Saturday, September 6, 2008

Separated at Birth?

In the movie Felon, Val Kilmer (left) looks very similar to Jeff Bridges in his role as “John Smith”. The critically claimed film was released on DVD on August 12th.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bible Trivia - 9/5/2008

Question: What king of Judah’s feet became diseased during his old age?

Answer: Asa (I Kings 15:23)

Comments: Asa reigned over Judah for 41 years. In the 39th year of his reign, he developed a severe foot condition (I Kings 15:23, II Chronicles 16:12). This was considered a black mark on an otherwise successful reign. The Biblical writers chide Asa for seeking the help of physicians without ever going to God about the problem.

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. (II Chronicles 16:12, NASB)

This incident has been used by some to support that the believer should reject medicine. Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910, pictured), founder of Chrsitian Science movement wrote, "there is no record that God or Jesus Christ made use of any material remedy to cure disease; but it is recorded that king Asa ‘slept with his fathers,’ after trying drugs to heal him; which would seem to indicate that it was wrong." (The Christian Science Journal, page 188)

I would counter that Asa’s problem was that he trusted only in the physicians, rather than foremost in God.

Ironically, Mary Baker Eddy's husband was named Asa. (Asa Gilbert Eddy)

Word of the Day - 9/5/2008


To objurgate is to express strong disapproval; to criticize severely.

Moses' siblings objurgated to his interracial marriage to a Cushite woman.

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); (Numbers 12:1, NASB)

The Lord sided with Moses on this issue and in response, Miriam was striken with leprosy.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/5/2008

I had a great (but exceedingly long) Thursday in which I got to see many of my friends, including KJW. Need I say it was a good day?

My Bible Study was held at 11:45 and we covered the “I am” statements in the Gospel of John. Despite significantly exceeding the allotted time, we have been forced to make this a two-part episode.

After the class, I ran errands and in the process stopped to see SMA and my cousin HLN. At the home of the latter I was mauled by three dogs. Fortunately they were of the small punting variety so no harm was done.

On Thursday night, I visited JTH at MoFoS. We were joined by RAW and KJW. They had picked up food at McDonald’s and decided to eat with us in the store. Had anyone other than JTH been working the counter, we would not have allowed KJW to eat on it.

KJW got an Obi-Wan toy with her Happy Meal. It is evidently part of a promotional partnership with the animated Clone Wars film. McDonald’s has given her a love for Star Wars. It almost evokes tears to see a national corporation educating children this well. (Note: this is her father showing her the Star Wars films on DVD. She was clearly impressed.)

After she finished eating, we allowed KJW run roughshod over the store as usual. I took note that she stopped at the RedLine display. (Remember MoFOS is self described as the “Nation’s top ‘Redline’ distributor.”) We may use this incident to claim that kids love RedLine. Nothing else has worked in moving the film.

After some time at MoFoS, a large group went to Applebees. RAW and KJW went home as it was past her bedtime. I ate with Andy, GAB, SCB’s brother (SCB no longer goes out after 10 pm), CTH, NHH, JTH, and JBT. Depsite Applebees offering all-you-can-eat entrees ("Endless Favorites"), we stuck with the appetizers. I am not the only one addicted.

We requested AFH as our waitress but she did not have a table large enough to accommodate us. Our replacement waitress was Marlana (MO). The 24-year old Dalton, Georgia, native has worked at the restaurant only a short while and had never served us. She was named after the longtime Days of Our Lives’ character played by Deidre Hall (pictured). We learned this as I randomly referenced the character. I incurred no small amount of teasing for doing so.

We quickly bonded with MP. After greeting us, she said she would return in a minute. I timed her at 4:05:90. She “appreciated” this gesture. (Her timing was consistent all night.) We later had a contest to guess her age. JTH won hitting it on the nose. He is like those guys at carnivals who can guess people’s weights. My guess was close (25). She was most displeased with SCB’s brother for guessing highest at 27.

I had not seen NHH in some time. The former MoFoS manager, has returned to the store. He will begin working Saturdays and Sundays next weekend (September 13-14). He presently works for KUB and loathes the job so much that he has contemplated allowing himself to be hit by a car to collect worker’s compensation. That is some serious dissatisfaction. If he does indeed go through with this plan, I must note that he said this only gesting...

We had fun. Clothing was a big topic of conversation. GAB entered wearing a UT shirt and I noted that he must be a true fan. He immediately retorted, “No. I had nothing else to wear.”

CTH’s wardrobe was another key topic of conversation, or ridicule anyway. He dressed rather nicely with a button up, jeans, and was seen earlier in the day with his sunglasses resting on his head. With this group, these were capitol offenses. For some unknown reason, CTH is always the object of ridicule.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Associated Baptist Press - 9/4/2008

Associated Baptist Press
September 4, 2008 · (08-84)

Greg Warner, Executive Editor
Robert Marus, News Editor/Washington Bureau Chief

In this issue
Baptists continue Gustav relief with wary eyes on Hanna, Ike
NAMB sells former RTVC building to energy company
Opinion: Of teenage pregnancies and New Orleans levees

Baptists continue Gustav relief with wary eyes on Hanna, Ike
By ABP staff

NEW ORLEANS (ABP) -- Baptists continued to respond Sept. 4 to needs throughout the south-central part of the country in response to Hurricane Gustav and its windy, drenching aftermath.

