Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hey, Momo! Don't Miss This!

Ed Stetzer Interviews Dever At Whiteboard

Overcoming the Pleasure of Classification

This week a friend emailed me with an article written by Pat Buchanan back in March when the Jeremiah Wright mess was in full swing. I zapped her a quick reply saying that I had read it when it first appeared and that I consider both Wright and Buchanan vociferous racists the only difference being that Buchanan had actually run for President and the Wright wasn't running for anything. (As I write this post, I realize that the characterization of both of these men as "vociferous racists" was way over the top. Wright and Buchanan are both men with a deep faith in God that is expressed in very different ways. That said, these men speak from opposite poles on the issue of race relations and use hard, stark terms emerge from deep seated anger.)

The next morning she replied with a short note saying: "True but I like how he (Buchanan) said this..." and then she pasted these paragraphs from the Buchanan article.
First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the '60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.


We all know that the black people, brought from Africa came here neither to be introduced to Christian salvation nor to reach the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity they would ever know.

Second, we know that Buchanan's list of federal programs were not instituted by whites to bring the African-American community into the mainstream. They arose out of this country's multi-ethnic population's desire to see people of all races to have the opportunity to enter the economic mainstream. (I pointed out to her that I had gone to college with the help of Pell grants and federal student loans and early on in my first years out of grad work had qualified for tiny amounts from the EITC program when filing my tax returns. I was able to refrain from pointing out that her own daughter receives Medicaid and WIC benefits as a young, struggling mother.)

Newt Gingrich and others who sympathize with his point of view assume that poverty is a black and urban issue. Gingrich chooses to frame his ideas about poverty around Barrack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, and the city of Detroit. Otherwise, he refers to Native Americans living on reservations. Although such frames are an effective tool in diverting attention from troubling issues facing the U.S. economy, serious discussions about ending poverty can not be based on stereotypes or reinforce the idea that it is someone else’s problem. The reality is:

- Although poverty disproportionately affects people of color, all races are impacted, including whites who are the largest group (45 percent) amongst the poor.

- Rural communities experience levels of poverty that are similar to urban communities—14.5% and 17% respectively. And poverty also reaches the suburbs.

Earlier this morning I read the following from an article on theotherjournal:
When it comes to classifying, it seems that out of all the things to classify in God’s creation, nothing gives us more pleasure than classifying other people—as this, that, or the other. Once again, this can be both quite harmless, and quite good. Consider the pleasure that comes from recognizing and honoring cultural differences, and the benefit of being able to discern which "kinds" of people we want to entrust ourselves to in friendship. However, as we all know, there can be a dark side to classifying people as well. The pleasure of classification can become quite devilish when we are overcome by the desire to rigidly group people along hard lines, and lump them into categories that do not quite suit them.
Senator Obama addressed the need reach toward unity and understanding at a recent rally in Florida:

How many times have I heard sermons from various pastors expressing this exact same desire for their church? The specifics expressed are necessarily different but the principle is unambiguously the same.

Saturday Morning Coffee Sippin' Stops

‘Dean of Oil Analysts’ Predicts $12-15-a-Gallon Gas

let me hear you sing!

Bush-McCain fundraiser not selling enough tickets to fill Phoenix convention center.

Beasley the Miniature Dachshund

Why Every Christian Should ‘Quite Rightly Pass for an Atheist’
(good enough for 3 cups)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What a 23% Approval Rating Will Get You

Outside the State Department's press briefing room on the department’s 2nd floor hang large official photos of Bush, Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney. The pictures were, er…modified by persons unknown. (We did not personally witness this, we must admit — or we’d have a photo to post). We’re talking fake mustaches and the like. The defacements were promptly cleaned up. They reappeared.
--Think Progress

Earlier this month, at the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) Quadrennial General Conference, the UMC’s governing body, voted overwhelmingly — 844 to 20 — to refer a petition to its South Central Jurisdiction. The petition urges the rejection of President Bush’s presidential library which is set to be housed at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

...the opponents, who have raised $10,000 for the public relations campaign so far, are urging Methodists to keep fighting and send donations for the campaign to Rev. Bob Weathers, a former Fort Worth district superintendent. […]

“This is really about the partisan institute, which will do the most damage over time,” Weaver said. “And it’s not just an issue in Texas. Methodists have pride in their name.”

Cutie Patootie Alert

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spiritual Multiple Personality Disorder

The senior pastor having just returned from two weeks on mission in Zambia, I had opportunity to share from the pulpit today. It's about 20 minutes long.

