Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Saint Patrick

I really don't know a lot about the concept of "saints". The fellowship I belong to did not put an emphasis on saints, and I think the motivation was a noble one. Like most of you, I hope our emphasis is always on the Father, Christ, and the people of God we read about in Scripture. Having said that, we know there have been Godly men and women that have come along to impact many lives for the Kingdom, post Bible times. Many are amongst us today! We don't shy away from talking about Barton W Stone, Alexander Campbell, T.B. Larimore etc. So when I read about people who came before me that impacted the world for the Lord, I am thankful for them. I don't know diddly squat about Saint Patrick. I want to know more. I know my nephew has the same name, so I am already prejudiced to like him. But here is part of a prayer that he is famous for. I thought of it when I was reading Patrick Mead's wonderful post yesterday. If you haven't read it yet, stop reading this one at once and go read it. You will be blessed, promise. I wonder if Patrick's naming was inspired at all by St. Patrick? Anyway, I hope this quote from a prayer of St. Patrick encourages you today. It has blessed me.


Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lost in the Fog

"Lost in the Fog" is the name of a 3 year old race horse that has now won 9 straight sprint races. It also should be the name of the ESPN reporter that tried to interview the horse's owner 2 minutes before a race yesterday at Saratoga. I laughed harder yesterday than I have in a LONG LONG time! This could NOT have been scripted any better if "Saturday Night Live" had tried to do it. This owner (I can't remember his name) is a crusty old rancher from California. He is a no nonsense, straight shooting, tough as nails, face made of leather, John Wayne cowboy. He would have been played by Jack Palance (City Slickers) if they had made a movie of him. The upstart reporter from ESPN (who's name I never want to know) was your typical Pee-Wee Herman looking nerd that is trying to make his way up the broadcasting ladder by being obnoxious, and therefore noticed. He for SURE got noticed yesterday, and within about an inch of his life! So those are the players, and the upcoming scene took place in the grandstands about 2 minutes before the race started. I hope you have it visualized in your mind. It will be sketched in my mind for the rest of my life.

Ok, here is how it played out. The Ivy League reporter walked up behind the old rancher and shoved the microphone in front of the owner's face. Before a first question is even uttered, you can tell this ain't going over good with the cowboy.
The reporter asked: "How much will you sell your horse for?" The old man grumbles: "He's not for sale." and with the look on his face he also communicates non-verbally "you better get the Blankety Blank microphone out of my face before it is sticking out an orifice in the lower half of your body!" Clueless, the reporter says "Why Not?". Ok, at this point I am just waiting to see how many paramedics are going to be needed at the scene. You can see the old man trying his dead level best to keep his composure, and he goes ahead and says something to the effect of "Because if I sold him I would not get the joy of watching him win as the owner, and you can't put a price tag on that." Great answer by the way. Are all old cowboys wise like Gus in "Lonesome Dove"? Finally, the absurdity is taken to the max when the wimpy reporter says: "You played minor league baseball and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. How does this compare with those events?" There is no way I can describe how exasperated or dumbfounded the wise old cow-puncher looked at this moment! Then you could just see the anger start from his toes and rush up to his face. At this point, you could tell that if they had been ANY place else, he would have cold-cocked this smart-aleck young buck who called himself a reporter. If they had been anywhere else, we might be reading an obit for the poor young thing. In the most disgusting tone of voice you can imagine.........one of those demeaning tones that just makes you want to crawl under a rock and stay forever, the old man said "now how am I going to compare 8 horse races with fighing in the Battle of the GD Bulge"!! I haven't laughed that hard in YEARS!! Jan thought I had lost it. Yes, he did use profanity.......and no, I don't approve of that. But I wanta tell you, if you had been watching it you probably would have agreed with me that the punk had it coming. He was clueless.........and so insensitive in several areas. He may be the nicest guy in the world, but yesterday he got what he had coming to him. Now we'll see if the brass at ESPN get it, and teach him how to interview or fire him. This was the best I had seen since a young female TV reporter asked Bear Bryant during a half-time interview why he had substituted one player for another. He very calmly but disgustedly said: "the same reason I do anything in a game, because I think it will help us win" and just walked off. That was before the expression "DUH" had come around.........but that for sure was a "DUH" if I ever heard one. These reporters must be getting paid on the side by comedians for new material. That is about the only explanation that I can think of.

