Saturday, September 27, 2008

Church Sign - 9/27/2008

Church: Parkway Baptist Church (401 S Peters Rd; Knoxville, TN 37923)

Sign: "We are weak
But He is strong
Yes - Jesus loves me!”

Commentary: This sign features a portion of the familiar children’s song “Jesus Loves Me”. The lyrics first appeared as a poem in Susan Warner (1819-1885)’s best-selling novel Say and Seal (1860). In 1862, William Batchelder Bradbury (1816-1868) added the tune and his own chorus "Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus Loves me..."

Though the song’s lyrics are simple, they are profound. In 1962, influential theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) made his only visit to the Unites States He lectured at the University of Chicago Divinity School , in English, from his book Evangelical Theology: An Introduction. At the end of the lecture he was asked what he considered to be the greatest theological discovery of his life. He responded, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NASB)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bible Trivia - 9/26/2008

Question: Of what city was Hiram the King?

Answer: Tyre. (I Kings 9:11)

Comments: Hiram was king of the Phoenician city of Tyre. He was a friend of King David (I Kings 5:1) and had a political alliance with Israel during Solomon's reign.

(Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold according to all his desire), then King Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. (I Kings 9:11, NASB)

At Solomon's request, Hiram provided the timber for the building of the first temple.

Note: This painting of the constuction of the temple was done by Isabella Colette.

Word of the Day - 9/26/2008


To anathematize is to pronounce an anathema against; denounce; curse.

After his brother Abimelech slain his seventy other brothers, Jothan did the only thing in his power to do - he anathematized his living brother and his followers. (Judges 9:1-21)

But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelech!" (Judges 9:20, NASB)

After making this pronouncement, Jothan fled in fear.

Note: This portrait, titled "Jotham in exile" was created by Hermann Freye in the nineteenth century.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/26/2008

On Thursday morning/afternoon, my Bible study convened at church. As usual, we discussed a vast array of issues. The Scriptural portion of the class focused on the “I am” statements in John 14:6 and John 15:1. We did have an intermission for MLM to go to the church’s cafeteria to procure lunch. This is what he returned with. He insists that part of this bounty was to serve as his wife’s dinner.

One of our discussion topics led MLM to have us watch the fifteen installment in the NOOMA DVD series entitled “You”. For the uninitiated, Nooma is a video series featuring Michigan evangelical Rob Bell which derives its name from the phonetic spelling of the Greek word for “spirit”, traditionally transliterated, pneuma. Bell, perhaps best known for his book Velvet Elvis, is one of the key figures in what some have dubbed the “emerging church.”

In this video, Bell went through a list of popular Christian sayings and showed how the early church borrowed them from the Roman culture and redefined them. Evidently the concept of Christianity revamping popular slogans is not new to the current generation of Christians. (See image for example.)

I agreed with the entire video. I would like to note that while the concepts of virgin birth and resurrection were not uncommon in Roman mythology, the concept of a loving God who died for humanity was unique. In my opinion, the most drastic borrowed term/image was that of the cross which went from representing the most heinous of deaths to the icon that Christians proudly display. Bell did not note this as it did not fit his thesis in this video. This is not a critique, simply a note to those who have seen this video and wondered if Christianity had any completely unique tenets.

Finally, speaking of trendy Christian reading, The Shack was referenced again in Bible study. I decided that it was time I read the book. I read the first 138 pages on Thursday and hope to complete the novel over the weekend. I admit that I enjoyed the thought provoking discussions in the text. My only complaint was that they reminded me of many of the things Dr. Claypool taught me and made me miss him. I can give a book no higher compliment than that.

Speaking of Dr. Claypool, he has a new book. On March 1st, his wife, Ann Wilkinson Claypool, posthumously released a series of sermons under the title The First to Follow: The Apostles of Jesus. Here’s hoping that Dr. Claypool has more posthumous work that Tupac! ( I wonder if those two have ever been compared previously...)

On Thursday night I met GAB, JB, JTH, and JBT at Applebees. We watched Oregon State upset #1 ranked USC, 27-21 in a monumental college football upset. It was a good night. Amy was our waitress, though AFH sat with us at a time in which she had no tables and gave me this Applebees pin. I may use it to replace the typical Applebees logo for the blog.

Finally, I heard on the radio that a survey concluded that 25% of North Americans had not read a book in the last year! Though it did not surprise me, it was still saddening to hear.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bible Trivia - 9/25/2008

Question: What is the name of the angel who leads the battle against the dragon in Revelation 12?

Answer: Michael. (Revelation 12:7)

Comments: Michael is one of only two angels who are called by name in most translations of the Protesant Bible. The other is Gabriel. Gabriel tends to speak while Michael tends to do battle. Michael is referenced in three books of the Bible: 1. In Daniel, Michael is seen as the protector of Israel. (Daniel 10:13, 10:21, 12:1). 2. In Jude, Michael vies with Satan for the corpse of Moses. (Jude 1:9) 3. Finally, in Revelation, Michael leads the battle against the dragon. (Revelation 12:9)

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon The dragon and his angels waged war, (Revelation 12:7, NASB)

For the record, Michael wins each of these battles.

Note: This interpretation of Revelation 12 (entitled "War in Heaven") was composed in Prismacolor Pencil by Nina's Fine Art Gallery.

Word of the Day - 9/25/2008


Ebullient means overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited.

During the Feast of Tabernacles (Hebrew: סוכות or סֻכּוֹת, sukkōt), the third of three major feasts outlined in Leviticus 23, the Israelites were to be ebullient for an entire week.

'Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.' (Leviticus 23:40, NASB)

This painting by contemporary Israeli artist Yoram Raanan, based upon Leviticus 23:40, is titled "Sukkoth bet knesset".

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/25/2008

For the fourth consecutive day, I spent Wednesday in Knoxville’s downtown area.

MLM and I had two appointments at the Hope Resource Center, at 1:30 and 2 pm. For the second week in a row our second client failed to show up. It was just as well. We spent forty minutes with the first visitor. We both really enjoyed the young man and did not want the conversation to end. I cannot comment on specifics, but keep the young man in your prayers.

He became the umpteenth person to recommend The Shack to me. As much as I hate to give in, I may have to break down and read some contemporary fiction.