The storm made landfall Sept. 1 between Grand Isle and Houma, La., about 75 miles south of New Orleans, as a Category 2 storm. Both its strength at landfall -- much weaker than 2005's Hurricane Katrina -- and its location helped prevent a repeat of the utter disaster that Katrina wrought.

But Gustav's effects included widespread power outages, flooding and the evacuation of nearly 2 million people from coastal parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Baptist disaster-relief teams headed into the affected area Sept. 2. Officials estimated Sept. 3 that, in some hard-hit areas, full restoration of power could take up to a month.

Originally destined for work in McComb, Miss., several units from the Baptist General Association of Virginia were redirected to Baton Rouge Sept. 3.

"Because disaster responses are dynamic situations and power had been restored to much of the McComb area, these units were diverted to Baton Rouge, where there was greater destruction and, therefore, greater remaining need for assistance," noted Paige Peak, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board's spokesperson.

Virginia Baptist volunteers are staffing a mass feeding unit capable of providing 15,000 meals each day, as well as a water purification unit.

Virginia's recovery unit, equipped with chainsaws and other tools, is assisting with debris removal and clearing mud. They also have provided a shower unit with laundry service for use by storm-relief volunteers. Two chaplains have accompanied the Baton Rouge team.

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leaders are working with a number of partners, including the American Baptist Churches USA and the Save the Children Foundation, according to Charles Ray, CBF's disaster-response coordinator.

Reid Doster, Louisiana CBF coordinator, noted minor damage to some homes is being reported. Ray said CBF officials would assess reconstruction needs as soon as people are allowed to return to their homes.

Disaster-relief coordinators also are preparing for the possibility of additional deployments as they keep an eye on the progress of Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike, both of which are expected to affect the Eastern Seaboard over the coming week.

"Our leaders are on the phones setting up volunteers to be prepared ... looking at teams ... and putting people on standby," Page said.


NAMB sells former RTVC building to energy company
By Vicki Brown

FORT WORTH, Texas (ABP) -- The last vestige of a Southern Baptist Convention broadcast ministry that once had garnered an Emmy Award has been sold.

Chesapeake Energy Co. purchased the 87,966-square-foot building that housed the former Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission (RTVC) in Fort Worth.

The SBC began its broadcast ministry -- the SBC Radio Commission -- with "The Baptist Hour" in Atlanta in 1941. In 1955, the operation was moved to Texas, and its programming expanded.

The commission produced a variety of content, including the children's animated series, "JOT." In 1989, the agency earned an Emmy for the documentary, "China: Walls and Bridges."

The commission developed the American Christian Television System (ACTS) in the mid-1980s to try to increase market exposure. Soaring costs forced the commission to merge ACTS with another network. The SBC dropped out of participation in 2003.

In 1991, the commission purchased FamilyNet from fundamentalist Baptist minister Jerry Falwell.

A major SBC reorganization, implemented in 1997, merged the RTVC with the denomination's Brotherhood Commission and Home Mission Board to create the North American Mission Board. NAMB shifted some of RTVC's work, primarily radio programming, to its Atlanta-area headquarters.

As a not-for-profit that relied primarily on SBC funding, the broadcast ministry struggled financially throughout most of its existence. NAMB streamlined the operation in 2004, reducing staff and cutting the budget by more than half. It cut radio production completely the following year.

Last year, the convention sold FamilyNet -- the final broadcast operation -- to In Touch Ministries. That organization was founded by former SBC president Charles Stanley, pastor of Atlanta's First Baptist Church.


Opinion: Of teenage pregnancies and New Orleans levees
By Benjamin Cole

(ABP) -- Before a convention of thousands and a television audience of millions Sept. 3, GOP vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin was given a historic election debut that had most pundits awarding high marks for her performance.

Joining the Alaska governor on stage after the speech were her husband, her three daughters, her Iraq-bound soldier son, and the youngest addition to the Palin family -- a 4 1/2-month-old boy born with Down syndrome.

And, clutching the hand of her 17-year-old daughter Bristol, was Levi Johnson, the girl's fiance and, according to Palin, the father of her unborn child.

The teen-pregnancy revelation sent modest shockwaves throughout the Religious Right, which had previously been quite giddy over Palin's surprise addition to the GOP ticket. If not for the threat of another tropical tempest breaching New Orleans' levees on the same day, the nation might have experienced wall-to-wall coverage about another sex scandal in American politics.

The party that mustered enough votes to impeach President Bill Clinton ten years ago this December and the country that had to endure endless hearings about the then-commander-in-chief's sexual indiscretions has reached a point where sex doesn't matter as much as it once did. Within the last 20 years, Americans have gone through the grueling confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the Bob Packwood peccadilloes, Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's Minneapolis restroom foot-tapping fetish, the marriage troubles of Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston, and Mark Foley's inappropriate overtures to teenage congressional pages.

Eventually, America has come to recognize that leaders once hailed by the now defunct Moral Majority are about as moral, or perhaps as immoral, as everybody else.

If anything has been proven, it's that almost all political figures can weather a sex scandal, especially when the weather is working in your favor. The attention-deficit disorder of the American electorate has grown more pronounced, and for a while it seemed that the only people who cared much about the moral failings of elected officials were a cadre of leaders from the far Religious Right.

Which is why the unwed pregnancy of 17 year-old Bristol Palin intrigues me. Rather than sounding the alarms of the moral watchdogs in the Religious Right, there has occurred something of a celebration. The teen's decision to have the baby and marry the child's father -- commendable to be sure -- is held aloft as "Exhibit A" of pro-life politics in action.

