Friday, October 17, 2008

Bible Trivia - 10/17/2008

Question: To whom does the term "The Lion that is from the Tribe of Judah" refer?

Answer: Jesus. (Revelation 5:5)

Comments: In Revelation 5:5, the "lion from the Tribe of Judah" is deemed the only one worthy to open a sacred book and its seven seals. The verse speaks of Jesus. The terminology comes from Jacob's blessing of his children. When speaking to his son Judah, the eponymous ancestor of the tribe, Jacob compares his son to a lion. (Genesis 49:9). The lion came to symbolize Judah.

and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals." (Revelation 5:5, NASB)

Today, the lion of Judah is on the emblem of Jerusalem (as pictured).

Word of the Day - 10/17/2008


A trencherman is a person who has a hearty appetite; a heavy eater.

Proverbs speaks of the dangers of being a trencherman. (Proverbs 23:2)

And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man of great appetite. (Proverbs 23:2, NASB)

Note: This photo is of legenday competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 10/17/2008

I had a great Thursday, spending most of the day with JTH.

JTH and I ate lunch with CMU. We met at the church and I drove from there. CMU made oatmeal cookies for JTH and myself. He is quite the cook and brought them in Ziploc bags. I noted that I would call mine a dime bag and both LBC and ALC, who work at the church, noted that I had far more than a dime bag’s worth. I was glad I did not know that. I was also not surprised that they did...

We at the Food Court in West Town Mall. Both CMU and I ate at the Cajun Café. It perplexed us both as to why the restaurant is titled “Cajun” when it serves predominantly Asian cuisine. You even get fortune cookies with your meal. Our only guess was that the Cajun name differentiates it from Sakkio Japan or Asian Chao, situated in the same vicinity. JTH suggested that they just drop the C and make it “Ajun” Café. I am sure they would take that under advisement. My fortune you ask?

“Tomorrow your creative side will shine forth with exceptional ideas.”

Inspiration struck over lunch. (Perhaps my fortune was a day early.) JTH and I decided to record a Christmas album using the church’s broadcast booth as the studio. We will let twelve loved ones pick their favorite Christmas carols and we will sing versions of them under the name “Tone Deaf and Monotone”.

On Thursday night, JTH and I went to Pigeon Forge with ALK. I got deep into conversation and missed the I-640 exit (forgetting that I-40 is closed) and cost us quite a deal of time. We did make it to Pigeon Forge in plenty of time to eat and shop.

The trip began where all of my trips to Pigeon Forge begin - at the Christian Book Warehouse. While I shopped, JTH and ALK made a mess trying to spread out this Bible Atlas. They did not realize that this one was already on display.

We went to another branch of the book store while we waited for seating at the Apple Barn restaurant. I could not believe that there was a forty-five minute wait on a random Thursday night in the fall. The food does justify the wait. We ate there in celebration of ALK’s recent birthday.

After dinner, we went to Wal-Mart on our way home. ALK had been building up the book Twilight by Stephenie Meyer all night. A movie based on the book is set to open on November 21st. Somehow, she convinced me to read the book beforehand. As most of you know, I seldom read fiction much less fiction geared towards teen girls. We stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up the book and this may be the only branch that does not carry it. JTH and ALK both found books that they were interested in. I tried to subtly catch the moment of the two reading side by side. Subtlety was never my strong suit...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Associated Baptist Press - 10/16/2008

Associated Baptist Press
October 16, 2008 · (08-99)

David Wilkinson, Executive Director
Robert Marus, Acting Managing Editor/Washington Bureau Chief
Bob Allen, Senior Writer

In this issue
Candidates spar over abortion in final presidential debate (806 words)
Everett sermon at Southwestern may be sign of thaw in relations (421 words)
Pastor says he's 'poli-ticked' about election (854 words)
CBF field personnel minister among Middle Eastern group (408 words)
Billy: The Early Years falls flat in box office (240 words)
Opinion: Remembering how to be Jesus' people (862 words)

Candidates spar over abortion in final presidential debate
By Bob Allen (806 words)

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (ABP) -- John McCain and Barack Obama differed sharply over the legality of abortion in their third and final presidential debate Oct.15 at Hofstra University, in one of the only mentions in this year's presidential debates of a divisive cultural issue.