I spent Wednesday night back in class. RGB used our “smart classroom” to teach the class the history of the adult education movement, of which he is quite passionate. More importantly, I submitted my first paper since my return to school - my personal philosophy of adult education. While it will never be published, I was pleased with the final product. I just hope that he won't mind the plethora of Scripture citations...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Associated Baptist Press - 9/24/2008

Associated Baptist Press
September 24, 2008 · (08-91)

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

In this issue
Cecil Sherman, in hospital, gets ABP freedom award
Wyatts' ministry to internationals broadens with move to Ottawa
Bilingual resources engage Korean preschoolers, children in missions

Cecil Sherman, in hospital, gets ABP freedom award
By Robert Marus

HOUSTON (ABP) -- Associated Baptist Press has paid homage to moderate Baptist pioneer Cecil Sherman even as the veteran of Baptist internal fighting faces a different sort of battle.

ABP board member Marv Knox presented Sherman with the news agency's Religious Freedom Award Sept. 10.

Although usually presented at a banquet in conjunction with an ABP directors' meeting, the award was given to Sherman in his room at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he is undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive form of cancer.

The struggle against the deadly disease is one of many challenges he has met in his 80 years.

Jackie Moore, who chairs the ABP board's awards committee and accompanied Knox to Houston, said directors had decided long ago to present the award to Sherman for his defense of religious freedom and freedom of the press. But his hospitalization caused them to expedite the event, in hopes that Sherman would be in good enough health by ABP's April board meeting to be honored with the traditional banquet tribute.

"Several on our board suggested that we present it to him now as a way of expressing our love and encouragement to a true hero of our Baptist faith," she said, in a Sept. 24 e-mail message. "So many of those giants of the faith have gone on to heaven, and I believe we had a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us in that hospital room and joining us in celebrating this faithful servant. Dr. Sherman has spent a lifetime loving people through his pastoral ministry, his writing and his legacy of truth even when it meant personal sacrifice."

Sherman, a prominent figure in moderate Baptist life over the last half-century, served as the first national coordinator -- or chief executive -- of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He helped shape the moderate organization, founded in 1991 after fundamentalists wrested control of the Southern Baptist Convention from their more theologically centrist brethren.

Sherman is renowned for going toe-to-toe with fundamentalist Adrian Rogers during theological debates when both served on the SBC Peace Committee in the mid-1980s. The panel worked -- ultimately unsuccessfully -- to resolve the moderate-conservative dispute that had dissolved into open conflict within the denomination in 1979.

"This award allows me to join a company of extraordinary Baptists, and I am honored to be in their company," he said, in a statement conveyed by his daughter, Eugenia Brown. "For Marv Knox to fly to Houston to make this presentation was an extraordinary kindness. I am grateful to the directors of ABP for this honor."

Knox, editor of the Texas Baptist Standard, wrote a column describing the presentation in Sherman's hotel room as a moment in which he felt as though he was "on holy ground."

"Cecil is a living legend among Baptists," Knox said, in a telephone interview Sept. 23. "And he's embodied in his life and in his ministry ... the ideals of this award and, really, what ABP stands for in terms of religious freedom."

ABP "seeks to promote religious freedom ... at its founding and throughout the years and has sought to tell people the truth about issues of faith and life and particularly the Baptist denomination, and Cecil was certainly a role model for all of us, even though he was not a journalist," Knox continued. "He was a pastor and a denominational leader and now an elder statesman. And he was always courageous to speak the truth. And we all appreciate what he's done to not take freedom lightly, but to value it and treasure it and pass it along to future generations by being a good steward."

Before helping found CBF, Sherman served as pastor of several prominent congregations, including Broadway Baptist Church in his native Fort Worth, Texas, and First Baptist Church in Asheville, N.C. After retiring from CBF in 1996, he served as a professor and interim pastor. He was teaching at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Va., and serving as pastor of Westover Baptist Church in Richmond, when doctors discovered his leukemia.

Sherman's wife, Dot, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease several years ago. She died Aug. 1.

Brown said Sept. 24 that her father was discharged from M.D. Anderson Sept. 22 and that his prognosis was much better than when his cancer was initially diagnosed. Sherman has been undergoing experimental drug treatments at the hospital, which is highly regarded for cutting-edge cancer research.

"In July, he was given about 3 months to live," she said. "But now, as he has responded so well to the chemo, the docs clearly think that he will live a good bit longer than that."

Sherman now lives in an apartment provided by Houston's South Main Baptist Church. Brown, who lives in Madison, Wis., has been caring for him with the help of family friends. If his condition continues to improve, she noted, he may move back to Richmond.


Wyatts' ministry to internationals broadens with move to Ottawa
By Carla Wynn Davis

ATLANTA (ABP) -- A peaceful night's sleep for a refugee whose run from violence and danger has ended, the sound of fellowship as a Christian connects with a lonely international student and the joy of a congregation that rediscovers its mission and purpose in the world -- this is the stuff of Kim and Marc Wyatt's ministry.

For more than a decade, the Wyatts, who now serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in Canada, have ministered among internationals, including students, immigrants and refugees.

They began in Thailand, where first-hand experience as internationals helped them understand those with whom they now minister. In 1998, they began serving at Matthew House, a shelter in Toronto that has helped refugees from more than 75 countries resettle in Canada.

As more individuals and churches became involved, the Wyatts widened their ministry scope to include meeting needs of other internationals, such as the large population of immigrants and international students living in cities near the Canadian-American border and in Montreal, Canada's second-largest city and the second-largest French-speaking city in the world (after Paris).

Last year the Wyatts and children Rebecca, 16, and Jon Marc, 13, moved to Ottawa -- Canada's capital -- to be more centrally located to the mostly French-speaking congregations with which they partner.

The Wyatts are helping Eastview Baptist Church, a Portuguese and English-speaking congregation, rediscover its missional presence. The church has connected with refugees such as Pierre (whose last name is not being used for security purposes) and his wife. Originally from war-torn Congo, the couple recently moved to Ottawa after years in Hong Kong, where they constantly feared deportation.

The Wyatts have helped network churches and ministry organizations to assist the couple with furniture, employment, friendship and a baby shower to celebrate the birth of the couple's first child.

"How wonderful it is when churches ... community leaders and municipal service providers ... work together for the common good, blessing immigrant families and communities," Kim Wyatt said.

The Wyatts have started ministering among a growing population of refugees from Haiti. These refugees journey to the United States and, feeling the risk of deportation, flee north to large Canadian cities, where their native French language is more commonly spoken.

In Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, the Wyatts partner with Baptist churches to create a refugee ministry that includes emergency housing assistance, free food and clothing, counseling services, immigration assistance and orientation to the country.