And in an odd twist of ideological irony, the Religious Right finds itself thankful that abortion is still legal in America. If every unwed teenage mother were required to carry her baby to full term, pro-life leaders would be hard-pressed to find the moral ground upon which to champion the young Bristol Palin. Sadly, she would be just another teenage girl who sacrificed her moral purity for a few sordid moments with a high school hockey jock. Instead of celebrating her "choice" of life over abortion, the arbiters of American sexual ethics would have nothing to talk about but her "sin."

Of course, the Religious Right has also grown increasingly indifferent to the potential political risks posed by the private lives of candidates for the nation's second-highest office. For example, either Christian grace or common decency kept Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter from being an "issue" for the vast majority of them during the 2000 and 2004 elections.

Yes, times are different in America. We are arriving at a place where legalized abortion gives some political wiggle room for those most opposed to it, where neither Republicans nor Democrats can reasonably claim a moral high ground from which to snipe at each other, and where the private lives of public officials and their children are given greater refuge from merciless media assaults.

I have a sense that America is realizing something basic to our form of government. A single unwed mother in Alaska isn't as pressing as hundreds of thousands of people living in the path of a hurricane, and the national interest to protect the poor in New Orleans' Ninth Ward is at least as pressing as the interest to protect the unborn child in the womb.

We're also realizing that Bristol Palin's pregnancy has as much to do with Sarah Palin's qualification for high office as Jeremiah Wright's sermons have to do with Barack Obama's. Hopefully, neither distraction from the real issues of this campaign will surface to capture more headlines as America races toward the November election.


-- Benjamin Cole is a former Southern Baptist pastor who now works on public-policy issues in the nation's capital.

Bible Trivia - 9/4/2008

Question: Which book compares the beauty of a woman to that of a roe (fawn)?

Answer: Song of Solomon (Song of Solomon 4:5)

Comments: In the poetic verse of Song of Solomon 4:5, the male speaker compares his female lover's breasts to that of two "roes" (KJV) or the more commonly translated "fawns" (AMP, ASV, ESV, HCSB, Message, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, RSV). The simile is repeated in verse 7:3.

"Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle
Which feed among the lilies." (Song of Solomon 4:5, NASB)

Just to be clear, this was intended and taken as a compliment. The CEV renders the analogy simply, "Your breasts are perfect..."

Word of the Day - 9/4/2008


Senescent means growing old; aging.

At age eighty-five, and having lived through the conquest of the Promised Land, Caleb claimed that he had yet to feel the ill effects of senescence. (Joshua 14:10-11)

"Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in." (Joshua 14:10-11, NASB)

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/4/2008

On Wednesday night, I attended the third week of my Survey of Adult Education class. My class met in Room 128 of Hodges Library where a lecture was given by Alan Wallace (AHW). He is the librarian assigned to our department. It was incredibly useful as the ability to find information quickly is crucial to graduate students.

AHW was born in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1953. His parents still live in Lansing. He attended grad school in Michigan. Later, he taught middle school mathematics in Everett, Washington. He is left-handed though his first grade teacher made him write with his right hand. He has been working with the university for 23 years and been conducting electronic searches since 1981. (Contrary to popular belief, they have been available since 1966.) He is married and very interested in music. We also learned some things about how to best use the library’s resources. (Note: I took this picture of the classroom as, ironically, its layout is not expecially conducive to adult education.)

As an aside, please do not call or text or Wednesday nights. I hate to be inaccessible, but it proved a slight distraction...

Finally, how many times can McDonald’s retire and bring back the McRib?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bible Trivia - 9/3/2008

Question: Who are the only two brothers of Shem named in the Bible?

Answer: Ham and Japheth. (Genesis 10:1)

Comments: Shem, Ham, and Japeth are the three sons of Noah who survived the Biblical flood. Genesis 10, generally known as the “Table of Nations”, depicts how the nations derived from these three figures. Shem is the eponymous ancestor of all Semitic peoples, including the Jews.

Now these are the records of the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah; and sons were born to them after the flood. (Genesis 10:1, NASB)

Note: This is picture of Shemp Howard of The Three Stooges. Like Shemp, Shem was the oldest member of a landmark trio.

Word of the Day - 9/3/2008


Sybaritic means pertaining to or characteristic of a sybarite; characterized by or loving luxury or sensuous pleasure: to wallow in sybaritic splendor.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus asserta that King Solomon, in all of his sybaritic splendor, was not clothed as imacuately as the lilies. (Matthew 6:28-29)

"yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these." (Matthew 6:29, NASB)

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/3/2008

On Tuesday, SMA and I took an impromptu road trip to Chattanooga. We did so as I had not shopped for books in the area in some time and this was our way of thumbing our nose at gas prices. I assure you, the last line was completely facetious.

The day started with SMA trading in his copy of NCAA Football 2009 for the Xbox 360 to GameStop in Turkey Creek. This was his way of displaying his disdain for the Vols’ performance the previous night. He did not want any reminders of this year’s football season. Yes, it is a bit extreme, but that is SMA. He also brought several other games for trade-in. This process took forever as another customer was doing the same thing. Amazingly, both SMA and said customer also waited for the employee to open his previous night’s shipment to purchase the same game, Infinite Undiscovery (released that day). What were the odds?