While both candidates said they oppose using abortion as a litmus test when appointing federal judges, each made it clear that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to choose an abortion, would weigh heavily in determining whom they would nominate to fill any vacancies on the Supreme Court.

McCain, the Republican candidate, said Roe v. Wade was a "bad decision" and that as president he would find judges with a record of "strict adherence to the Constitution" and not "legislating from the bench."

The Arizona senator repeatedly said he would base nominations on qualifications and not any "litmus test," but he added that he did not believe anyone supporting Roe v. Wade would meet those qualifications.

Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, also said he opposes applying a "strict litmus test" for judges, but agreed that Roe v. Wade probably hangs in the balance during the next presidency.

"I am somebody who believes that Roe v. Wade was rightly decided," Obama said.

"I think that abortion is a very difficult issue, and it is a moral issue and one that I think good people on both sides can disagree on," Obama said. "But what ultimately I believe is that women -- in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers -- are in the best position to make this decision.

"And I think that the Constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn't be subject to state referendum, any more than our First Amendment rights are subject to state referendum, any more than many of the other rights that we have should be subject to popular vote."

Obama sought to stake out some common ground between the two sides of the abortion debate.

"This is an issue that -- look, it divides us," he said. "And in some ways, it may be difficult to reconcile the two views."

"But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, 'We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.'

"Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that's where we can find some common ground, because nobody's pro-abortion. I think it's always a tragic situation."

It was the first time in three presidential debates for the abortion issue to surface. Americans United for Life praised moderator Bob Schieffer for asking the question.

"In many ways, this is one of the most significant issues for our country that has received the least amount of attention in this campaign," AUL Action said in a prepared statement.

"Sen. Obama made it clear that his approach to judicial appointments -- which goes beyond the Supreme Court -- involves a pro-Roe, pro-abortion litmus test," the statement said. The pro-life group also accused Obama of twisting the facts about his abortion policy.

NARAL Pro-Choice America applauded Obama's "long-standing commitment to women's reproductive freedom and privacy" and "common-sense" approach to reducing unintended pregnancies.

"McCain, on the other hand, restated his call for the overturn of Roe v. Wade," said NARAL president Nancy Keenan. "That's no secret: McCain has voted against a woman's right to choose for more than 25 years, and he has even voted against birth control, which is one of the best ways to reduce the need for abortion. McCain's hypocrisy represents the divisive political attacks that Americans are tired of."

McCain criticized Obama for opposing a bill in the Illinois senate to provide immediate medical care to an infant "born alive" as the result of a failed abortion and voting against a ban on a late-term procedure that opponents call "partial-birth" abortion.

Obama said he opposed the Illinois legislation because there was already a law on the books requiring lifesaving treatment and the new bill would have undermined Roe v. Wade. He said he supports a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortion, but only if it includes exceptions for the mother's life and health. Abortion-rights opponents have repeatedly attempted to pass bans that did not include health exceptions.

McCain dismissed the necessity of health exceptions, saying the "health of the mother" has been "stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything."

"That's the extreme pro-abortion position, 'health,'" McCain said.


Everett sermon at Southwestern may be sign of thaw in relations
By Bob Allen (421 words)

FORT WORTH, Texas (ABP) -- In a sign that once-frosty relations between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary may be thawing, the BGCT's new executive director, Randel Everett, spoke there Oct. 15.

"I have, as you would guess, gotten a little criticism about having Dr. Everett here, and he's gotten some criticism about coming," Paige Patterson, president of the Southern Baptist Convention-run school, said in introducing Everett during a chapel service. Everett became executive director of the 2.3-million-member, moderate-dominated BGCT in March.

"That always amazes me, because the theory is we disagree, and I shouldn't have anybody in who disagrees," Patterson said.

"That's kind of interesting, isn't it?" he continued. "Because we haven't even talked enough to find out if we do disagree about anything."

Relations between the state convention and seminary grew chilly when fundamentalist trustees fired the seminary's popular moderate president, Russell Dilday, in 1994. The distance grew even wider when Patterson, one of the acknowledged architects of the SBC's "conservative resurgence," became Southwestern's president in 2003.