So, no deep thoughts today. No spiritual applications. Just sharing a lighter moment that made me appreciate the gift of laughter. And sharing my concern that this next generation might not get it, if this want-a-be reporter is representative of what is coming down the pike. Horse racing and The Battle of the Bulge. Ya think?

One "Lost in the Fog" was a winner yesterday, the other one insulted the dignity of every soldier who has ever fought in war. I hope they can forgive his brash manner, and his unbelievable ignorance. He should pray they will.

I will too.........after I quit laughing. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A First

This is my first time to post using my new lap top on the road. I still hate it, but I know I should just be thankful and count my blessings. But, iff yu see werds that ar spelled wrong, you'll knowe why. Two reasons, my fingers don't work right on this thing, and Don Eudaly is not here to be my editor. My brother figure helps me out when I can't spell certain words, like kat. Anyway, I know I can blog while on the road now. That is a good thing because football season has not started yet, and TV sucks for the most part. Speaking of football, how many of you caught Jeb on Monday Night football last night? I thought he did good. Not that I am prejudice. It's weird to think that is Jebber out there, isn't it? I know without a doubt he is being light and salt to some young men who don't know the Lord or their Savior. I was already a Seahawks fan because of Shaun Alexander.....now I am a HUGE Seahawks fan!


I can verify that your emails and letters concering the Ann Coulter situation are having an effect. So again, no matter which side of the fence you fall on, let your voice be heard! You are making a difference. Thanks to all who have taken the time to do this.


Today was the first day of chapel for the new school year, and I was gone. This year for the first time since the late 70's, Harding will have two chapels in the same building. One is at 9 o'clock and one is at 10. Randy Harris, a Harding Alum will be speaking in chapel on Friday. Wild horses couldn't keep me away! I'm not sure why, but Randy has not spoken on our campus in a LONG time. It's only Tuesday, and I am already excited! He will be leading our beginning of the year all school retreat. Thank you Monte for inviting him. Randy will also be a key-note speaker at our Lectureship this year. Gotta say, I would match our key-note speakers against just about anybody's this year.....Randy, Donnie Mclaughlin, Buddy Bell, Kevin Withem. That ain't exactly Spam or chopped liver, folks! I'm actually going to attend this year. :) Thanks Bro. Howard and Andrew for bringing in such an awesome bunch of speakers. Next year how about asking Frank Mills, Patrick Mead, and Rich Little?!? Oh, and some Cope fella from West Texas I've been hearing about. Speaking of, hey Mike........30 years ago today we were trying to impress the freshman chicks at our first chapel as studly Sophs. Eudaly too, as a big bad Time of Day member. And don't forget Goober with his Caddy convertible! :) I bet Mickey and Craig did an announcement that first day. Those were the days, huh?


Luke, Alex, G-momma, G-daddy, Annie, Jan and Jimmy.......I'm sorry!!!!! Remind me to never try and be a Realtor.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sargeant Schultz and Ann Coulter

Well for 24 hours now I have been Sargeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes. That won't mean anything to lots of you. Wait, that is assuming there are lots of you out there reading this. My bad. Surely some of you remember Schultz's favortie saying: "I see nut-ting, I hear nut-ting, I know nut-ting!"

Regarding Ann Coulter, here is my take and advice to those who are Harding Alums and friends of Harding. If you are supportive of her coming, let that be known........with a Christ-like spirit. If you are not supportive of her coming, let that be known........again, with a Christ-like spirit. Your opinions and insights and wisdom are appreciated and valued! They DO carry weight, and they DO have influence. So express your thoughts with anybody and everybody.....just do it in a way that brings Glory to the Father.

