Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"I WILL give thanks to the LORD with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders." --Psalm 9:1

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


For the second time evidence has surfaced that Atlanta megachurch leader Earl Paulk was engaged in some extra curricular activity:
The 80-year-old leader of a suburban Atlanta megachurch is at the center of a sex scandal of biblical dimensions: He slept with his brother's wife and fathered a child by her.

Members of Archbishop Earl Paulk's family stood at the pulpit of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church a few Sundays ago and revealed the secret exposed by a recent court-ordered paternity test.

In truth, this is not the first — or even the second — sex scandal to engulf Paulk and the independent, charismatic church. But this time, he could be in trouble with the law for lying under oath about the affair.

The living proof of that lie is 34-year-old D.E. Paulk, who for years was known publicly as Earl Paulk's nephew.

"I am so very sorry for the collateral damage it's caused our family and the families hurt by the removing of the veil that hid our humanity and our sinfulness," said D.E. Paulk, who received the mantle of head pastor a year and a half ago.

One certainly does not revel in someone else's exposed weakness. However, we also need to face the reality that sexual infidelity is all too common among those who ought to be--or claim to be--spiritual leaders. The circumstances leading to this public paternity test certainly do the 'Archbishop' no credit:
A judge ordered the test at the request of the Cobb County district attorney's office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which are investigating Earl Paulk for possible perjury and false-swearing charges stemming from a lawsuit.

The archbishop, his brother and the church are being sued by former church employee Mona Brewer, who says Earl Paulk manipulated her into an affair from 1989 to 2003 by telling her it was her only path to salvation [emphasis added, NAC]. Earl Paulk admitted to the affair in front of the church last January.

In a 2006 deposition stemming from the lawsuit, the archbishop said under oath that the only woman he had ever had sex with outside of his marriage was Brewer. But the paternity test said otherwise.

Now there's just no excuse for such exploitation of a spiritual position. Certainly one wonders about the gullibility of Ms. Brewer to fall for such a line, but Paulk's actions confirm every stereotype the world wants to believe about the religious.

As we've discussed many times, our faith cannot be in men, even men who seem spiritually strong from the outside. And while forgiveness ought to be a defining characterstic of the people of God, there is also a point when people demonstrate that they are unworthy of leadership positions. Church shouldn't look like a Jerry Springer show parody.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Will Theosebes be next?

Two religious beat writers have thrown in the pen--and their faith--after seeing religion up close:
Two leading religion journalists — one in Britain, one in the United States — have quit the beat in recent months, saying they had acquired such a close look at such scandalous behaviour by Christians that they lost their faith and had to leave.

Stephen Bates, who recently stepped down as religious affairs writer for the London Guardian, has just published an account of his seven years on the beat in an article entitled “Demob Happy” for the New Humanist magazine. Bates followed the crisis in the Anglican Communion for several years and even wrote a book on it, A Church At War: Anglicans and Homosexuality.

“Now I am moving on,” his article concludes. “It was time to go. What faith I had, I’ve lost, I am afraid – I’ve seen too much, too close. A young Methodist press officer once asked me earnestly whether I saw it as my job to spread the Good News of Jesus. No, I said, that’s the last thing I am here to do.”

Considering what they witnessed--the Episcopalian row over homosexual priests and the Catholic sex abuse scandal--one can understand their problem. Of course Bates saw the Episcopal Church as intolerant toward homosexuals (!), which makes one wonder about his 'faith' to begin with.

This does highlight a problem Christians have struggled with for centuries. I have seen Christians do disappointing things, sometimes to one another, sometimes to me. It is always upsetting (at least it ought to be), but we need to remember where our faith is to be placed and what it is to be based on. Paul writes, 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.' My faith has to be God focused and Scripturally anchored. I cannot place my faith in men nor in a church.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'An Imperishable Inheritance' from 1 Peter 1:3-9. God has caused us to be born again--or begotten--for an inheritance that will never fade.

Friday, November 09, 2007


My youngest daughter Claire (now 22 months old) is often provided with Teddy Grahams by her mother during morning services as a snack. This is particularly the case when my daughter has slept late (our motto: let sleeping toddlers lie). Recently Claire was sitting with a lady at church who was giving my wife a Claire-free break. Claire knows that she has to wait until Daddy gets up to preach before the Teddy Grahams are broken out. That morning as I walked up to the podium an excited Claire exclaimed, 'Cookie time!'

Somehow we seem to be sending the wrong message...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I've long been fascinated by the story of Pompeii. Now Pompeii has come to Birmingham. If you're in the area I'm sure it's worth seeing. I'll report back when when I finally get over there.

And there does seem to be a theme to today's posts.
Get all your mummy news here

The most famous Egyptian pharoah of them all has finally been revealed:
King Tut's buck-toothed face was unveiled Sunday for the first time in public - more than 3,000 years after the youngest and most famous pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt was shrouded in linen and buried in his golden underground tomb.

Archeologists carefully lifted thae fragile mummy out of a quartz sarcophagus decorated with stone-carved protective goddesses, momentarily pulling aside a beige covering to reveal a leathery black body.

The linen was then replaced over Tut's narrow body so only his face and tiny feet were exposed, and the 19-year-old king, whose life and death has captivated people for nearly a century, was moved to a simple glass climate-controlled case to keep it from turning to dust.

In other mummy news, studies on the South American 'Llullaillaco Maiden' mummy has found that she and her sacrificial companion were prepared for their demise for up to a year:
New studies of the child mummies show that the children chosen for a one-way trek to a summit shrine, some time between 1470 and 1520, were groomed for death over a period of about one year.

The team, led by Dr Andrew Wilson at Bradford University, analysed hair samples taken from the heads and from small accompanying bags of four mummies....

The team studied DNA and isotopes (chemical signatures) from the hair samples, which give a unique snapshot of diet at different intervals: more than a year before death, the children ate vegetables such as potatoes, suggesting a peasant background. Subsequently it was enriched with plants such as maize, considered an "elite" food, and protein, likely to be dried llama meat.

A boy king and child sacrifices, remnants of long dead cultures preserved for our study centuries later. They also stand as reminders that regardless of our earthly status or burial finery we all end life in death.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'The Silence of God'. God's silence on a matter does not mean blanket authorization for whatever man can imagine. As Moses told Aaron after Nadab and Abihu had been been consumed by fire for their impertinence, God must be treated as holy. Believing that we are co-authors of Scripture with God is not the best place to start.