"Our work is to seek, discover, advance, encourage and bless the work [of Canadian churches] among internationals in their local neighborhoods," Marc Wyatt said.

Ottawa is home to immigrants, refugees and international students from approximately 150 countries. The doors for ministry are open, and through partnerships the Wyatts believe that more people can be reached with the presence of Christ.

"We work hard to include others with sharing the Great Commission of Jesus," Marc Wyatt said. "Much more is possible together than separately."

While most of their work is with Canadian churches, some U.S. congregations also partner with the Wyatts. First Baptist Church in Reidsville, N.C., added sending an annual summer missionary to Canada to the prayer and financial support they were already giving to the Wyatts. Other supporting churches include First Baptist Church in Danville, Va., and Monument Heights Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.

"God is sending his church to so love the world, to share and demonstrate the gospel to everyone, everywhere," Marc Wyatt said. "God is bringing those he loves into proximity of his people, his church, his good news. Missionaries and churches are needed to send, support, pray for and welcome those [internationals] God is literally bringing to us."


Bilingual resources engage Korean preschoolers, children in missions
By Julie Walters

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (ABP) -- Korean preschoolers and children now will learn about Baptist mission efforts around the world thanks to an agreement between national Woman's Missionary Union and its Texas affiliate.

Leaders of the two WMU organizations signed a three-year agreement Aug. 28 to formalize their commitment to provide educational materials.

The project began in 2007 as a pilot between the state and national bodies to meet a specific need in Korean Baptist churches, according to Carol Causey, director of national WMU's missions-resource center. The churches needed missions-education materials written in both Korean and English for preschoolers and children.

Angela Kim, Korean consultant for both WMU organizations and editorial coordinator for the Korean curriculum project, presented the proposal along with Carolyn Porterfield, Texas WMU's former executive director-treasurer.

Mission Friends and Children in Action organizations in Korean churches have grown exponentially in the year since the materials became available.

"Most adults in cultural churches in North America speak their own languages," Kim said. "However, they are limited in English-speaking teachers -- and usually the first-generation adults with limited English comprehension have to prepare the lessons using English curriculum. WMU has been sensitive to this need and responded with materials for the first-generation teachers teaching the second generation using both their own language and English."

Under the agreement, Texas WMU will handle logistics, including layout and design, printing and distribution, and the national body will provide expertise in curriculum development and will help fund the project.

Kim, who also serves as WMU committee chair for the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America, added, "Most Korean churches are very much interested in missions today, but they have not had the framework for on-going missions education or materials where the children can grow learning about missions. The concept is new to them and has been very well received."
Causey said that, in addition to preschool and children's materials, bilingual resources for Korean adults are being developed.

"National WMU remains committed to expanding missions involvement with emerging audiences, and this project provides us with a good model for other bilingual resources," Causey said. "Our hope is that other states will join us with similar projects to engage a larger multicultural audience in missions."


Prayer Blog - 9/24/2008

While picking up my order from the Silver Spoon Café, my favorite bartender Lisa (LH) asked for prayer. She has taken in her nephew Clint, who is a recovering drug addict. He had attempted suicide in June and is recovering well. Despite his recovery, unfortunately he has not been able to find a job. Please keep this young man in your prayers.

Bible Trivia - 9/24/2008

Question: Did Abraham die or was he taken directly to Heaven?

Answer: He died. (Genesis 25:8)

Comments: Abraham died at the age of 175. He was buried by his two previously estranged sons, Isaac and Ishamel, in the family tomb - the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite.

Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people. (Genesis 25:8, NASB)

The only two Biblical people to not experience natural death were Enoch (Genesis 5:23-24) and Elijah (II Kings 2:1-14).

Note: This image of Abraham's death was painted Johann Wilhelm Schirmer (1807-1863). Schirmer painted "Twelve Scenes from the History of Abraham". The paintings hang in the National Gallery at Berlin.

Word of the Day - 9/24/2008


Effulgence means shining forth brilliantly; radiant.

When Moses descended from Mount Sinai after obtaining the replacement set of the Ten Commandments, his face exhibited so much effulgence that his fellow Israelites feared him.

It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. (Exodus 34:29, NASB)

This painting, "The Shining Face of Moses" is part of the James Kuhn Gallery. Kuhn, a contemporary artist, also has a MySpace that can be accessed here.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/24/2008

For the second consecutive Tuesday I attended a college sponsored play that many students attended to get extra credit for class. I think this pretty much cements my status as a nerd.

My day began by helping my mother with a mission project. I was to take my father’s Ascender and unload items at Westminster Presbyterian Church for a rummage sale. As usual when it comes to chores instituted by DLNV, this was far easier said than done. The SUV was packed to capacity and when I got to the church I discovered that the drop off point was nowhere particularly close to an entrance. I suppose the church had not anticipated someone loading enough items to fill the average apartment.

We donated some quality items. I noticed that my old cassette tape collection was included. Someone is going to get a real treat when they see my cassette single of Gerardo’s “We Want the Funk”. Does anyone remember him?

I also may add a new element to my workout regime - Christmas tree lugging. It proved quite the workout.

The rummage sale is this Saturday (September 27th) from 8 am to 1 pm if interested. All proceeds go towards missions. Just don’t expect everyone to be so self sacrificing as my family.

While at the church, I also noticed that they now have a labyrinth. I have no idea how long it has been there but it was cool to learn that there is a labyrinth basically in my neighborhood.

On Tuesday night, I drove to the UT campus to watch the Reduced Shakespeare Company perform the Complete History of America: (abridged). The performance was held at the Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building at 7:30. I had seen an advertisement for the event and I am glad I attended. It was educational and hilarious.

The event was free to the public as it was sponsored by the Cultural Attractions Committee and the Issue Committee. The large auditorium was packed with many of the audience forced to stand in the back. I sat in this seat, closest to the door. Not only was I being a good Baptist, but it was also the easiest way out of the crowded facility.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company is an acting troupe known for its abridged versions of important material. They were founded in 1981 in California. Their first three acts were The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) , The Complete History of America (abridged), and The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged). Despite the fact that the play is long running, it had been updated to include the upcoming election. Several jokes involved Sarah Palin (in reference to the Salem Witch Trials) and John McCain (his birth was featured on a timeline in the prehistoric period). The fact that the troupe was not supportive of the current state of the country was not subtle. If you are opposed to the “war on terror” (which I am) you should see this play.