Friday, May 16, 2008

HT: Daily Dish

Email from a friend

This morning I received this email from a friend who works for Wycliffe Bible translators:

In light of the suffering we’ve been hearing about globally the last few days it’s inspiring to see how God’s children react to traumatic events. On this page you will find some modern day “Lamentations”. Please pray for all who do not know our God, and do not have any hope, that he will soon reach them too.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Public "Ignunce"

"...blank slates in terms of history..."
"...rhetoric not reality..."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

**sigh** and **head shake**

Mike Norman, a bar owner in Marietta, GA, acknowledged the imagery’s Jim Crow roots but said he sees nothing wrong with depicting a prominent African-American as a monkey. “We’re not living in the (19)40’s,” he said. “Look at him…the hairline, the ears — he looks just like Curious George.”
Apparently Jim Crow is alive and well...
MORE OF THE SAME **teardrop**: HT: Daily Dish

The Weaver

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

**sigh** #2 of the day

For the first time, Bush revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families: He has given up golf.

“I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.


Karen Seifert, a volunteer from New York, was outside of the largest polling location in Lackawanna County, Pa., on primary day when she was pressed by a Clinton volunteer to explain her backing of Obama. "I trust him," Seifert replied. According to Seifert, the woman pointed to Obama's face on Seifert's T-shirt and said: "He's a half-breed and he's a Muslim. How can you trust that?"

Monday, May 12, 2008


An interesting take generational perceptions and change in the church from the 9marks blog:

One of the older members of our church who was here before I arrived said this:
"Young people tend to overestimate what they can do in the short run and underestimate what they can do in the long run."

And an 3 minute clip from Sunday's All Things Considered on NPR about overestimating "progressive parenting" and underestimating our own mothers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

No Screaming

How do you know if Barack Obama is unhappy with what you're saying— or not saying? At meetings of his closest advisers, he likes to lean back, put his feet on the table and close his eyes. If he doesn't like how the conversation is going, he will lean forward, put his feet on the floor and "adjust his socks, kind of start tugging at them," says Michael Strautmanis, a counselor to the campaign. Obama wants people to talk, but he doesn't want to intimidate them. "If you haven't said anything, he'll call on you," says Strautmanis. "He's never said it, but he usually thinks if somebody is very quiet it's because they disagree with what everybody is saying … so Barack will call on you and say, 'You've been awfully quiet'." There are no screamers on Team Obama; one senior Obama aide says he's heard him yell only twice in four years. Obama was explicit from the beginning: there was to be "no drama," he told his aides. "I don't want elbowing or finger-pointing. We're going to rise or fall together." Obama wanted steady, calm, focused leadership; he wanted to keep out the grandstanders and make sure the quiet dissenters spoke up. A good formula for running a campaign—or a presidency.
Richard Wolfe - Newsweek

And They're Off!!

With Billary's loss in North Carolina and the 2 point squeeker in Indiana, the superdelegates are beginning their swing to Obama and the general election campaign is just around the corner. McCain has benefited from several weeks of the internecine battle in the Democratic party and enjoyed a continuing pass from the press. Will his "press pass" expire soon?

John Harwood on Meet the Press:

Young, evangelical ... for Obama?

"It's not about liberal or conservative, or Democrats or Republicans"

Friday, May 09, 2008

There's a Sermon in That...

Michael Spencer, Internetmonk, started a series this week entitled The Jesus-Shaped Question. His first three articles are as follows:
The Jesus-Shaped Question: Are Christians Like Jesus?
The Jesus-Shaped Question: What Was Jesus Like?
The Jesus-Shaped Question: Can We Know What Jesus Was Like?

I don't normally review comments. Because of the effects of MS on my eyes things are easier for me to read on the printed page and I rarely use the paper or ink to print more than just the articles. When printing What Was Jesus Like?, I failed to omit the pages past the conclusion Michael's writing. I'm glad I did. Comment #20 written by someone calling himself Dunker Eric asks:

Did Jesus die on the cross so it would be okay for us to be just like the Pharisee's except that we believe in Him?

The clarity and directness of Dunker Eric's question cuts to the heart. What are we preaching? Sin management or discipleship?

I'm Excited!

I just ordered McLaren's newest book! I discovered it in Jim Wallis' blog post from yesterday. He says it is like another book that pricked me deeply when I listened to it as an Audible download, Dallas Willard's Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Wallis says, McLaren reclaims ancient Christian spiritual practices -- fixed-hour prayer, fasting, observing the Sabbath -- for use today. Dallas Willard has been playing with this same idea in his call to move the Christian church away from "sin management" and toward "discipleship."

I also recommend that time be spent with the recently released Evangelical Manifesto: A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment.

Read the six page Executive Summary if you are pressed for time. The full statement is 20 pages and deserves all of the time and consideration you can give. The money paragraph for me was this:

Evangelicalism must be defined theologically and not politically; confessionally and not culturally. Above all else, it is a commitment and devotion to the person and work of Jesus Christ, his teaching and way of life, and an enduring dedication to his lordship above all other earthly powers, allegiances and loyalties. As such, it should not be limited to tribal or national boundaries, or be confused with, or reduced to political categories such as "conservative" and "liberal," or to psychological categories such as "reactionary" or "progressive."