Pray. And then pray some more.

God is in control. And again like Martha in John 11, we stand back and in essence say with her "I don't understand everything, but I believe in YOU."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Poor Pharisees

I saw a quote of Jesus the other day that I had never noticed. Imagine that! :) Maybe it was intentional......like you, I don't get up in the morning hoping I can be confronted with an "in your face" truth of where I have failed.

In Mark 7, Jesus has just in my opinion given the Pharisees the most damning words he ever gave them, when he told them Isaiah had prophesied correctly about them:
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." That section is in Matthew also, but in Mark He goes one step more and adds: "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men". As if they didn't know what he was talking about, he goes ahead and gives them an example of how they don't follow the command to take care of their parents, because instead they adhere to their tradition of declaring "Corban". And the conclusion by Jesus is "Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down".

Ok, here comes the part I had NEVER noticed before. As if the damning words weren't enough, and the clear example was not enough, Jesus then twists the knife in their back by adding: "AND YOU DO MANY THINGS LIKE THIS". The Corban deal was not an isolated incident......he could have given them example after example. They knew that, but he wanted them to know HE knew it also!

Can our fellowship relate to this section of scripture? DUH! I don't know of ANY FELLOWSHIP that would be able to claim that these scathing words of Jesus wouldn't apply to some degree to their fellowship. Some may try and do like the people did in Acts 7 and cover their ears and yell at the top of their voices so they don't have to hear, but that will not make the truth go away. I hope we get to watch a video of that scene in Heaven. Haven't you seen little kids do that when they don't want to hear what their parents are telling them or a friend is telling them? The scene it makes me think about is the one from "Dumb and Dumber". Is that how foolish we look? Ah yeah, sadly it is. Like little spoiled kids.

So let's quit breaking the commands of God to hold on to our traditions. Let's show love and fellowship towards other believers who wear the name of Christ and recognize Jesus as their Savior, even if they don't have the same traditions we do with worship styles. God's will over tradition. If a group wants to have a sign that reads different than the one out in front of our building (yeah, even if they have had the audacity to change it from "us" to something different) let's love and fellowship them anyway. God's will over tradition. Let's quit using Sectarian language. God's will over tradition. Let's join in good works that are done in the name of Christ, even if those works didn't originate with us. God's will over tradition. Let's love more and judge less......God's will over tradition. Let's offer grace and inclusion as opposed to arrogance and exclusion.
God's will over tradition. Let's be known for our love and acceptance of hurting people instead of how we are the ones that are RIGHT all the time. God's will over tradition. Let's be known as the ones who make a difference in their community by being servants, instead of being known as the ones who think they are the only ones going to Heaven. God's will over tradition.

Why? Let me go out on a limb here and guess that we will be more effective in reaching a LOST world if we do it HIS way instead of "Holding on to the Traditions".
Do we have the faith to do it His way instead of ours? I will try if you will.

Let's take our hands off our ears and really listen to Him. Even when he says to us in 2005........"AND YOU DO MANY THINGS LIKE THIS".

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why I Love Donald Miller

In "Searching for God Knows What", Donald Miller has a wonderful section where he talks about being in a lifeboat. He uses the analogy of the lifeboat for us to reflect on our walk here as disciples of Christ. Here is morsel of what you will get when you read the entire book.


"Sometimes I think it is easier for you and me to believe Jesus is God now that He is in heaven than it might have been back when He was walking around on earth. If you would have seen Jesus do miracles, and if you were one of those who were healed by Him or if you were one of the disciples, then it would have been easier, but for most people, especially the Jews, Jesus would have been a stumbling block.