The show condenses the entirety of American history into ninety minutes, from the crossing of the Bering Strait until the present. The performance was presented in two acts with the first act ending at the Civil War and the second beginning with World War I. I liked the first act decidedly better. Despite their irreverence, the troupe presented a very inclusive history. In addition to the very early historical outset they also included a segment on great women in American history. They even gave out trading cards of the latter. “Collect all three.”

There were three actors constantly changing roles and taking pratfalls. It was as if the history of America was told by The Three Stooges. Our cast was comprised of Jeff Marlow, Mick Orfe, and Dustin Sullivan. I cannot praise the trio enough.

There would be too much material too quote. The performance was full of double entendres. One of my favorite moments was the revealing of an anagram they created for Richard Nixon’s vice president Spiro Agnew. E-mail me if you do not know what it is.

I also had a remarkable conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He was a graduate student who obtained his undergraduate degree from Tennessee Tech. He plans on eventually to law school. I was amazed as he told me without asking that he was voting for Obama and that he was an avowed atheist despite being raised in the church. In fact, he is working on a book that satirizes the Bible. All of this was acknowledged after I told him I was a minister. To be honest, I loved his honesty and we had a great discussion.

After the play, I made a late visit to see KLTW, KJW, and RAW. Despite the hour, KJW was in rare form. She had us all play instruments. KLTW played the tambourine, KJW maracas, RAW the xylophone, and I the bongos. We may have been the worst band ever assembled. KJW enjoyed playing which made it worthwhile.

Earlier in the day, the family purchased two fish at Aquarium (6410 Papermill Drive) so that Dwight would have friends. They got an orange fish which KJW named “Tang” and a black fish that she named “Marbles”. Both are in the goldfish family.

In other KJW news, she can now count to twenty though she typically omits fourteen. You may remember that she refused to say “seven” for quite awhile. We anticipate that she will hate the number twenty-one....

She has also been taught to say “ghetto fabulous” for no apparent reason.

KL and MPW stopped by as well. KLTW had escorted her to the orthopedist earlier in the day and to get an MRI. There is still a chance that she will be able to avoid knee surgery. She was to know the results of the MRI the following day. Keep her health in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Associated Baptist Press - 9/23/2008

Associated Baptist Press
September 23, 2008 · (08-90)

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

In this issue
IMB retooling to focus agency on local-church mission work
Unique international tour inspires students to pursue U.N. goals
Former BWA president David Wong dies at 97
Opinion: The gender debate is ultimately about Jesus

IMB retooling to focus agency on local-church mission work
By Vicki Brown

ATLANTA (ABP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board will reorganize over the next year to focus more on local churches' involvement in missions and provide flexibility to reach people groups across geographical lines.

At their Sept. 8-10 meeting in Atlanta, IMB trustees approved a reorganization of the missionary-sending agency and revised its vision, mission and core-values statements. The process will take about a year to fine tune and complete, according to an IMB news release.

Although details of the reorganization have not yet been publicized, basic changes include grouping current missionary teams into "clusters" and replacing the IMB's 11 geographically based regions with eight "affinity groups."

IMB President Jerry Rankin told trustees that sending missionaries, reaching the lost and planting churches would remain the agency's primary tasks. Reorganization would provide the support to focus on reaching people groups even when they move across national boundaries.

But changes in the agency's mission statement and core values also emphasize the local church's role in reaching the world with the message of Christ.

"[T]he revised mission statement ... reflects that the Great Commission is the responsibility of the local church and refocuses the efforts of the agency on assisting churches to fulfill that responsibility," according to the IMB release.

The values statement, the release continued, shifts "the role of the agency from a primary focus on sending missionaries to one that serves the churches in their involvement in the Great Commission and the sending of missionaries."

The changes simply reflect what some churches are already doing through the current IMB structure and will facilitate involving more congregations, according to Ken Winter, IMB's vice president of church and partner services.

"Churches for years ... have been strategically involved in reaching the lost," he said. "We've seen dramatically increasing involvement ... and churches desiring to engage people groups."

For the past few years, congregations have been able to participate in strategic planning and action to reach specific people groups as "engaging churches," often partnered with an IMB region. The mission board assists with training and resources and provides a coach/mentor for the congregation. Currently, 150 churches partner in some way in IMB's West Africa region alone.

"We see an awakening taking place," Winter said. The changes are designed "to unleash the resources God is making available," and development of affinity groups is "an attempt to do more, effectively."

Asked if the changes might adversely affect the Cooperative Program, the SBC's unified budget, Winter said, "I don't believe so, based on what we've seen. In fact, we've seen just the opposite.... For the past four to five years, as churches have been more strategically involved ..., we see their giving increasing.... I think it's people connecting with God's heart for missions."

In other action, IMB trustees approved a new child-protection policy requiring all personnel to undergo thorough background checks and to disqualify anyone with a history of sexual abuse, a criminal conviction of a sexual nature or with behavior that indicates they pose a risk to children.

The board also approved appointment of 83 new missionaries.


Unique international tour inspires students to pursue U.N. goals
By Carla Wynn Davis

ATLANTA (ABP) -- Thirteen students, six countries, eight goals and one underlying motivation -- to see the gospel in action.

This summer, 13 undergraduate and graduate students took a 50-day journey to experience how Cooperative Baptist Fellowship efforts intersect with the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals for reducing global poverty.

Those goals include an end to poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and global partnerships.

As part of CBF's Student.Go missions program, the trip offered students a first-hand look at poverty's impact and gave them an opportunity to explore what Christians can and should do to help the impoverished.

"The gospel is why we took this journey," said CBF training manager John Derrick, who helped develop the experience after a CBF student conference in January 2007.

In a workshop about the millennium goals, then-Auburn University student Rosie Stafford asked Derrick how students could respond. Seven months later, Derrick called Stafford with an answer -- a trip she couldn't resist.

In late June, team members began their two-month journey in the nation's capital, where they met with the ONE Campaign and CBF partners Bread for the World and Baptist World Aid.

They went to Romania, where they learned from CBF field personnel Susan and Wes Craig about Ruth School and the education it provides Roma Gypsy children.
The next stop was Ethiopia to visit CBF field personnel David and Merrie Harding and to witness the impact of AIDS, famine and lack of clean water, including a visit to a children's home that cares for more than 400 AIDS orphans.

They heard stories of people desperate for food, and they assisted Ethiopians to drill a well for clean water.

"I have never been a part of such an awe-inspiring thing in my whole life," said Carson Foushee, 23, a student at Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology. "The completed project was going to mean life for the people" in that village.