In 2004 the BGCT banned Southwestern Seminary and other SBC entities from having displays at the state convention's annual meeting, saying they were not supportive of BGCT's mission. Texas Baptist leaders lifted that prohibition in June, approving both Southwestern Seminary and the SBC's publisher, LifeWay Christian Resources, as exhibitors at next month's convention meeting in Fort Worth.

Everett opened his chapel remarks by describing the seminary as "an important part of our heritage as Texas Baptists."

"I'm sorry Dr. Patterson received some flak about this invitation," Everett said. "It was a gracious act for him."

"One of the things I hope we can understand is that we all 'see through glass dimly' and one of these days we'll be able to see Jesus as fully and clearly, because we'll be seeing him face to face," Everett said. "As we struggle with what God's word is saying with us, in deep conversations with each other, and often times in disagreements, we need to love each other as Christ loves us."

Everett preached a sermon on forgiveness based on Matthew 18, closing with, "Wouldn't it be something today if God brought healing to our Baptist family?"

"You really only have two choices," Patterson said in response. "You can either be bitter and when you get to be my age ... then you are just a bitter old man. You can either do that, or you can practice the fine Christological art of forgiveness. You only have two choices."


Pastor says he's 'poli-ticked' about election
By Bob Allen (854 words)

GRAPEVINE, Texas (ABP) -- At a time when polls indicate growing distaste for politics in the pulpit, one Southern Baptist mega-pastor is launching a high-profile sermon series aimed at getting Christians off the bench and into political action.

"There's a game going on for the heart and soul of our nation, yet so many of us have been drinking deception for so long that we don't understand the implications and the seriousness of the game," Ed Young Jr., pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, said in a televised sermon Oct. 12.

"There's a game going on and it's time for us to sober up, to step up and to get into the game -- to not merely remain as spectators, but to be participators.

"I don't know about you, but I'm poli-ticked," Young said. "I'm ticked at what is happening on the field. I'm ticked as I look at the scoreboard and as a responsible citizen, as someone who should be under God -- because we're one nation under God, not alongside God or above God. We're one nation under God, but as people who love God and who want the best, we should be ticked."

Among things ticking him off, Young ticked off a litany of what he considered social ills affecting the United States:

-- Homosexuality. "God made man and woman to be together as husband and wife," Young said. "God did not create Adam to be with Steve but to be with Eve."

He said people at Fellowship Church love homosexuals but do not approve of their sexual behavior, "because God has said from cover to cover marriage is for one man, one woman in this covenant, in this commitment.

"I cannot believe that our nation is trying to redefine marriage," he added. "I'm all for everyone having equal rights, but when it comes to this institution called marriage, give me a massive break."

-- Abortion. Young recalled walking on a beach and reading a sign listing penalties for disturbing a nest of sea-turtle eggs. "We're really into protecting developing baby sea turtles," he said. "So our government is into that, but it's OK to take the lives of developing babies? It's OK to take the lives of 3,200 developing babies every 24 hours? What's right is now wrong. What's wrong is right."

-- Big government. Young said government is supposed to protect the people, but the U.S. bureaucracy has grown into a monster that he has nicknamed "Fedzilla."

"If you do something well, Fedzilla takes the profit, and then gives the profits ... to this big monster, and then hands out the profits to people, many of them who are able-bodied Americans, many of them who can work, who should hold a job, but who don't want to, who want to sit around, smoke weed, drink six-packs and play with their iPhones."

-- Immigration. "We have the Congress worrying about steroid use in baseball, when you've got terrorists crossing the border who want to blow us off the face of the map," he said.

-- The economy. "We're drowning in a sea of debt," he said. "This $700 billion bailout: I'm no economist, but isn't that sort of like giving booze to a recovering alcoholic?"

-- Socialism. "So many people in the media, the cultural elite, they like applaud, for example, Cuba," Young said. "Cuba's a wreck. Talk to anybody. Talk to a Cuban American who was there when a young man smoking a cigar took over.

"Socialism has wrecked and ruined that beautiful land," he continued. "Socialism is non-biblical. It scares me to death as I see this slide toward socialism."

Young urged listeners to tune in for the following week's sermon, in which, he promised, "I'm going to tell you who to vote for.