At the same time, however, we are at a disadvantage because the Jesus that exists in our minds is hardly the real Jesus. The Jesus on CNN, the Jesus in our books and in our movies, the Jesus that is a collection of evangelical personalities, is often a Jesus of the suburbs, a Jesus who wants you to be a better yuppie, a Jesus who is extremely political and supports a specific party, a Jesus who has declared a kind of culture war in the name of our children, a Jesus who worked through the founding fathers to begin America, a Jesus who dresses very well, speaks perfect English, has three points that fulfill any number of promises and wants you and me to be, above all, comfortable. Is this the real Jesus?

Is Jesus sitting in the lifeboat with us, stroking our backs and telling us we are the ones who are right and one day these other infidels are going to pay, that we are the ones who are going to survive and the others are going to be thrown over because we Calvinist, Armenians, Baptist, Methodist, Catholics; because we Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, or liberals; because we attend a big church, a small church, an ethnically diverse church, a house church, or is Jesus acting in our hearts to reach out to the person who isn't like us....the oppressed, the poor, the unchurched.......and to humble ourselves, give of our money, build communities in love, give our time, our creativity, get on our knees before our enemies in humility, treating them as Scripture says, as people who are more important than we are? The latter is the Jesus of Scripture; the former, which is infinitely more popular in evangelical culture, is a myth sharing a genre with unicorns."


That is why I love Donald Miller.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Female Circumcision and Sorcery

Not your everyday title in the good ole U.S. of A, huh? Not that there isn't any sorcery going on, it's just not associated with female circumcision very often in America. I am currently reading a book by Sarah Erdman where she tells of her two years in a small village in rural Ivory Coast. Sarah was a Peace Corp volunteer.
It is an amazing book, and I would think a must read for anybody considering mission work in Africa......especially West Africa. The title of the book is "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha". I want to let you in on a conversation she had with a local health worker concerning the practice of female circumcision. For those who might not know what that means, just before a young woman is to be married an older woman in the village will take a razor blade or knife and cut out the clitoris of the bride to be.
No pain killers, no deadening of the area......nothing. And usually no antibiotics to fight infection either. Peace Corp workers, missionaries, and any other outsider you can think of have been trying to get the people to stop this horrible practice for many years. With education, the situation is getting better. But, as you might guess there is still a LONG LONG way to go. Most of the people in rural Africa are NOT educated......at least in the way we mean when we use that word. I want to share with you an exchange Sarah had with a local health worker named Dramane. The main obstacle to the ending of this practice is sorcery. The local medicine men (witch doctors) say that the village of Nambonkaha has been cursed, that children of uncircumcised mothers will not live. So here is part of the conversation Sarah has with Dramane.

Sarah: Why won't it just die out after today's older generation are gone? You have learned about the dangers of female circumcision. When you are the generation in charge, don't you think you can overturn the curse? Won't people be more likely to listen to educated leaders?

Dramane: Most educated villagers believe in sorcery too. And even if they don't, there will always be enough of the unschooled population to keep the curse alive. Anyway, sorcery isn't just a phase, Sarah. Even if we were to somehow get rid of this curse, another would come to take it's place. As long as people are scared, they won't take any chances. The women themselves want to be fertile wives. They'll accept circumcision if that's what it takes to keep their babies alive.

Sarah: But how do they know it's a curse that's killing their babies? Why won't they accept that it's just malaria or dehydration or a geniune miscarriage?

Dramane: Those are all tools of sorcery. That's what people believe. Why are people sure there's heaven? Why do people think God can hear when they're praying? Sorcery is what we've always believed in. There's no way to prove that we've been wrong all this time.

Sarah goes on to ask him what would happen if EVERY woman decided to NOT go along with the circumcision and defied the curse? Surely then they would see the error of believing in the sorcery in that not all the babies would die......and most likely only a few would. Dramane looked at Sarah incredulously and asked "What woman would do that? Maybe standing up to witches and genies will only bring a WORSE curse. No one would risk that."