Students then went to Uganda, where they met CBF field personnel Jade and Shelah Acker and saw goal-related projects. They visited schools, churches, slums and an isolated refugee camp, where 2,000 people displaced by civil war live without a clean water source and no assistance from aid organizations.

"I witnessed an injustice, a forgotten people," Stafford said. "It haunts me still."

From Uganda, the team spent several days in New York City at the United Nations before heading to one of the poorest areas in Nicaragua. Through a partnership with Witness for Peace, students stayed in local homes -- sleeping on the floor or in hammocks, bathing in the river and eating what host families offered.

"We left full of awe and appreciation. This leg of our journey has been absolutely ... full of renewed hope," said Karen Taylor, a student at Gardner-Webb University's Christopher White Divinity School.

The International AIDS Conference in Mexico City was the final leg for participants. There they learned how to respond to the global pandemic.

"God opened our minds and hearts to learn about the virus that is still growing, still killing, and still has no cure," Auburn University student Caitlin Sandley said.
Now students are required to develop a goal-related project at their university, seminary, church or other venue. One student is coordinating a sports-development program to support primary education and pediatric health initiatives in Uganda and Nicaragua. Another student hopes to develop an awareness program among sororities at her school.

Students note other tangible aspects of the transformation they experienced.
"We hear about global need and hunger every day -- but to see such a thing, to have those faces and names and stories to go along with it, is an invaluable tool of clarity and purpose," said Caleb Tankersley, 20, a student at Southeast Missouri State University.

"There is no way I will ever be the same," said Samford University student Mary Beth Gilbert, 20. "I began a journey that has no end in sight."

And that's just what John and Amy Derrick, who joined the students for portions of the trip, hoped this experience would do.

"To have this kind of experience at such an early age is an incredible gift," said Amy Derrick, CBF's student-missions specialist. "They have the rest of their lives to act upon it. My hope is that they do just that -- act on this for the rest of their lives."

Former BWA president David Wong dies at 97
By ABP staff

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (ABP) -- David Wong, former president of the Baptist World Alliance, died Sept. 16 in Alhambra, Calif. He was 97.

Born in Wuzhou, China, Wong moved to Hong Kong in 1949. He was the first layman and the first Asian to be elected president of the worldwide umbrella group for national and regional Baptist denominations. He held the post from 1975 to 1980.

An architectural engineer, he chaired the BWA Men's Department and served as president of the Asian Baptist Federation before becoming BWA president.
Wong was deeply committed to laymen's ministry, and presided at the first World Conference of Baptist Men, held in Hong Kong in 1974.

As president, he helped implement organizational changes, including the creation of the BWA General Council and the Division of Evangelism and Education. Under his leadership, the BWA granted newer and younger member bodies equal standing with older conventions and unions.

Wong traveled widely as BWA president, visiting approximately 70 countries during his tenure. He also wrote a memoir, By the Grace of God: Memoirs of David Y.K. Wong.

Wong "distinguished himself as a good man who served the BWA with faithfulness and loyalty," current president David Coffey said, according to a BWA news release. "We express our gratitude to God for David Wong's service and send our loving sympathy to his wife, Lillian, and family."


Opinion: The gender debate is ultimately about Jesus
By David Gushee

(ABP) -- Last Monday (Sept. 15), I published an article in USA Today that has bounced around the blogosphere evoking intense reaction ever since. The argument of the article was that Sarah Palin's nomination for vice president, and the warm conservative evangelical response to that nomination, raised uncomfortable but opportune questions to her core constituency. These questions related to their long-articulated theological vision of male leadership as well as of women's primary vocation as homemakers and mothers. I ended with a series of questions for "complementarian" Christians related to the issues raised in the article.

I rarely respond to blog posts or to angry (or happy) letters about my articles, and I cannot say that I have read every word tossed my way this week, but I see an opportunity here to muse about some of the broader questions raised by my article and its respondents.

One correspondent suggested that I was airing dirty laundry in the evangelical world and should not have addressed such issues in a public forum. My response is that for the better part of two decades I worked for women's full equality in various venues of Christian service and that private approaches yielded little fruit. Meanwhile many of the church's most committed women suffered, their gifts blocked from full expression. If the laundry is dirty, perhaps it's time for a wash.

The complementarian view of women's proper roles in church and family is deeply entrenched and taken as an obvious truth by millions. Evoking its public defense before a broad audience seemed to me an appropriate goal, partly because I believe in the value of transparency and open public debate. I never intended to say that the world should set the tone for the church, or that because something is permitted in the world it should be permitted in the church. I did intend to stimulate a public defense (and a private rethinking) of the complementarian view of authority in the church, partly because that view has public consequences. That defense has in fact occurred over these recent days in a variety of venues.

Essentially, most complementarians have articulated what has become the standard view: the Bible teaches that women can exercise authoritative leadership in the secular sphere but not in the spiritual realm-or at home. This view is then buttressed by citing I Timothy 2:11-15, I Corinthians 11:3-10, Ephesians 5:22-33, and I Peter 3:1-7.

To be more precise, what today's mainstream complementarians do with these passages is to construct a modified home-and-church patriarchalism in which a composite rendering of these passages is offered -- without also offering the theological rationales that appear in the biblical texts themselves.

The composite rendering is the view that these texts prohibit women (only) from being pastors or leaders of their families. Even though I Timothy 2:12 says women should be silent in church, and I Corinthians 11:5-10 says women should not publicly pray or prophesy with uncovered heads, today's complementarians don't require women to be silent in church or to cover their heads when they pray and prophesy. They do synthesize these and other passages to argue that women must not be pastors.

Or is it that women must not be deacons? Or Sunday School teachers? Or youth ministers? In my original article I listed a wide range of ever-tightening prohibitions on the role of women as these are found in various churches. It has long been my view that the Achilles heel of the modern complementarians is the fact that all they can really agree on is that there's something women must not be permitted to do, but not on what exactly that something is. Even during my days in the middle of this controversy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the 1990s, the position shifted in just a few years from "women can't be senior pastors" to "women can't be pastors." Before that, especially in the mainline denominations, the issue was ordination. For a time among Baptists the issue was the deacon role.

As for theological rationale, as Rebecca Merrill Groothuis points out in a devastating post dated September 20, the biblical texts cited by complementarians do sometimes offer deeper theological rationales for women's subordination. But these rationales are no longer cited by mainstream complementarians, and in some cases they are explicitly rejected.

