Rogers quotes Tom Krattenmaker of USA Today on the "pointless argument about whether or not America is a Christian nation."

Whether this country is Christian depends entirely on how we define the terms, of course. Our Constitution: secular. Our history and culture: religious.

And what do we mean by "religious"? If we're talking about rhetoric, volume and public display, it has been a very religious time indeed. If we mean behavior that creates peace, extends compassion to the less fortunate and reaches out to strangers outside our borders, we have a way to go. If we are a Christian nation, shouldn't we more consistently behave like one?

Definitions are everything. America is very religious, but not very Christ-like. (H/T Carlos)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Faith or Competency?

I promised Streak that if I could find the link to this article I would post it. I read it in my parents' local newspaper while visiting my grandmother. The article has a good take on how the standstill of the abortion debate and gay marriage have molded the Republican platform and how conservative voters in the next election are looking for more. Are Republicans going to refuse to answer those concerns? Its worth a perusal.
Voters looking for basic competency in next president

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Prayer Concern...

I just received word that my grandmother, who is 85 and my only surviving grandparent, fell and broke her hip. She will be having surgery. If you will, please remember her in your prayers over the course of the next few days. We may be traveling but have yet to decide. Many thanks...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Romney Backpedals

From CNN:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been questioned so much about his Mormon faith -- 46 percent of those polled by Gallup in March had a negative opinion of the religion -- that he has taken to emphasizing that he is running for a secular office.
Faith has become so entrenched in the political race that the lines are not even blurred anymore. They have merged into one.

Stewardship of the Environment: Not an Evangelical Priority

I came across this recent poll and it proves that global warming is fairly low in priority on most evangelicals' lists. I think this issue calls for a balance.
At the top 1.97%
Near the top 3.88%
Somewhere in the middle 10.44%
Near the bottom 13.10%
At the bottom 9.44%
Doesn't belong on the list 61.16%
There is science that proves global warming is indeed a trend in the environment, yet most evangelicals do not consider it a salient issue even to discuss. I do not agree with such as John MacArthur who uses pre-tribulation eschatology to discount it or even Jerry Falwell who simply said "I don't believe it." It also reminds me of when Joel Hunter declined taking the helm of the Christian Coalition.

This issue calls for balance; like many others.

Virginia and the Death Penalty

Streak had an interesting post today on the usage of the death penalty and comparing the United States' usage to that of Iran. He contends that Iran and the US are practically synonymous in their usage of it. In the comment thread, I became interested in my state's death penalty history. I was shocked to discover how horrific that history is.
History of the death penalty in Virginia:
  • Virginia introduced the death penalty to the "New World" by hanging George Kendall in the early 1600's
  • Virginia has carried out over 1,300 executions in its history, more than any other state.
  • Virginia has executed more women and the youngest children of any state in the nation.
  • Between October of 1908 and March of 1962, Virginia used the electric chair to execute 236 people. 201 of those were black males, 34 were white males; one, Virginia Christian, was a 17-year-old black female. During that period, the youngest, Percy Ellis, was executed at the age of 16.
  • In February of 1951, Virginia executed 8 men in a 72-hour period. All 8 men were black and 7 were executed for the rape of one white woman. These seven were known as the Martinsville Seven.
  • Virginia's single year record for executions is 17 in 1909.
It is the typical conservative position to endorse the death penalty, but I'm not so sure. With numbers like these it makes the issue not quite so clear-cut.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pastor in a Box

H/T to SelahV for pointing us to this story about one young lady's personal experience with pulpit plagiarism.

While my oldest daughter and I were browsing through the lists of sermons available for purchase, she suddenly pointed at the computer screen and said, “Wait! I remember hearing that sermon series!”

It turns out that almost every sermon we’d ever heard that particular pastor preach was something he’d purchased from Willow Creek.
Selah described the story as unbelievable. I find it tragic and shameful.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Bill Maher and the Grace of Double Standards

I am not much on Bill Maher because he is generally a nasty man with even nastier opinions and I don't blog much on the opinions such as his. However, this time speaking ill of the dead, he has yet to be called out on his irreverent and just plain mean statements regarding the death of Jerry Falwell. While the national media has taken about every opportunity to blast the dead leader, Bill Maher's hate rhetoric goes unchallenged.

The Morality in Media spokesman [Bob Peters] says while Christian leaders should not get special treatment, they should be treated with respect. "I'm not saying that Christian leaders shouldn't be criticized when they've done something wrong," he points out, "but if there are rules of civility that generally apply, why should it be that it's okay to violate those rules when it comes to Christian leaders...?"

Of course, this is not an effort to "countenance nastiness in any direction," Peters insists. "I just think the same standards should apply," he says.

And they should.

Can you Spell "Serrefine"?

Evan O'Dorney can and he won the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee by spelling that word. Incidentally, and I say this with satisfaction, I actually could spell that word because of a lengthy stint as a sterile processing technician while I was in college. A serrefine is a small vessel clamp used in heart surgery.

Oh and by the way, Evan is a homeschool kid!

Thoughts from Lynchburg

I had to make the trek fifty-five minutes north today to the Lifeway Store in Lynchburg to pick up Bibles for our graduates. I have never been impressed with the Lifeway Store, but they do provide a meager amount of service for the average pastor and Bible imprinting was particularly high on my list this week.

The store has never had a good selection of books; they always tend to be shallow (Lucado anyone?) and froofy (technical term), though not always. As I perused the "Pastoral Helps" section (I didn't buy anything), on the top shelf were "top picks." Interestingly, here are the titles: Future Church, Simple Church, Breakout Churches, The Emotionally Healthy Church, The Purpose Driven Church, and The Monday Morning Church.

There is a spiritual/ecclesiological lesson in there somewhere.


A brief note on parents and children: Eating at Chick-fil-A, a family was sitting opposite me with two small boys. One boy was proper, eating his lunch, causing no trouble. The other boy, a little older, wasn't a bad boy, just a little active. I heard the words, "Stop it son," too many times. A packet of ketchup or spilled drink should never be more important than your child. The parents were constantly wagging fingers and wagging heads, their expressions and audible sighs communicating to the boy their constant disdain for him. I was greatly saddened. Body language communicates so much.


And this isn't a lousy church sign, but a lousy birthday card. My mom's birthday is this month (the 21st, to be precise) so I thought I would go ahead and get her card to put back; try to be more of a Boy Scout than the consummate procrastinator. Is it just me or are the "religious" cards just lame and/or stupid? I picked one up and on the front it said, "Since God couldn't be everywhere at once, He invented mothers."

Don't sacrifice correct for cute . Sigh.


Plus, Lynchburg is still reeling from the death of Jerry Falwell. I counted five marquees wishing the family well. May God bless the Falwell family.