Monday, January 30, 2006

Poseurs

Having lived in St. Louis for almost three years now, I have discovered that St. Louisians are proud of their city, sometimes to a fault, but proud nonetheless. Many St. Louisians believe that this city has produced the best baseball, pizza, Italian food, etc, etc than any other city (especially Chicago) in the country. It's annoying and cool all at the same time.

Now, that being said, I thought it was interesting when one of the local country stations dropped their morning show last fall in favor of a syndicated show, Big D and Bubba. It's not necesarrily a huge deal. At the time, Howard Stern and Ron Joyner were in the market, so it's plausable to have another syndicated show in town. Now, the problem with these two guys is that they pretend they are from St. Louis. The other shows don't, these guys do. In fact, my wife told me the other day they had a segment (taped, of course) where they had listeners call in and give the best local St. Louis burger joints. The problem is that these guys didn't preface the segment with "we're in Nashville" and they really haven't done that; they let the competing station do that for them. Well, in this segment callers kept saying, "My favorite place is ..........., have you been there?" and the DJs had to keep saying, "uh, no we haven't".

Again, it's not a big deal to have syndication, but stop posing like you're in the city and leading listeners to believe that you're right here among the people.

Friday, January 27, 2006

This captures it....

I was reading Matthew 5 in the Message paraphrase and verses 10-12 really struck me. I think it captures the thoughts and the force perfectly.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. 11"Not only that--count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. 12You can be glad when that happens--give a cheer, even!-for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Doors or Eric Burdon?



I was this on the way home today and thought, "who is he referencing"??? hmm....much to ponder I have... if you can't see the words, it says, "Crawling King Snake". I took a bad picture...hey what can you do at 60mph?

Here she comes, but maybe not for long

This past Saturday, the Miss America pagent was not in Atlantic City and was not on network television. That's unprecedented for one of the original reality shows in tv history. It also means that Miss Oklahoma, who is now Miss America, will not be as exposed and popular as other Miss Americas in the past.
But, do many people remember our last few Miss Americas? I can't and I'm sure that most others cannot either.
And who cares anyway? People who want to see "hot babes" could care less about Miss America because they have the internet, reality shows, MTV, & VH1.
This is borne out in the Yahoo! Buzz from today which says "searches on the Oklahoman queen bee did surge following her victorious stroll down the runway. But it's a short-lived strut in Buzz -- we've never seen a Miss America pull down consistent searches. Dare we issue two challenges in one column? Can you tell us who won the tiara in 2005? Um, see? So, we're sure Berry's spike will be short-lived, and Internet denizens will return to searching for their very own Miss America among the bounty of babes on the Web. "

This past year has seen the ending of the Junior Miss pagent (my wife as a contestant in the 1990s) and I think in the next few years, it will see the end of the Miss America Pagent. I could be wrong, but it seems that people don't care. They can see bikinis on Survivor or Big Brother, that's on more than once a year, plus there's more drama.

Monday, January 23, 2006

One for the thumb?


I would have never known what that meant had I not married a Pittsburgh girl who is passionate about Steeler football. After watching the Steelers dominate the Broncos yesterday, I think they have a great shot at that fifth Super Bowl ring.
If they do win, that will make my inlaws extremely happy and will completely change the dynamics of all family get togethers. Instead of complaining about Cowher and the Bus not being able to win the big game, like any good fan with a no championship team would do, they'll have to think of something else to talk about. WOW, it's almost like being a Sooner fan. ha!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Who are we looking to?

Whether Democrat, or Republican, one of the highlights, or lowlights, of American Christians is that we have fallen into the trap of believing government can save our society. Often times we are treated to a trip down memory lane when Leave It To Beaver and Andy Griffith were the most popular shows on television and Hollywood wasn't producing movies like Brokeback Mountain. Once we are fed this picture, we are then hit over the head with the words "Culture War".
We are then called to elect candidate X because he/she agrees with agenda Y which Christian groups Z and AA are calling Biblical. But the problem with candidate X is that he/she gets money from industry/lobby BB and CC, which could care less about Christians, much less what a Biblical worldview really stands for. What should we do?

I think part of what Christians should do is to stop looking to government to save us. We think of our lives on earth as needing a secular redemption where society is transformed into a Christian one. While, I believe with my whole heart that Christ is the great transformer of culture, I believe that comes through the Gospel.
I also think that Christians cannot and should not look to government to set things right in the world. Jesus is the one who says, "I make all things new", not the Democrat, Republican, or Constitution parties.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fan has heart attack after Bettis fumble

Monday, January 16, 2006

He could be my favorite NFL player

Troy Polamalu has been growing on me for the past two years and I think he is inching closer and closer to my #1 NFL player spot.