One could make an argument from creation, as Paul does in I Corinthians 11:7-10 and I Timothy 2:13a. In I Corinthians, Paul argues that man "is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man." In I Timothy, the argument is that "Adam was formed first, and then Eve." These are creation-based arguments, suggesting that Adam has priority in the order of creation, that his status as image of God is somehow different from the woman's, that woman was made for man and not man for woman, and that woman was made from man and not man from woman. Paul seems to modify what is perhaps an inherited position on this issue in the next few verses (I Cor. 11:11-12), but the words are there earlier in the text and ready to be cited if one might want to use them.

Likewise, an argument from the fall of humanity is also available, because it says in I Timothy 2:14, "And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." This at least seems to suggest that women carry either a moral responsibility for the fall or an intrinsic moral inferiority that disqualifies them from speaking in church or exercising spiritual authority. But the idea that women should be barred from spiritual leadership because of either of these reasons has been absent in recent mainstream complementarian argument.

If complementarians are unwilling to make an argument from creation, or from the fall, or (for that matter) from redemption, all that is left are fragments of a couple of passages read apart from cultural context that hang in mid-air without any particular grounding. Unwilling to adopt the thoroughgoing patriarchalism of the flat-out traditionalists, which at least had the virtue of being consistent, they cite this handful of passages and end with the historically contingent composite view that what the Bible teaches is that women can be anything they want to be in the secular arena but not at home or in church. They really cannot say why God would decree that a woman can be president but not pastor, but they are convinced that God has indeed decreed it.

I call this a historically contingent view because it clearly represents an evolution of earlier, much more subordinationist perspectives that can easily be cited from the long history of Christian thought. It marks a kind of compromise of religious patriarchalism with the realities that exist in a society committed since the 1960s to gender egalitarianism, as well as an economy that has become dependent on women's labor. It is a fallback position that has changed subtly even since I first encountered it in the mid-1980s. Undoubtedly it will change again. This, at least, is my interpretation of their current interpretation of the Bible.

The Scriptures are authoritative and do not change. Any individual or group interpretation of the Scriptures is not authoritative and (it is a fact) can change. Sometimes it must change, as in the struggle over the interpretation of the many Scripture passages related to slavery. Let no one doubt my 30-year-long Baptist and evangelical identity because I point out the historical contingency and possible error of someone's interpretation of the Scriptures -- including my own, for which I claim no infallibility. It is the theological vision of this vestigial patriarchalism that in my article I called "archaic," not the Bible itself.

In Kingdom Ethics (Intervarsity Press, 2003), Glen Stassen and I suggested a model for how moral norms work, in which specific rules are grounded in broader principles, and principles are themselves grounded in broader theological or worldview convictions. We argued that at times in Christian and other communities we encounter rules that no longer seem to be grounded in any deeper principle or core theological conviction. Usually, this means it is time to rethink the rule.

I would argue that "women can't be pastors" is exactly such a rule. I grant that it is a plausible composite or synthesis of specific biblical phrases and sentences, and I respect those who hold this view out of a desire to be faithful to Scripture. But no mainstream conservative theological voice today seems willing or able to offer a broader principle or understanding of God's character and action that can ground this rule. It's not because women are spiritually inferior, or less intelligent, or morally weaker, or lack leadership skills, or aren't gifted by the Spirit with relevant spiritual gifts. It's just because ... well, because we say God says so, and here are a few verses we read as backing this up.

But when one thinks about the God who is busily involved in the mission of redeeming the world, one wonders why such a God would restrict the forces available to be deployed in this struggle. When one thinks about Jesus' welcome of the marginalized, one wonders why this Jesus would create a church in which women are systematically marginalized. When one thinks about a God who hears the cries of the oppressed, one wonders about why God would order the oppression of more than half of those who come to be his people in the church. And when one thinks about a kingdom, the kingdom Jesus proclaimed, which is marked by such joyful realities as justice and the inclusion of the previously rejected, one wonders why such a God would command that women be treated with such injustice and excluded from the leadership that their gifts prepare them for.

Can I be a bit more personal? Can I say that one reason why I took on this issue last week is because I have watched women weep over their exclusion and the suppression of their gifts? Does this matter in theology? Or are we just deductive reasoning machines? Does God speak through the tears of the many women I taught who were told (often derisively) by their classmates and by some of their professors that God could not call them to be pastors and that they really didn't need to be studying theology or ministry? Does God speak through the voices of gifted daughters of the church who were told so often that they must not pursue their sense of call that they experienced a crippling sense of inferiority, powerlessness, and confusion? Does it matter that three of the most effective and influential ministers who have blessed the life of my family have been women, and that I shudder when I think about the suppression of their gifts and what that would have meant in the life of our family and those churches? Would it be acceptable to mention that I know women who have left the Church (not just a church) because they could not believe in a God who would degrade women in this way?

I believe in a Savior who hears the cries of all who are oppressed, who welcomes marginal ones and outcasts into full community, who loves and demands justice, and who wants every single spiritual gift he has given to every person in his church exercised in all of its fullness -- until he comes again and brings history to its long-awaited culmination, when all tears are wiped away at last.

Ultimately, this debate is about who Jesus is and what he is about in the church and in the world.


-- David Gushee is distinguished university professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University.

Bible Trivia - 9/23/2008

Question: What was the name of the first female Christian believer in Athens?

Answer: Damaris. (Acts 17:34)

Comments: The only converts named resulting from Paul's visit to Athens are a man named Dionysius and a woman named Damaris. Interpreters as early and as John Chrysostom (347–407) have speculated that the couple was married. This theory is highly speculative.

But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:34, NASB)

This is the only time Damaris is referenced in Scripture.

In 1991, popular inspirational fiction novelist Jannette Oke published a book titled A Woman Named Damaris in her Women Of West series. In the book, the titular character seeks the meaning of her name, knowing only that its orgins stem from the Bible.

Word of the Day - 9/23/2008


Bruxism is teeth-grinding.

When Jesus descended from the Mount of Transfiguration he found that his disciples had failed to exorcise a man possessed by a spirit which made him a victim of bruxism, among other ailments. (Mark 9:14-32)

and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it." (Mark 9:18, NASB)

Though his disciples failed in their efforts, Jesus healed the man. (Mark 9:26)

Note: This image of this story was first published in 1516. The artist is unknown.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/23/2008

On Monday night, I went to a basketball game and a concert.

For the third consecutive week, my church league basketball team lost by six points or less. We rebounded from an abysmal 10-point first half (we trailed 16-10) to lose 43-37. It is at the halfway point of the regular season and the team is the only unvictorious team in the league.