"Here's what a lot of people don't understand," Young explained. "The church has become more and more of a 'non-prophet' entity. But I'm excited. A lot of churches are becoming 'for-prophet.' The prophets of God -- the men and women of God -- are standing up and saying, 'Thus sayeth the Lord.'"

Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said he saw nothing wrong legally with Young's Oct. 12 sermon, but that Young would make a mistake if he endorses a candidate by name on Oct. 19.

Walker criticized the Alliance Defense Fund's recent "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" for endorsing candidates as "divisive, corrosive and unnecessary."

Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, faulted Young for "preaching a low-sacrifice gospel, prioritizing a moral agenda for his church members, which costs them very little.

"Condemning gay marriage and abortion, denouncing the straw man of socialism and linking -- falsely -- immigration with terrorism require nothing from his audience," Parham said. "It simply feels good and feeds prejudice."

Jesus called for a "high-sacrifice gospel" of pursuing the Golden Rule, loving neighbor and seeking justice, Parham said. He hopes that in future sermons Young "will make those who are at ease in the Zion of negative uncomfortable with the broad, proactive moral vision found in the Bible," he added.


CBF field personnel minister among Middle Eastern group
By Carla Wynn Davis (408 words)

ATLANTA (ABP) -- Frank Morrow was in the Middle East doing relief work after a natural disaster when a local official asked, "Why do you do what you do? Why did you come?"

Morrow opened a paperback Bible and shared the story of Jesus. "Those moments are the open doors," Morrow said. "That's why we're there."

As Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, Morrow and wife Karen have had many opportunities to share Christ among one of the most unreached people groups in the Middle East. Commissioned as strategy coordinators in 1996, the Morrows began ministering in Germany, where large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees had sought asylum.

The Morrows helped the refugees in whatever way they could, while learning their language and more about this people group, once strong but now repressed, persecuted and nearly forgotten. Their land had been stolen and their culture outlawed.

After 10 years in Germany, the Morrows returned to the United States, with their work based in Fort Worth, Texas. They concentrate on building partnerships with other ministry organizations and helping provide translated media, books and Bibles for distribution in the Middle East.

They also connect with CBF partner churches about ways in which congregations can connect with ministry in the Middle East. Churches can partner with the Morrows through prayer, financial support, or by going to a Middle Eastern country to serve among a largely unreached people group, where the gospel is slow to spread.

"We don't see mass conversions or quick change. It's a long process," Karen said. "For them to come to faith is a cutting off who they are. It's a disgrace to their family. They risk their life to [come to Christ]."

One husband and wife became Christians in Germany and have returned to the Middle East to start a church among their own people. Even though they're thousands of miles apart, Karen keeps in contact with the wife, a dear friend.

"I encourage her to keep the faith and to testify that God is at work and that God is alive. [She told me] 'I don't have another person like you who can share my deepest feelings and hurts with.' We're there to be that with people and to be that [presence] in their life," Karen said. "I feel the biggest part of our work is enabling others to do the work."

Editor's note: Specific names and locations of people groups are not included for security reasons.


Billy: The Early Years falls flat in box office
By ABP staff (240 words)

(ABP) -- A biopic about evangelist Billy Graham hit theaters with a thud its opening weekend Oct. 10-12, earning far less than other religion-themed movies like Fireproof and Bill Maher's agnostic comedy documentary Religulous.

Billy: The Early Years, directed by former teen-heartthrob actor Robby Benson, grossed an estimated $199,938 from 282 locations, an average of $709 per screen, according to Variety.

Another specialty film geared toward Christian audiences, meanwhile, enjoyed a third successful weekend at the box office. Fireproof, produced by a movie-making ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., grossed an estimated $3.2 million, bringing its total earnings to about $17 million. That's double the earnings of the last movie by Sherwood Pictures, Facing the Giants, in 2006.

Maher's Religulous, which takes a skeptical look at religion in general but is particularly hard on Christianity, fell 35 percent in its second weekend, but still managed to gross an estimated $2.2 million from 568 theaters. That brought the cumulative box office gross to $6.7 million.