After watching SMA eat at Mancino’s (I had already sampled from the Shoney’s’s breakfast bar), we hit the road to Chattanooga. I needed some time off from studying and it allowed us time to talk. We stopped for gasoline at a Shell station off Exit 60 in Sweetwater. Next to the station was this store (Joker Joe’s Fireworks) with a diverse array of items: fireworks, rebel flags, and country hams. We resisted the urge to check this out. We already had plenty of all. (For the record, that would be none.)

In Chattanooga, we stopped at the local McKay’s branch, the only other franchise in the state. (There are, however, Mr. K’s operating in Oak Ridge and Johnson City). I asked SMA if there was anything else he wished to do in Chattanooga and he declined.

On the way home, we stopped at Pathway Bookstore in Cleveland. It is one of the largest Christian book stores in the United States. Yes, in Cleveland, Tennessee. It is the retail outlet for the publishing branch of the Church of God. They even have a coffee shop inside. They have a room devoted entirely to discounted books and there are always great bargains, including scholarly works. I highly recommend the store.

Many of the discounted items are haphazardly displayed in bins. We feel that they do this to make it appear they have more titles than they actually do. I knew I had kept SMA there too long when he took it upon himself to find all of the study guides to Desire by John Edlridge and group them together. Had we not left, I feel he would have been compelled to organize the entire room. Such are the hazards of book shopping with me.

I visited with JTH at MoFoS upon returning to town. He updated me on all of the football parties I had missed the previous day. There was some drama as Old Amanda visited JBT’s party. She was not invited and presumably knew to attend only because JBT always has holiday cookouts. While there, she evidently attempted to spill many secrets about her ex-boyfriend JDM whom she had seen at Boomsday the previous night with New Amanda, SH, and his girlfriend, Amanda #3. I really need to learn the last names of the Amandas...

In other news of Tuesday, WAM was approved for his apartment in the Woodview Terrace complex. He has wisely opted for the one-bedroom space. It will be several weeks before he moves in. In the meantime, he faces the dilemma of what color to paint his wicker furniture. His apartment has no color scheme and at present it is purple.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Associated Baptist Press - 9/2/2008

Associated Baptist Press
September 2, 2008 · (08-83)

Greg Warner, Executive Editor
Robert Marus, News Editor/Washington Bureau Chief

In this issue
Baptists active in wake of Hurricane Gustav
Believers minister to delegates, law enforcement during DNC
Fuller Seminary professor David Scholer dies at 70
Opinion: A true "Bold Mission Thrust'

Baptists active in wake of Hurricane Gustav
By ABP staff

NEW ORLEANS (ABP) -- Although Hurricane Gustav apparently was much less of a disaster than 2005's Hurricane Katrina, Baptists have mobilized throughout the Gulf Coast region to provide a wide array of disaster-aid services.

From churches hosting evacuees to chainsaw teams and feeding units, disaster-relief teams from Baptist conventions in nearby states were stationed across the area Sept. 2.

Gustav made landfall Sept. 1 between Grand Isle and Houma, La., about 75 miles south of New Orleans, as a Category 2 storm. Both its strength at landfall -- much weaker than the Category 4 Katrina -- and its location helped prevent a repeat of the Katrina disaster, which killed thousands and inundated the Crescent City.

Meteorologists' fears that a much stronger Gustav could have made a far more direct and devastating hit on New Orleans prompted officials to order a massive evacuation of the city and region over the Labor Day weekend.

Now, Baptist disaster-relief workers are preparing both to aid evacuees and to conduct clean-up and reconstruction work.

A Tennessee Baptist feeding unit was dispatched Sept. 1 to Central Hills Royal Ambassador Camp in West, Miss., to await the storm's landfall and further instructions. The unit is comprised of a dozen trucks and trailers, including a wash unit, kitchen support, dry boxes, refrigerated trailers, generators, a security trailer and a skid loader.

Another feeding unit from Shiloh Baptist Association in Adamsville, Tenn., has been set up at Willow Point Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., and is providing meals for a FEMA shelter there. Additional disaster-relief units in Tennessee and other nearby states were on alert, awaiting further instructions.

"It's a hurry-up-and-wait situation," said David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Convention disaster-relief coordinator.

Mickey Caison, disaster-relief director for the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board, cautioned state disaster-relief directors during a Sept. 1 conference call "that we are not out of the woods yet."

While Hurricane Gustav had weakened into a tropical depression by midday Sept. 2, heavy rains resulting from its remnants could still cause tornadoes and extensive flooding throughout the south-central portion of the United States.

"We are prepared to help in any way that we can," Acres said.

Disaster-aid workers from Texas Baptist Men, meanwhile, were also preparing Sept. 2 for relief work in the region.

The group's Disaster Relief Mobile unit -- an 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig with the greatest capacity for emergency food service -- was located at First Baptist Church in Bryan, Texas, as of Sept. 1.

"It's like we're waiting on the shoe to fall," said Gary Smith, Texas Baptist Men's volunteer disaster-relief coordinator. "We ramped up. We expected a lot of need, but to this point it has not happened -- though a significant rain event still could take place."

In San Antonio, Baptist Child and Family Services was sheltering about 290 evacuees with special needs as of Sept. 1, and that number was expected to rise. The group can shelter as many as 5,000 people with special needs across the state if needed.

Other shelters operated by Baptist Child and Family Services, a Texas Baptist benevolent agency, were located in San Antonio and Tyler, Texas.