We also had a major roster change (pun intended). SRM has a baby due and has played his last game. In his place, JBT’s older brother, Josh, filled the eighth spot on roster and played well.

Despite having more depth than our opponents (eight players to six), we failed to capitalize. We did not score on many breakaway opportunities in which we had a clear numbers advantage. For the second consecutive game JTL (shooting a free throw in this picture) led the team in scoring, hitting three three-point field goals amongst other baskets. The play of the game (as chosen by me) was made by SH when he hustled to slow a three-on-one breakaway. No word yet on who he will select to be featured in next week’s devotional.

Last week’s play of the game was made by JDM and he selected the devotional topic of Ron Harper. Harper is one of five players to win multiple NBA championships on multiple teams. He won each of his championships playing past his prime because he found his niche, playing defense and hitting spot up jump shots. I challenged the group to find their role in a church. The Scriptural basis for this segment was I Corinthians 12:12-14.

After the game, I joined SMA and WRK at the Bijou Theatre. On this night, Jenny Lewis was opening for Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band. They had played the legendary Ryman Audotorium in Nashville the previous night.

Jenny Lewis is a California native and former child actress who is the front person for the band Rilo Kiley. I heard the band when they were in Knoxville for Sundown in the City on June 2, 2005. Her solo album Acid Tongue was to be released the day after the concert.

The 5'1" redhead was fantastic. She sang, danced, played the guitar and piano. Her energy was infectious. Her five accompanyists were also great. She played mostly from her own catalog including some songs from her new album. She also covered Nazareth’s “Love Hurts”. She closed with the song “See Fernando”. I was disappointed that there was no encore, but such is the life of an opening act.

Being tired and having little familiarity or interest in the headliners, I went home. Other than another defeat on the court, it was a great day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Prayer Blog - 9/22/2008

I received a phone call tonight from BKW, one of my dearest friends from seminary. His wife has proposed that she work and he return to school to complete his MDiv. Many things would have to happen before this could occur, including netting 15% profit from the sale of his home. In the present economy, this seems improbable. So pray for this situation and the economy. Clearly, no one was concerned with the economy otherwise...

Lest I forget, the beauty of this plan is that BKW would relocate to Knoxville. I would be thrilled with this development.

Prayer Blog - 9/22/2008

While out of town, KL fell and injured her knee. She has either torn or stretched ligaments. An orthopedist will assess the damage tomorrow. At present, she is making due with crutches and pain killers. Please keep Sunshine's health in your prayers.

Bible Trivia - 9/22/2008

Question: What is the literal English meaning of “Pentateuch”?

Answer: Five scrolls.

Comments: The term Pentateuch comes from the Greek pentateuchos meaning "composed of five books". It refers to the first five books of the Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

These books are also referred to alternatively as The Law, The Books of Moses, and the Torah.

Note: This representation of the Pentateuch was created by contemporary Israeli artist Frank Meisler.

Word of the Day - 9/22/2008


A neb is a bill or beak, as of a bird.

When a dove returned with an olive leaf in its neb, Noah knew it was safe to leave the ark.

The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. (Genesis 8:11, NASB)

Note: This oil on canvas of the return of the dove to the ark was painted by John Everett Millais (1829-1896) in 1851. It resides in the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/22/2008, Part 4

While most Tennessee sports fans paid great sums of money to watch their team get demolished by Florida on Saturday, I paid $3 to see the Vols defeat Alabama on Sunday.

My Sunday began Shoney’s eating breakfast with WAM. I took a rare Sunday off from teaching and ate with my friend. For an anecdote from this encounter, check out the WAM Quote of the Day.

Afterwards, JTH and I joined PCR and his fiancé Amber at Thompson-Boling Arena to watch the Lady Vols’ volleyball team. JTH and PCR are regulars at these events and are often on the free pass list courtesy of PCR’s friend and player Lauren LaFlamme (LEL).

This is the first season games are being played in Thompson-Boling Arena as opposed to the Stokely Athletic Center (SAC). We learned that the SAC is no longer affiliated with the athletic department. This makes the stands look sparse as the team could not fill Stokely much less the massive basketball facility. At least this 30-foot Smokey circa 1980 ago is still dusted off and dragged out at the games as it always has been.

As noted above, we paid $3 for admission, but could have gain admittance with two food cans for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Instead, we made a sizable donation to the charity. Let’s just say we donated more than the cost of the ticket! Lady Vol softball player Allison Fulmer took our donation.

On this day the Lady Vols defeated Alabama three games to one, 25-17, 25-17, 24-26, 25-18. The Lady Vols would have won by far more were it not for an abnormal amount of service errors. Since 2001, collegiate volleyball has used the rally scoring system as opposed to the side-out method. It is worth noting that one of the referee’s helping to keep that score was our friend CBR’s father. Naturally, I heckled his rulings.

I learned a new word on this day: libero. In volleyball this is a player specialized in defensive skills. UT’s lone libero is Chloe Goldman. To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I learned the meaning.

We had fun. The atmosphere is a little drab despite the efforts of the program. The cheerleaders have one and only one cheer - “Point Lady Vols!”This makes the spectator almost root against Tennessee so as not to hear it. Regarding this annoyance, JTH asked, “If you were drunk and Stanley what would you do?”

The team also had horrible spots in between the action. At the break (always after the second game), the Apostolic volleyball team tried to hit items postioned across the net on serve. This was mildly entertaining and far more difficult than it sounds. Any event not involving the emcee was fine. He actually had a really awful version of “Deal or No Deal” in which the contestant took the deal and then did not reveal what she would have won. This effectively defeats the purpose.

I would not be surprised if we returned. In fact they have a promotional offer for people celebrating birthdays. WAM, I think a volleyball birthday is in your future!

I spent the remainder of the day with JTH. We had a great time doing very little productive. We drove around, visited JDM at Kroger, and ate at the Great American Steak & Buffet Company (GAS), a mutual favorite. We then watched Wedding Daze, written by the great Michael Ian Black on DVD. (We both like chick flicks.) It was a good day.

Finally, I sampled Froot Loops with marshmallows this weekend and though I like Froot Loops and I like marshmallows, I prefer them separately.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/22/2008, Part 3

I had a very long, but great, Saturday, spent with friends and family.

My Saturday game began bright and early, eating with my parents at IHOP. Afterwards, we visited my mother’s first cousin CJN, who was recuperating from a Thursday hip replacement surgery at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. She is recovering well. I have never visited a patient who emphasized prayer more than her husband, LPN. I am proud to be related to them. (Note: This photo is of my mother calling to learn CJN's room number. Even in the hospital, DLNV managed to be on the phone.)