Released by the Christian distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures, Billy: The Early Years focuses on Billy Graham's life as a teenager growing up on a farm in North Carolina. It continues through his young adulthood, when he burst onto the national scene as an evangelist who could draw thousands of people to his meetings, called "crusades."

It stars Armie Hammer, the 22-year-old great-grandson of industrialist and philanthropist Armand Hammer, in his first major acting role.


Opinion: Remembering how to be Jesus' people
David Gushee (862 words)

(ABP) -- This morning I was reading in 1 Peter 2, "Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk."

Think of every political ad you have watched in the last month. Think of the nature of some of the exchanges between John McCain and Barack Obama in last night's debate. Think of the hateful scenes emerging from the political rallies as the speakers whip up the anger of the true believers in the crowd. Think of the fierce and hateful shouting on talk radio. Consider the malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander you have witnessed. Try to find a trace of Jesus in any of it.

Or consider these words from Romans 12: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Live in harmony with one another. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

Consider the vengeful, unharmonious, political knife fights that happen each day during this election season. Consider the escalating negativity and viciousness. Try to find a trace of Jesus in any of it.

The Bible places very high value on truthful speech. When Jesus taught us to "let your yes be yes and your no be no" (Mt. 5:37), he meant it. He was calling for his followers to speak the truth without manipulation, distortion or deceit. Political campaigns, especially this one in its late stages, attempt to gain some slight advantage by constant resort to manipulation, distortion and deceit, whether in the form of guilt-by-association, exaggeration of some small kernel of truth or character-defaming innuendo. Try to find a trace of Jesus in any of it.

Consider the claims of all four of our major candidates that they are Christians. That means they are all part of the Christian family, all brothers and sisters in Christ. Then consider these words from Philippians 2: "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Secular politics has no tenderness and compassion. The rivals demonstrate no like-mindedness, no common love, no unity of spirit and purpose. Precisely because of selfish ambition and perhaps even vain conceit every effort is made to portray the self as better than the other, and to advance the interest of my party over the interests of the other party. Secular politics is most often the antithesis of the self-emptying love of a Savior who would leave heaven, assume the form of a servant and die a cruel death for his enemies. Just try to find a trace of Jesus in it.

Jesus said: "You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Political campaigns at least in these waning days of the American Empire are most often about learning more and more reasons to hate our political enemies. We learn not just to disagree with our opponents' policies but to degrade their character and hate them. Just try to find a trace of Jesus in that.

The Christian Right organized itself a generation ago to "take back America for Christ," and eventually settled on a political strategy for winning its battle. Electing the right kind of Republicans would do it. Today one can find a smaller but parallel Christian Left organized to take back America from the (Republican) Christian Right, with a political strategy for winning its battle. Soldiers of Christ in truth arrayed, for God, Country and Party. And Jesus is nowhere to be seen.

This politicized strategy has swallowed up the mission of the church. It has repeatedly defamed the name of Christ. Its ugliness has obscured the beauty of Christ -- and slimed the Bride of Christ, his Church.

In attempting to use worldly means to achieve Christian goals the church has adopted the spirit and tactics of the world and lost its mission and identity. In the end, we did not make America more godly; we made the church more ungodly, thus hurting both the church and America. Just try to find a trace of Jesus in that.

The early church "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6) not by playing the world's game better than the world but by forming faithful communities that obeyed and imitated Jesus Christ. They embodied a better way to live (Jesus' way) and thus transformed their culture.

Insofar as "Christians" are just another political tribe playing the world's game in the world's way, we are the most wretched of people, and will face the sternest of judgments. We must leave this path behind and rediscover our original calling and identity as followers of Jesus.


-- David Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University.

Prayer Blog - 10/16/2008

Tonight, JTH, ALK, and I ate at the Apple Barn restaurant in Pigeon Forge. Amazingly, our waiter was the man that JTH described as a white B.D. Wong on our last visit to the restaurant on March 30th. (See the March 31st edition of "In Eckleburg's Eyes" for details.)

Tonight, we learned the man's name is Dion and he is a fellow Christian. He was saved eleven years ago at the age of 21. He served as a youth pastor for seven years and resigned because he felt he was more a teacher than a pastor and felt he was cheating his church. He asked for prayer as he seeks a new position.