"BCFS was given the role of caring for medical special needs evacuees in Texas because of our experience in caring for society's most vulnerable," said Haley Smith, a spokesperson for the organization. "We view this as just another opportunity to impact the world for Christ. We are so thankful for our partner churches who serve as shelters and make it possible for us to take on this role."

The situation was similar in Tennessee, with churches as far away from the disaster zone as Knoxville and Johnson City preparing to operate as evacuee shelters. Bill Shiell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Knoxville, reported Sept. 2 that 93 evacuees had spent the night in his church's facilities the evening before.

In the Nashville area, a feeding unit operated by several churches had set up shop at First Baptist Church of Goodlettsville, preparing more than 1,600 meals daily for evacuees.

The Tennessee and Texas teams are part of a larger effort under the auspices of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. More than 100 Southern Baptist feeding units have been put on alert to mobilize along the Gulf Coast states in response to Gustav as well as three more tropical systems that will threaten the United States in the near future: tropical storms Hanna, Ike and Josephine.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, meanwhile, is gearing up for post-storm reconstruction and recovery work.

A statement posted Sept. 2 on CBF's website said, "Remember that the Fellowship aids in rebuilding efforts following disasters; it is not a first-response or search-and-rescue organization. After the storm, CBF Disaster Response Coordinator Charles Ray and other CBF personnel will assess the needs, determine how the Fellowship can best respond, and communicate those needs to Fellowship Baptists. Response teams will only be sent to the disaster zone when it is deemed safe by state officials."


-- John Hall of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Lonnie Wilkey of the Tennessee Baptist and Reflector contributed to this story.

Believers minister to delegates, law enforcement during DNC
By Vicki Brown

DENVER (ABP) -- Baptists were among the many Christian groups who ministered to the delegates, journalists and others who flocked to the Democratic National Convention in Denver Aug. 24-29.

And while the impact of the political event will culminate Nov. 4 with the election of a new president, individuals believe at least one new ministry will continue to have a positive impact on the souls of Denver.

Two Denver-area Southern Baptist congregations, Riverside Baptist Church and Bear Valley Community Church, worked with Denver's Mile High Baptist Association ministering to local, state and federal law-enforcement agents during the event.

And a broad, interdenominational coalition of more than 60 churches -- representing Baptist, Anglican, Nazarene, non-denominational and other congregations -- ministered together through a group calling itself 1ChurchMetroDenver.

Ministry began weeks before politicians took the stage when Denver hosted "We Bow Down," a national prayer conference sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention and its North American Mission Board. Organizers included specific prayer times for the DNC and included a prayer walk around DNC venues.

Other Christian volunteers held another prayer walk the week following the Aug. 7-9 prayer conference.

The Baptist groups also offered evangelism training for the hundreds of volunteers who served during the event. Because Southern Baptists in Denver planned to work directly with law enforcement in many of their efforts, they coordinated closely with city and state officials in the planning stages.

Because they were working with government entities, they had to keep religious efforts low-key. "We had to stay below the radar," Bob Ryan, the association's director, said. "And we had to make sure everyone was trained."

All volunteers learned about disaster-relief and security efforts in preparation for any potential mishap associated with the convention. Each also was trained to give a two-minute testimony and to use the "Evange-Cube," a seven-panel item that uses pictures to explain the Christian plan of salvation.

Beginning the Saturday before the DNC's official start, Southern Baptists began serving meals and snacks to public-safety officials, including firefighters and Secret Service agents.

On Aug. 23, organizers set up 10 full-service ministry sites and 10 drop-off and pick-up sites for food, water and snacks.

Slightly fewer than 600 volunteers served more than 55,000 meals between Aug. 23 and the end of the convention. All officers of every law enforcement agency assisting with the convention received a hot meal and a cold meal during each of their 12-hour shifts. Volunteers also made snacks, water and Gatorade available.

Organizers estimate four semi-trailer loads of food and three semi-trailer loads of water and Gatorade were used.

"It was an amazing mobilization," Ryan said.

An evangelistic team of 40 volunteers walked through the crowds throughout the event. Organizers had no word by press time for this story Sept. 2 on the number of encounters or decisions made as a result of their efforts.

Organizers hoped and prayed that long-term ministries would develop from the outreach effort. One formed as a result of intelligence law-enforcement agencies gathered while preparing for DNC security.

Open Door Ministries, an urban church, used police information suggesting that several thousand prostitutes would surface in the Mile-High City during the DNC to begin a ministry to those who want a way out of sex businesses.

"We hope this ministry now will be sustainable," Ryan said. "But the association is a resource. We don't do anything unless it is requested by our churches."

Ryan believes the ministry can continue because a local church saw and responded to a need.

1ChurchMetroDenver offered prayer and worship in a park close to the Pepsi Center, where most of the convention's plenary sessions were held. With Micah 6:8 as their theme, volunteers distributed water and sunscreen and provided directions to DNC participants. They also picked up trash and recyclables from around the DNC venues.

"We wanted to be a presence, explained Jude Del Hierro, a 1ChurchMetroDenver organizer. "It was our heart ... that we would reflect the heart of the Father and be in a posture of servanthood."


Fuller Seminary professor David Scholer dies at 70
By ABP staff

PASADENA, Calif. (ABP) -- David Scholer, noted American Baptist scholar and professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, died Aug. 22 after a long struggle with cancer. He was 70.