After visiting the hospital, I drove to Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee, where EAH was to marry Dustin Rauhuff (DPLR). I arrived shortly before pictures were taken to give my best wishes. I would not being attending the wedding as its 3:30 pm start happened to be the exact time of kickoff of the Tennessee-Florida football game. The wedding photographer took numerous photos of me congratulating the bride. Wedding photographers rank high on my list of annoying professions.

I also went to eat lunch with JTH and PAT, who were there to film the wedding. We ate at a nearby Gatti’s Pizza and caught up with PAT, who lives in Kennesaw, Georgia. He is doing well. So well in fact that he seldom updates his blog. He predicts that the blog will disband entirely by December. I am happy for him.

He noted his meteoric rise from the proverbial valley to the mountain. JTH replied, “I enjoy the valley. Its always got shade.” Were I to sum up JTH in one statement, that might be it.

The duo had eaten with the MoFoS crew the previous night. Two noteworthy items: NHH’s family emergency from the previous weekend was that his brother, (Wes Hall, an actor who appeared in Phat Girlz), was mugged in Los Angeles and returning to Tennessee. So my speculation that the emergency involved the airport was partially correct.

Secondly, CTH bought in 1200 VHS tapes for the store. This has to be one of the worst purchases ever. To make matters worse, they are Spanish language VHS tapes. We cannot even move Spanish language DVDs. On the plus side, there is now plenty of fodder for the staff to destroy.

I later learned that the wedding went off well. There was little to no contact between PAT and WRK, the maid of honor and his former girlfriend of six years.

I arrived home in time to watch the aforementioned Tennessee football game with my father. We had fun being together despite our team being annihilated 30-6. We had little expectation of victory, so we were not even disappointed. While in Maryville earlier in the day I passed this vehicle: an orange and white hearse with a UT logo. It was appropriate on this day.

After the game, I drove to RAW’s home where we caught up while watching the LSU-Auburn football game.

KJW is growing so fast. She can now spell her name. She can also play chess. (See photo.) Okay, so she just likes arranging the chess pieces. Despite this progress, she still has no desire to be potty trained. She insists, “Keira need a diaper.”

KJW also has a new pet. It is a goldfish named Dwight. The tank is located in KJW’s room. Her mother, KLTW, won the fish at the Tennessee Valley Fair. It was a $4 fish as it took her two attempts to win it. KLTW and RAW were fairly certain the fish would not survive but it made a miraculous recovery. KJW named the fish herself. No, she is not a big fan of The Office. Despite being a goldfish, it is white and we are fairly certain she was saying “white”. Dwight made a better name so it has stuck.

Oh, lest I forget, LSU rallied to win a great game, 26-20.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 9/22/2008, Part 2

On Friday night, SMA, DBN, CST and I went to Powell High School where we saw the Powell Panthers play the four-time defending state champion Maryville Rebels. This was the second consecutive week that we attended a high school football game. Three Knoxville area school are presently ranked first in the state, including Maryville who tops the teams in 4A.

The game was quite an event. In fact, we have had less difficulty finding parking than for some UT football games. Parking lots were not only full at the school but at most local business. At one point, I thought I could find parking along a hill. The angle was very steep. In fact, I nearly scared SMA and CST to death as they insist that had I not driven off (at their request) the car would have tipped. I laughed at the thought of this all night. I have issues.

There were television cameras on hand and booths fundraising for the school everywhere. The guys bought brownies from the junior class. The softball team had a unique concept, a large screen televsion where students could pay to play Guitar Hero.

The game itself was equally crowded. In fact, we, like many other fans, stood along the rail, as there were no seats in the stands. Actually, SMA, CST, and I stood by the sidelines. DBN was convinced that he could find seating in the bleachers. He did. For himself. He sat in the stands most of the time we were there.

DBN sat in the Powell section by a fan who proclaimed, “If Powell is ever gonna beat Maryvile, this is the year!” Shortly after the game began, he lamented, “we’re gonna get killed.” The game's outcome was that obvious that quickly. We soon decided that if the halftime deficit was 28 or larger, we would leave. We surmised that if Maryville did not take the field on offense, Powell could still not score 28 points against them in a half. They hit the magic number. It was 31-0 at the half and we left.

Powell could not stop Maryville junior Philip Juhlin on the ground, much less his passing. He rushed for 112 rushing yards on 9 carries and a touchdown. He added 98 yards passing on five of nine attempts. He is not even their starter as senior quarterback Aaron Chamberlain is still recovering from an August 17th appendectomy The final score was 45-6. It was Maryville’s 65th win in a row.

After the game, we became perhaps the only people in the south to follow a high school football game by going to a Vietnamese restaurant. We went to T. Ho Vietnamese Bistro (815 Merchants Drive), the only Vietnamese restaurant in the Knoxville area. None of us had ever eaten there previously.

T. Ho is a small eatery located in a strip plaza. It seats about fifty and has a modern atmosphere after a December 2005 renovation. It is a family owned business. Thanh Ho and his family escaped Vietnam in 1979 and fled to the Philippines after a 12-day boat journey. They moved to the United States in 1980 and opened T. Ho Vietnamese and Oriental Restaurant on Broadway in 1986 before moving to its present location in 1987. When the restaurant opened they served native dishes prepared by the family matriarch. The restaurant changed its name to T. Ho Bistro in February 2006. In October 2006, Ho's sons, Thuc and Thoia Ho, opened The Pint House adjacent to the restaurant.

We asked our server for suggestions and she recommended the Country Style Vietnamese Crepe (Banh Xeo) and the Special T Ho Grilled Meatball Wraps. SMA and I selected the latter, while DBN and CST selected the former. We all enjoyed our meal. After sampling both, we preffered the crepe - filled with shrimp, chicken, onions, mushrooms, and beansprouts. All entrees come with a spring roll, which tasted great. We would not, however, recommend the egg drop soup. Read: understatement.

The T. Ho Bistro is closed on Mondays and open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday, 5-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday.

We had a good evening. We actually passed an office for Frontier Communications in Powell. DBN had his fifth interview with them on Wednesday (September 17th) with a sixth scheduled for the follwing Wednesday. The company is interviewing three applicants for two positions with jobs in Crossville and Cookeville. DBN would prefer Crossville as it is closer to Knoxville. The start date is October 5th so he should know soon. Keep this opportunity in your prayers.

On Friday night, I did miss a family gathering at The Chop House. I missed you guys!