This article makes it even better for me.
NFL: Head firstPolamalu a warrior on the field, a thinker off it
By Billy Witz, Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH - Somewhere from the hidden corners of restaurants, Troy Polamalu and his wife, Theodora, are watching.
They're not looking for anyone in particular - perhaps an older couple who look like they've been married a long time or a family they can see is enjoying a meal in each other's company. Just somebody who touches them.
Then, quietly, they ask their server for that table's bill and cover it.
"We like to spot a couple, just see somebody that makes us think, 'Man, they're having such a beautiful time,' " Polamalu said. " 'Let's make this even more beautiful for them and share this blessing that we've received.' "
Such random acts of kindness might surprise people who know the Steelers' All-Pro safety only for his wild hair and wild-eyed play, which seems to earn him as many personal-foul penalties as it does plaudits.
But when Polamalu, who will lead Pittsburgh into Indianapolis in an AFC Divisional playoff game Sunday, sheds his uniform and wraps his hair into a bun, it's as if he's transformed, from warrior to ascetic.
He speaks softly and gently, as if in an amplified whisper. If the subject is not Xs and Os, for which his answers are brief and rote, he is thoughtful and engaging.
"He has an intellectual bent to him. He likes to know the why and wherefore," Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "He's probably the exact opposite on the field."
In the locker room, Polamalu is considered a good teammate, but not one of the guys. When teammates at USC tried to drag him to parties at the Playboy Mansion, he passed. Not once in his three years in Pittsburgh, he says, has he been out to a bar or night club.
He'd rather be home with Theodora and their three dogs, studying video, reading, or pursuing his passions outside of football, which have ranged over the years from cultivating orchids and wood carving to fly-fishing and wine-making.
"The stereotype of the pro athlete - the guy who flaunts his money, has lots of cars, jewelry, women, that's not Troy," said fellow Steelers safety Chris Hope.
As compliments go, it's not a bad one to Polamalu.
He grew up in a family of football players, a half-dozen relatives having excelled at the sport. His brother, Kaio Aumua, played at UTEP; his cousin, Nicky Sualua, played at Ohio State and then with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys; and his uncle, Kennedy Pola, was a fullback at USC and now is the Jacksonville Jaguars' running backs coach.
Polamalu figures one of the first sentences he uttered was that he wanted to be a football player.
Still, he never envisioned himself as just a football player.
"Some people are attracted to acting or any big job for the prestige," said Polamalu, 24, who has been named to the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. "But some people act because they love to act and some people play football because they love to play football. I have the feeling I have a calling to play football.
"I won't say I don't do it for the fans, but I don't do it for prestige and to get my face out there so I can be famous."
In a city like Pittsburgh, where fans ask to be buried in Steelers jerseys, that can be problematic. Having your dinner interrupted by autograph seekers is one thing; having them knock on your front door is another.
"You can take any guy on the 53-man roster and stand them next to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and walk down the street here and people would go, 'Oh, that's so and so - and who are those other two people?' " Polamalu said. "It's nice that you can affect people's lives in a positive way, but there's a down side to it. Sometimes people can be a little insensitive."
And so, while Polamalu did pose for a Sports Illustrated cover earlier this season, you're unlikely to see him endorsing any hair-care products. It is also why he declined a Pittsburgh reporter's request to discuss his good deeds for a story.
"We didn't do it for (the attention), we did it for the moment," Polamalu said. "It's not like we're just paying for their meal. We'll write a note and give them a Bible verse and put that on the receipt because we really don't feel like we want any prestige."
Religion plays a central role in the Polamalus' lives. He went to Catholic schools, and spent time in Mormon and Protestant churches when he was younger, but there was no epiphany. Instead, as he grew older he began to consider where he came from, and his faith deepened.
"My parents divorced before I turned 1. All three of my older brothers and sisters were in and out of jail. My brother (overdosed). When I was a kid, I started getting in trouble, which made me move to Oregon, where I was raised by my aunt and uncle, away from my immediate family," said Polamalu, who lived in Santa Ana until the fourth grade. "Honestly, I would be a fool not to recognize the work that God has done in my life."
If there is a trait Polamalu carries with him on the football field or away from it, it is passion. On the field, it shows up in the frenetic way he bounces around the field, leading Hope to dub him the Tasmanian Devil. Or the way he diligently studies film. Away from football, it is evident in the way he pours himself into whatever interests him at the moment.
In high school, near his hometown of Tenmile, Ore., (pop. 701), it was wood-carving, which he learned at the knee of his wood shop teacher. Polamalu made cabinets, mirrors, end tables and coffee tables that he sold to make money.
At USC, he learned to play the piano and read music, and also began to explore his Island roots, joining Polynesian dance clubs and learning the Samoan language.
His more recent interests include growing orchids and learning to fly-fish, hobbies that don't quite fit under the rubric of "when in Pittsburgh. ..."
Nevertheless, explain to Polamalu, apologetically, that you don't really know much about orchids and he jumps right into a dissertation.
"Orchids are one of the most amazing plants out there," he said, later explaining that he's always found a peace while tending to plants. "They are very delicate, very temperamental. You've got to take great care of them, even more than a child, for them to even think about blooming. Some are easier to grow than others, but they're very, very beautiful flowers."
And the next thing you know, he's explained that there's roughly 25,000 species of orchids and the difference between epiphytes (grow on trees), lithophytes (grow on rocks) and terrestrials (grow on the ground), some of which grow only in cold weather, others that do best where it's humid.
As for fly-fishing, well, who knew that a place called Spruce Creek, out near State College a few hours to the east of Pittsburgh, was one of the best places in the country to match wits with trout?
Polamalu smiles when he's asked how many of his teammates would be interested in these pursuits, noting that he prefers reggae to rap and probably feels more at home with the veterans who have families.
But it doesn't seem to be an issue - with him or them.
"Troy doesn't like to party, he doesn't like to hang out with the fellas, but that doesn't make him a black (sheep) or a loner," Hope said. "He's different, but that's who he is."
And it's also why he met his wife, the younger sister of former USC teammate Alex Holmes.
"I know the life of college and pro athletes going out and stuff and there would never, ever be the possibility of any guy even talking to my sister," said Holmes, a tight end with the Dolphins. "But when Troy asked me if he could go out with her, I couldn't have been happier. He's such an exceptional person."
If nothing, Polamalu undertakes is without purpose or is accomplished without patience, then it stands to reason the same could be said about his most distinguishing feature - his hair.
He hasn't cut his black, wavy locks, which hang down over the back of his shoulder pads, since he was a sophomore at USC. Actually, the idea started out as a lark.
"In college, you don't care about these things," Polamalu said. "Then all of a sudden, it started to become my fifth appendage. I'm too scared to cut it off now."
Most of the time, Polamalu keeps it under wraps. In practice it's tucked under his helmet. Afterward, he dresses at his locker with it wrapped up in a towel and leaves with it tied in a bun. As a rookie, he planned to keep his hair under his helmet until he had earned a starting role.
"Then we go to San Francisco on a Monday night game and Ronnie Lott was there, I think getting his number retired, and I was back in California, the air was great, the energy was there - I finally just let it out," he said.
"Some people say it's a Samson thing, but I don't think so. I didn't take a Nazarene vow or anything. It's just hair. The best explanation is that throughout history, every great warrior - the Greeks, the Samurais, the American Indians, the Mongolians, you name it - had long hair and would dress it before battle. I don't know why today is so different. In the military, you've got to have short hair.
"If there's significance, it's that you let everything loose on game day."
Game day is the one day of the week that Polamalu isn't so soft-spoken or thoughtful, the one day on which he can play the role of the frenetic warrior. It's the one day when he is more likely to hand someone his lunch, rather than pay for it.
http://www.presstelegram.com/usc/ci_3401214