Does this give you maybe just a small dose of what our missionaries are up against? What priority level do you think drums in the assembly ranks at? Yeah, not on the radar screen. Satan's darkness still has power in this world, and not only in Africa. Let's be praying for the light of the Good News to expose the truth, at home and in the Ivory Coast.....and all over the world. And let's be ready to ask "WHY" when somebody says "that is what we have always believed". Longevity is not always a good thing. It can physically cause people to die, and more importantly, it can kill spiritually too. We've all seen it. Maybe somebody is asking our generation why WE don't stand up to some untruths also!

May the truth of the Cross soon reach all people, especially those who go thru what these women of Africa have to endure. How are they going to know unless somebody takes it to them? "The fields are white".

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Go Get A Copy of "Time"

I try and keep up with what is going on in our world. I don't do a real good job of it sometimes. I have a hard enough time keeping up with myself! If you get the chance, go by and pick up a copy of the latest issue of Time magazine. The feature article is a special report about "Being 13". I haven't read all the special report yet, but I did read the section about the Spiritual lives of 13 year olds. It's written by a guy named Nathan Thornburgh, and I think he did a good job describing what is going on spiritually with most kids that age. In the article he quotes a priest, who also is an adolescent psychiatrist at Emory University with a PHD, who makes the following observation regarding a 13 year old developing the ability to understand abstract concepts while at the same time expanding their sense of empathy:
"In religious terms, this gives them the ability to discern between institutional religion and an internal relationship with God". Hmmm.........you thinking what I'm thinking? Hope not, because thinking like me means you probably need to go visit a shrink. But here is what I am thinking...........how did so many amongst "us" skip being 13? :) "Us" being, you know, THE church. So many give the impression they never went thru that stage, and went straight to 14 from 12. Anyway, read the article and tell me what you think about it. The back cover of the magazine is an advertisement for an upcoming feature on "the History Channel". On August 7th, they are going to air a program called "Ape to Man" and the catch phrase is "Has Evolution Made a Monkey Out Of You?" That should grab our attention, huh? I plan on watching it. Lastly, the inside back cover article by Charles Krauthammer is an editorial about the recent discussions going on about including "intelligent design" in the teaching of creation in our public schools. His take is that it has no place in science class, and evolution should be the only option taught. Are we going to end up having another Scopes trial? My guess is that it is going to get uglier before it gets prettier. In these discussions, I hope we can speak the truth in love, and truly be light and salt to a world that is hungry to find answers.
Wouldn't it be a shame if we convinced them we were right about creation, but we did it in such an ugly way that they NEVER wanted to be associated with a group of people who are that mean spirited? We would have won the battle, but lost the war. What if we didn't convince them to believe in the Biblical version of the creation, but because we were so kind, loving and caring unlike any people they had EVER been around, they wanted to know more of who this "Lord" is, and this man named Jesus. AHH.....I would choose that outcome over the first one ANY day! Let's be about bringing glory to Him in all we do.

And let's get some folks to go back and be 13 again! :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Heart Ache

My heart aches today for Steve and Teena Tucker, although the funeral for their precious daughter Mary Grace was more of a celebration than any other funeral I have ever attended. And rightfully so! Mary Grace is with the Father......that is a promise we can put full confidence in. But when you see people you love hurt, you hurt with them. I grew up with Teena in Alabama, and all of you who know her can AMEN me when I say with no reservations that she is an angel, if there ever was one.
She is one of those special people that has NO enemies, and it would be impossible to find anybody who would say a negative thing about her. I love her much. I met Steve when I came to Harding, and we were club brothers in Galaxy. He was someone that everybody looked up to, because of his character and his spirit.......mainly shown during his battles with leukemia. Please, please remember these two wonderful people in your prayers for a long while. I've never lost a child, so no matter how hard I try, I can't really relate. Maybe some of you can. If you want to drop them a card, the address is:

18 Piedmont Lane
Little Rock, Arkansas 72212

Thanks for your concern for my dad! We were blessed with the news that he came home today. Thanks for all your prayers! The older I get, the more faith I have in the power of prayer. I don't see how those without it make it.

I Peter 5:7