Scholer was a specialist in several areas of New Testament studies, including Gnosticism and second-century Christianity, but was perhaps best known for his contributions to studies on women in ministry. He taught at the California-based evangelical seminary for 14 years where his course, "Women, the Bible and the Church," was considered a popular elective.

Despite a diagnosis of colo-rectal cancer in 2002, he taught and mentored students until he retired this summer.

"David was a very strong supporter of our American Baptist ministry at Fuller. For several years he has been fighting cancer with a remarkable testimony; never did he allow it to slow him down or diminish the work that God had called him to do," noted David Brown, executive director of the American Baptist Theological Center at Fuller.

"He was deeply loved, deeply respected and will be deeply missed at his home church in Pasadena, at Fuller, in our American Baptist family and in the wider community of faith."

Scholer was ordained into Christian ministry by the American Baptist Churches USA Nov. 27, 1966. He served the denomination in several capacities, including as a member of the ABC-USA General Board from 1989-1992. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Pasadena.

Scholer had published several books on subjects ranging from discipleship to biblical models of women in ministry. He also contributed more than 200 articles and book reviews and a number of edited volumes and publications.

Prior to joining Fuller, Scholer served as professor of New Testament at North Park Theological Seminary, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He held both bachelor's and master's degrees from Wheaton College, a bachelor of divinity degree from Gordon Divinity School and his doctor of theology degree from Harvard Divinity School.

Scholer is survived by his wife, Jeannette; two children, Abigail Scholer Strazzabosco and Emily Scholer Hernandez; and three grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at First Baptist Church of Pasadena Aug. 30.


Opinion: A true 'Bold Mission Thrust'
By Beth Newman

(ABP) -- Years ago (more than I like to remember), I did Southern Baptist home-missions work in Paducah, Ky. At the beginning of my sojourn there, I received a small hand mirror, which came in a glossy case embossed with the Baptist motto of the moment -- "BOLD MISSION THRUST." An arrow that bore those words pointed toward the world into which we, as home missionaries, were expected to go and make a difference.

Maybe I did. I do know that the two other interns worked hard that summer among the children of the inner city. But the summer flew by, and soon we'd returned to our regular lives. I remember being too busy to wonder, and soon way led on to way.

But were the lives of those children quantifiably different?

I've been wondering because I've recently been reading some work by Kyle Potter, who observes that today's average American suburbanite needs to feel that his or her work is accomplishing something great, that his or her efforts are making a difference. If this is not the case, Potter writes, these persons become restless -- ready to move on to new ground and new enterprises.

In fact, we see this demand for immediate results in practically every aspect of our lives -- sports, business, entertainment and even various ministries. If it's going to happen, it had better happen now. There are too many other options available to tarry long.

But there are, of course, serious repercussions. I am no economist, but I wonder how much of the current financial crisis is the result of the abandonment of delayed gratification. Why settle for a small "starter house," for instance, when easy credit makes a McMansion immediately available?

It seems paradoxical, but -- while we demand immediate gratification -- we also know in our bones that we cheat ourselves out of something vital by demanding the quick fix. For example, a recent meeting in our community on support for "local food" attracted a standing-room-only crowd. Of course, "local" food has to be waited for. You can't eat it before it's ready and you can't have the same thing year-round. But the time and effort involved does make a difference.

Christian formation is a laborious process involving a lot of hard work and a lot of time. So much of the assumptions and strategies of church starts today don't begin with this idea in place. For example, it is commonplace wisdom that the best way to increase the membership of a denomination is to plant new churches. And I've seen a good bit of statistical evidence to support this.

To the extent that the new-church starts mean going where people are, they are certainly admirable. The danger is that they represent the continual restarting (as opposed to the renewal) of community. Untethered to the past, the new congregation is able to create itself. The temptation is to pursue significance in numbers and in religious experience, rather than obedience and faithfulness over the long haul.

Such faithfulness involves the ability to wait and trust, and even to be willing to suffer. Such virtues cannot be developed in an instant. We may feel that we do not have time -- and perhaps we do not -- but God does have time. God has given us all the time we need to live lives of faithfulness in the places where we are. This is because our time is not simply ours, but the way that God makes us part of what He is doing in the world. Instead of having to look for the quick fix or the better worship experience (e.g., the golden calf) we are freed to trust that God is present and at work where we already are.

Of course, this might be difficult to see. Only after many, many years did the Israelites come to see more fully God's providential calling to them as a people -- and, even then, younger generations easily forgot. One of the many gifts, in fact, that the elderly can give the church is the gift of memory and perspective. They are capable of taking the longer view, of seeing that everything doesn't have to happen right now.

Theologian Ephraim Radner states that one of the most evangelical things that Christians today can do is to remain in the particular churches and communities where they are, even in the midst of brokenness, weakness and unfaithfulness. This is because dwelling in life's contradictions and the brokenness witnesses to the Cross of Christ. Such cruciform witness makes the Body of Christ more visible for the world. This is the kind of BOLD mission that we need today.


-- Beth Newman is professor of theology and ethics at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

Bible Trivia - 9/2/2008

Question: What was following close behind the rider ‘death’ in Revelation?

Answer: Hades. (Revelation 6:8)

Comments: Revelation 6:8 is used at the outset of the 1993 film Tombstone. It is quoted in Spanish by a priest (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.) whose village has been pillaged and translated for the marauders by Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn): "It's quoted in the bible, Revelations: 'Behold the pale horse. The man who sat on him was death, and Hell followed with him.'"