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fascinating

Right now, I am transcribing a rare pamphlet written by Dr. J. Frank Norris. It was a response to some of the anti-Semitism during the years leading up to World War II. As I have been going through the material, it was striking to me that he said some extremely similar things to Pat Robertson's comment last week which I blogged about.

I know that some people think that some of Robertson's, or Hal Lindsey's or John Hagee's comments are crazy and that "very few" people actually believe them. However, I contend that some of the dispensationalism gone wild carries a wider appeal than many think. I realize that there is some extremely good dispensational scholarship, and that in those circles there isn't the rabid Zionism that can be seen on the 700 Club, but it exists and cooler heads must begin showing a better, more Scriptural way.



Note: There is no copywrite on the Norris pamphlet which I am transcribing. I will be making it available on my website in .pdf format soon. I believe this pamphlet provides a good look at an interesting, controversial, and important character in the American Church during the years prior to World War 2.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

More about the PCA and reconstructionism

In an article I referenced yesterday, which lumped the PCA as an entire denomination as a reconstructionist fringe group, I left out some helpful perspective.

First of all, one U.S. Senator, and one U.S. Congressman from Missouri are both members of a PCA congregation. Neither of them have introduced any "dominion" related legislation as far as I know, and both of them are respected and have been reelected to their posts.

I would think that if the PCA were so infected with reconstructionism, as the Mother Jones article insinuated, then the two most visible, and capable, people to begin implementing this scheme would be doing so.

Addition: after doing some research, it can be seen that the 2003 PCA General Assembly declined to sponser legislation for the Marriage Amendment Act. While, the PCA affirmed the Biblical teaching of marriage in this act, the denomination did not step into the sphere of the state.

