Friday, May 30, 2008


The news cycle is abuzz about renegade Catholic priest Michael Pfleger's 'sermon' at Barack Obama's Trinity United Church. It has led to a somewhat predictable Obama apology. This after Obama's spring troubles over Jeremiah Wright. Also at the link is a video clip of Pfleger's bizarre one man drama. Not only is he giving his political commentary from the pulpit, but is also doing it in the verbal equivalent of 'black face', using a stereotypical black-preacher-voice for the entire diatribe. The audience clearly eats it up. I've not seen anyone comment on this guy who looks to be the whitest man on earth trying to sound like Al Sharpton.

Theosebes will refrain from commenting on the politics per se of it all. But aren't these people supposed to be having church? Shouldn't there be some concern about God rather than mocking Hillary's tears? I can't imagine the reaction from the congregants at any church I've ever attended if something like that started from the pulpit. And we wonder why the IRS is starting to sniff around certain churches. If they're going to do that they clearly need to start with Trinity United.

Addendum: By the way, who are these 'ministers' who use profanity from the pulpit? And who are these 'churches' that tolerate it?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Globetrotter Ferrell Jenkins has just returned from another of his Bible land jaunts. You can keep up with those at his Travel Blog. A couple of posts particularly caught my eye. The first, and most recent, is about the Rylands fragment of the Gospel of John. The fragment was a key find in refuting those who sought a late date for the writing of the gospel. Also take a look at his post on Maps & Geography in Bible Study.

I always welcome comments to my posts--well, almost always--but I noticed that I've not been receiving notices of comments in order to approve them for publishing. This has led to an often several day wait until I happen to discover they're there. This seems to be a problem related to my recent move and email address transfer. I believe the problem now to be fixed. All past comments should be approved, and I hope to be able to react more quickly to them in the future.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Yes, an odd combination without question. But I noticed years ago that eating raw carrots tended to give me hiccups. It's one of those things that you dismiss at first. But last night we had carrots for supper. Usually cooked carrots aren't an issue, but this time they hit me. Must have been cooked too lightly. So today I did what any self-respecting person would do. I Googled it. After some poking around I found no answer to the condition, but did find a lot of other people have it. I also found the new website Alas, there's not too much there yet, but perhaps soon we can have our own certified medical condition.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


In an apparent upswing of Christian persecution in Israel, a group of Orthodox Jews collected New Testaments for a public burning:
Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

"The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said.

To some this raises the specter of the holocaust:
Israeli authorities and Orthodox Jews frown on missionary activity aimed at Jews, though in most cases it is not illegal. Still, the concept of a Jew burning books is abhorrent to many in Israel because of the association with Nazis torching piles of Jewish books during the Holocaust of World War II.

So much for inter-faith dialogue, I guess.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Sometimes when you read a book you're just sad to see it end. I finally got around to reading Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand, finishing it yesterday. I wished I didn't have to finish it. If you've seen the movie--itself quite good--the book really allows you to connect with these long dead figures. Seabiscuit is history well told, history that you want to read with no agenda other than allowing you to look through a window into a bygone era. We can read about people simply living their lives without any idea that someone might write a book about them, yet refusing to quit despite the odds.

We live in a historically myopic era that is cut off from its own past. There are many implications to this, both cultural and policital. There are also religious implications. Our modern age pushes us towards an atomistic approach to life in which we are cut off from not only history, but also family and community, church and God. We can imagine ourselves accountable to no one, able to operate as our own standard. The Bible itself is history, inspired history, certainly. It is the history of God's redemption of man, but also the history of individual men and women who lived real lives and had real struggles. One of Scriptures great messages is that despite clear defeat persevering in God will bring us ultimate victory. What history will you write with your life?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'Honor Your Mother'. Not only is Mother's Day a national holiday, but giving due honor to our mothers is an expectation of God.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

PREACHING THIS Hickman Mills, 'Turning the World Upside Down' from the words expressed by the angered Thessalonians in Acts 17. I have preached some version of that sermon on the first Sunday at each church I've worked with.