I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.(Revelation 6:8, NASB)

The verse ushers in the film's protagonist, Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell).

Word of the Day - 9/2/2008


A pother is a commotion; uproar.

When Solomon was anointed king, it created a pother in Israel.

"Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon, and they have come up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise which you have heard. (I Kings 1:45, NASB)

Note: This painting is "Solomon consecrated king" by Raphael (1483-1520). It was painted in 1519 and is owned by the Vatican.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/2/2008

I spent Labor Day evening watching a miserable football game with my father. As always, I watched the Tennessee football with dad. As you can tell from the opening line, we lost in overtime to UCLA, 27-24. My thoughts on the game will be posted under “A View from 315A”. This is the university flag which is still proudly displayed outside of our home.

Both dad and I passed on many Labor Day/football parties to be together. It is our bonding time and our friends seem to understand that. Thanks to SMA, JDM, JBT, and MPW for invitations. Special thanks to the Montgomery family who held a party that kept my beloved mother out of the house during the entire first half.

Despite the loss, it was great to be with Dad.

In other Monday news, JTH returned safely from his Georgia vacation. He was especially impressed with a dining experience he had at Ted’s Montana Grill. The restaurant was founded by mogul Ted Turner and is one of the largest franchises to feature bison on its menu. JTH was impressed because their bathrooms were equipped with borax. Yes, JTH liked the restaurant based primarily upon its cleaning supplies!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Prayer Blog - 9/1/2008

On Friday (August 29th), WAM applied for an apartment at the Woodview Terrace aprtment complex on Middlebrook Pike. He learns tomorrow whether or not he has been approved. He is contemplating whether or not to purchase a one- or two-bedroom apartment. The two-bedroom unit is available immediately while the first available one-bedroom apartment will not be open until Septmeber 14th. The cost difference is roughly $100 monthly. Pray that he is admitted and that he will choose his apartment wisely.

Bible Trivia - 9/1/2008

Question: What did Shamgar use to slay 600 Philistines?

Answer: An oxgoad. (Judges 3)

Comments: Shamgar is the third "judge" of Israel depcited in the book of Judges. His entire story occupies only one verse. (Judges 3:31) Unlike the descriptions of other Judges, the first reference to Shamgar has no introduction, conclusion, or reference to the length of reign. The text only notes his accomplishment of killing 600 enemy Philistines with an oxgoad.

After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel. (Judges 3:31, NASB)

Note: This pendrawing of Shamgar is from an unknown artist around 1450 CE.

Word of the Day - 9/1/2008


An anacoluthon is a construction involving a break in grammatical sequence, e.g. It makes me so—I just get angry.

Anacolutha are common in the writings of Paul, e.g. Galatians 2:6-8. This literary device gives the impression of the apostle simply getting carried away.

But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. (Galatians 3:6, NASB)

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/1/2008

Welcome to the special Labor Day edition of Eckleburg’s Eyes. And by special, I mean that there is absolutely nothing different about it than any other weekend update. The biggest event of the weekend was attending the Boomsday celebration with my friends.

Saturday marked the first Saturday of the college football season. I spent the day with SMA. I met SMA at his house before going out for breakfast. I actually got to see the remains of the notorious orange and white checkerboard cake from earlier in week. It looked good.

Naturally, as any self respecting Knoxville native would be, SMA was watching the ESPN pregame show when I arrived. I got in just in time to view a feature on Tim Tebow’s offseason mission work. That guy would be the most likeable player in football history were it not for his being a Florida Gator and the existence of Verne Lundquist. The latter’s infatuation is actually far more a deterrent that his playing for a rival.

Seeing on the program guide that United Championship Wrestling (UCW) started at 11:30 on WVLT (our local CBS affiliate), we waited to check it out. It is rare that a local wrestling promotion gets such coveted air time. We wanted to see what it was. We were sorely disappointed as it was the same cast of local characters who have been in town for years. The quality was horrid and crawlers repeatedly ran throughout the broadcast. How did they get the time slot?

SMA decided we would eat at Perkins. It was a difficult decision as someone really needs to invent a breakfast restaurant that also has television sets on site. We represented for the first time all season, displaying UT flags on SMA’s car.

I had not eaten at a Perkins in years. I tired the Heartland omelette. It was okay. While there Van Morrison’s “Wild Night” played and SMA was perturbed, theorizing that it should never be played before 6 pm except for in places like Alaska where it is always dark. Hopefully he will use his law degree to pass such groundbreaking legislation.

Speaking of which, SMA has applied to work at a small family law practice in Oak Ridge. He may center his job search in the Oak Ridge and Maryville areas. The Oak Ridge law firm does a great deal of work pursuing deadbeat dads. I suggested that should they not hire him, he start a feud with them, representing only the deadbeat dads they prosecute. The conversation disseminated from there.

On Sunday morning, Sunday School convened as usual. For a particularly provocative dialogue between WAM and myself, check out the WAM Quote of the Day.

I spent Sunday night with KLTW, KJW, and MPW. We attended a cookout at MPW’s mother’s home and then went to Boomsday in downtown Knoxville.

I met everyone at RAW’s house at 5:30. I arrived to find a diaper on the staircase. I soon learned that the diaper was symbolic. When KJW graduated from the bottle to the sippy cup, KLTW tossed the bottle outside as a symbolic act that it was no longer needed. She decided to duplicate this act in hopes of stimulating potty training. While I was there, we repeated the act with a box of diapers. From the rest of the day’s results, it would appear that the potty training transition will take longer than that to the sippy cup.