Overture 19 from Philadelphia Presbytery and Rocky Mountain Presbytery ("Endorse Marriage Amendment to US Constitution") was answered with the following statement:
The church now declares to the world the teaching of God's word concerning the family as summarized in the WCF 24.1-2.
1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6; Proverbs 2:17).
2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness. (Genesis 2:18; Malachi 2:15; 1 Corinthians 7:2, 9).
Furthermore the Scriptures warn of the danger to any nation that defies God's law regarding the family (Proverbs 14:34).
Grounds: The church is spiritual in nature, and while it must continue to speak to moral issues, it should ordinarily refrain from endorsing specific legislation. See WCF 31.4; BCO 3-3, 3-4.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The PCA gets some pub...and not the kind we frequent or own

Mother Jones, a liberal magazine, has done a profile on the religious right. While, I am impressed with the author's attempt to not lump all evangelicals together with Robertson, etc, I still feel that he needs to learn more about the PCA before declaring it a denomination infected with reconstructionism and giving the impression that we're all itching to institute the OT law for the US.


http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2005/12/a_nation_under_god.html



Reconstruction has slowly absorbed, congregation by congregation, the
conservative Presbyterian Church in America (not to be confused with the
progressive Presbyterian Church [USA]) and has heavily influenced others,
notably the Southern Baptists.

It would have been a good idea for him to actually check this assertion. I mean, it's not like the PCA has tens of thousands of congregations. We have under 2000 churches in the U.S., about 5,000 ordained ministers, 350,000 members, and 1 official seminary. One could look at the "about section" of the PCA homepage itself to see if we're conspiring to take over the country. One could talk to some professors of the official seminary. One could make a campus visit. One could view the PCA General Assemblies online to see what was actually discussed. More fact checking was needed in this area.

Again, I appreciate that the author sought to differentiate the so-called Religious Right viz a vi echatalogical views, however, I still believe he falls short and falls into the trap of just viewing groups only through a set of specific criteria rather than sort through the nuances that exist.

Monday, January 09, 2006

An era...

Dr. Benton, pastor of the church we attend in St. Louis announced his retirement from the pastorate this past week. This will be interesting to see how it plays out from now until his retirement this October with pastoral search committees, electing a pastor, etc.

I love Dr. Benton. I have learned so much from his preaching and insight over the past couple of years. He's an incredible servant of the God and really takes time out to know the people who attend the Kirk, even though there are around 1600 in attendance each Sunday.

He and the leadership of the Kirk have eased my mind about larger churches. I used to think that large churches were large beacause they compromised the truth and that's how they attracted people en masse. My experience at the Kirk and with Dr. Benton's preaching has been the exact opposite and I will always be grateful for my experience with him and the Kirk as well.

Another thing that will always stick with me is that I had Dr. Benton for Advanced Homiletics and I chose him because I knew he was the toughest professor to take for this course. He really gave me good training and insight, especially when it comes to crafting sermons. (looking for the big idea and going from there!) It was especially cool to see and hear that an Edinburgh Ph.D can actually preach practical, understandable messages, and spend over 40 years as a pastor in only two churches and forsaking a career of being a professor and writing books in order to serve as a pastor.

Okay...I'll stop....I'm gonna miss that guy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bad hermeneutics plus television equals lunacy

Pat Robertson, applying a misconstrued dispensational hermeneutic, had this to say about Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon:

"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program "The
700 Club." "You read the Bible and he says `This is my land,' and for any prime
minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God
says, `No, this is mine.'"

He also said, however, that in the Bible, the prophet Joel "makes it very
clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.'



By this, Robertson, a populist, Evangelical leader, is applying an over-literal reading of Joel to this situation. He has ripped Joel from the context of redemptive history in order to fit his dispensational hermeneutic.

Now, many of you may roll your eyes at this becuase you're not Dispensational, but there are people calling into the Bill O'Reilly show right now defending Robertson because they believe what he says. This is why Evangelicals would do well do study historical theology when they train for the ministry. Robertson's idea is novel in the schema of Church History, yet millions of Americans (and few elsewhere in the world) have bought into this hook, line, and sinker.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Are we that impatient and greedy?

The reporting on the trapped coal miners is terrible, but not new. Think of the reporting during the Hurricane Katrina news cycle where we were told of rapes and murders in the Superdome, which never happened. I cannot fathom why patience and fact checking is not taking place these days. Even more, I cannot imagine the pain of those families whose fulfilled hope was proved to be false...chalked up to "misinformation".
http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001804359

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

He's back

One of my favorite professors at Covenant is blogging again.
Check out http://seanmichaellucas.blogspot.com/
I'm very pleased...

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