The event that prompted these sign acts came earlier in the day. When RAW and KLTW picked up KJW from the church’s nursery, KLTW quickly discovered that her daughter was not wearing any underwear. She turned back and the nursery attendants were shocked assuring the parents that they had indeed changed her diaper. A quick inspection of the room showed that KJW had wet her diaper, taken it off, and placed in the toy box. They were so lucky that it was just urine.

KJW had spent the day telling people she was either a “big girl dinosaur” or a “fish dinosaur”. What the latter is, we have no idea. I still chose to use it citing that big girl dinosaurs are probably potty trained. I learned that associating big girls and potty training was a bad strategy as children will revert back and wet themselves when they want to exhibit regression. Once again, I have stunted the child’s growth.

KLTW, KJW, MPW and I soon left for JMW’s South Knoxville home for a cookout. The food was great as JMW provided jumbo shrimp, hamburgers, and Johnsonville Brats. As you can tell, KJW was especially pleased with the Brown Cow she ate for dessert. (KLTW would like to note the great unintentional boob shot I took.)

Unfortunately, RAW could not attend the festivities. He was required to work a “heroes” day at Best Buy. The store reopened after hours and provided special discounts to all public school teachers. While a noble gesture, it was not well planned, having been placed on the night of holiday. Furthermore, RAW is not allowed to do much of anything at such events anyway. RAW was not pleased and tried in vain to get out of the appointment.

After eating, we took KJW to Boomsday. Boomsday is annual fireworks display which is broadcast on local television. The fireworks are shot off from the Henley Street Bridge in downtown Knoxville. Though this was the 21st annual Boomsday, I am fairly certain it is the first time I have attended. Prior to KJW, the hassle was never worth it to me. Honestly, as much as I love the child, it may still not be.

We parked at Baptist Hospital and after discovering the Gay Street Bridge was closed, wound up viewing the festivities from inside the hospital. In the event we were somewhere we were not supposed to be, I called MLM to see if anyone needed a hospital visit.

We had a great view of the events. We were directly across the river from Calhoun’s on the River. We were also positioned next to Robin Wilhoit and the WBIR news team, who were broadcasting the event live.

KJW loved the fireworks. She was not the least bit frightened, though her mother held her throughout the event which may account for some of her fearlessness. KJW mumbled the names of the colors as they emerged, trying very hard to keep up with the vast array before her.

I was disappointed. The fireworks are set to music and the first song played was theme to “2001 A Space Odyssey”(Also Sprach Zarathrustra). I was disappointed that Ric Flair did not emerge as I have been conditioned to expect his presence. The next songs were from Miley Cyrus (“See You Again”) and Jonas Brothers (“Burning Up”). We may not have represented the target demographic. Then again, I knew the songs...

There was a really neat fireworks waterfall off of the bridge. I was sort of hoping that they would spell out something with the fireworks. My top choice: “Dyron Nix” (As president of the Concerned Citizens for the Glorification of Dyron Nix - CCFTGODN - that was a natural) or G-Unit.

The event ended at 9:53. (It started at 9:30) MPW noted that the presentation was shorter than Fourth of July version. So, we actually spent longer in the parking lot getting home than at the show itself. Every now and then, KJW chided me from her car seat, “Go Chan! Go!” Eventually, she fell asleep with her head directly up in the air. I was impressed.

Finally (and randomly), why does crushed ice make drinks so much better than cubed ice?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Prayer Blog - 8/31/2008, #2

Pray for all of the refugees from Hurricane Gustav and the land which it overtakes. My church, the Central Baptist Church of Bearden is third in line in Knoxville in regards to hurricane assistance after leading the way during Katrina relief. The refurbishing of the gym floor limits the church’s activity at this time. Fortunately, the Parkwest Church of God and First Baptist Church of Knoxville are leading the way. Pray for all involved in this process

Prayer Blog - 8/31/2008

My family learned this weekend that my paternal grandfather, WCV, does indeed have prostate cancer. His PSA count, however, is very low. Since prostate cancer tends to take a great deal of time to kill its victims and since it is at a very early stage, at his age one of his primary options is not treating it. The alternative is that he would undergo radiation treatments for a month and be isolated from all, including my grandmother, during that time. Please keep him and my family in your prayers.

WAM Quote of the Day - 8/31/2008

On Sunday WAM asked me:

"Have you ever wondered why women are the only females of any species who develop breasts at puberty?...otherwise you can't tell the difference (between the sex of species without looking closely)."

I suggested that perhaps this was a sign of divine providence as men are the only males with opposable thumbs. He responded that the best he had come up with was that it gives guys something to look at while ignoring them.

Yes. This was indeed during the Sunday School hour. No. No drugs were taken by either person.

Note: The thoughts and comments presented in this conversation do not necessarily represent my views, including the ones that I made.

Church Sign - 8/31/2008

Church: Zion United Methodist Church (1807 Duncan Road; Knoxville, TN 37919)

Sign: "If prayer does not drive sin out of your life, sin will drive prayer out."

Commentary: This profound quote has been used on the Zion United Methodist sign before. It originates with Matilda Erickson Andross (1880-1957). Andross wrote, "If the Christian does not allow prayer to drive sin out of his life, sin will drive prayer out of his life. Like light and darkness, the two cannot dwell together."