He and his wife also are seeking to adopt a child. They already have one and are debating whether they have the financial resources to responsibly adopt another.

Please keep Dion, his family, and his job situation in your prayers.

Bible Trivia - 10/16/2008

Question: To what kind of tree does Paul compare Israel in Romans 11?

Answer: An olive tree. (Romans 11)

Comments: Though olive trees are not prevalent in North America, they are common in their native Mediterranean region and are referenced throughout the Scriptures. Olive trees are famous for their longevity. Pliny the Elder (23-79) told of a sacred Greek olive tree that was 1600 years old.

In Romans 11, Paul uses the olive tree as a metaphor for Israel. He reminds his readers that Israel functions as the tree while his audience was grafted in.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,(Romans 11:17, NASB)

Some claim that the cultivated tree is the church. This is alternately known as supersessionism or "replacement theology". From the context, it is clear that this was not Paul's intent.

Word of the Day - 10/16/2008


Matutinal means pertaining to or occurring in the morning; early in the day.

Psalm 3 is a matutinal prayer of David composed while he was fleeing from his estranged son, Absalom. It begins:

LORD, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me. (Psalm 3:1, NASB)

Note: This intepretation of Psalm 3 was done in acrylic by Moshé Tzvi Berger. It part of his Museum of Psalms.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 10/16/2008

On Wednesday morning, SMA and I ate at Shoney’s. Well, I ate anyway. SMA is well and is preparing to retake the bar examination in five months. He learned on Friday (October 10th) that he failed the bar examination in July. A secondary letter will be sent in several weeks giving him more details as to the specifics. At present, he only knows that he did not pass. I suppose sending the explanation would have been too logical.

The day before, he and WRK had been zorbing in the Smoky Mountains. Well, WRK went zorbing anyway. Zorbing, the practice of humans traveling in a sphere, was invented in New Zealand. Until tihs year, Tennessee was the only place in America to zorb, though a new facility was recently opened in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

On Wednesday night, I attended class at UT. The class presented papers of adult education agency visits. There were four presentations on this night. I presented last following presentations on centered pregnancy, a senior center, and professional development for teachers (in-service). I evaluated the Faith Formations program at the Central Baptist Church of Bearden. I have developed strategies to implement adult learning methods and stimulate community involvement and social justice. The class supported my suggestions. Will the church?

After class, I visited RAW and his family. KLTW and MP were studying for a class the next day. RAW and his father, ROW, were watching the election. We speculated on what the candidates were scribbling while their opponent was speaking. Our best guess: Sudoku.

ROW has an unbelievably soothing effect on KJW. She becomes almost docile around her grandfather. She only gets this way around people named Bob - her grandfather and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prayer Blog - 10/15/2008

Tomorrow, my parents will be traveling again. They have a direct flight from Knoxville to Minneapolis where they will be staying through Sunday. The trip is conjunction with my father's work. Please keep their travels in your prayers.

Bible Trivia - 10/15/2008

Question: How many "fruits of the spirit" are listed in Galatians?

Answer: Nine. (Galatians 5:22)

Comments: In the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul lists nine desirable "fruits of the Spirit" in contrast with unsuitable "deeds of the flesh". The nine fruits of the Spirit Paul names are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB)

How many of these virtues do you regularly exhibit?

Word of the Day - 10/15/2008


A brume is a mist; fog.

Genesis' second account of creation explains that prior to the advent of rain, a brume rose from the earth's surface to water the ground. (Genesis 2:6)

But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. (Genesis 2:6, NASB)

This image of Genesis 2:6 was created by Mindy Eslinger.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 10/15/2008

Tuesday was a day of firsts as I began working at the main branch of the Hope Resource Center and began taking shots at the Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center.

After weeks of training on campus, I began working at the Hope Resource Center’s main offices. I worked the 8:45 am - 1 pm shift. There were no appointments on this day which gave me time to complete more training (on quite possibly the slowest working computer on the planet) and get to know the staff. This vehicle is owned by staff member Jodi Nakamura (JLN). I decided to document it as I like the name (Dorcas) on the personal license plate (see Acts 9:36-43) and the political sticker is also typical of the staff. I am accustomed to being the most liberal person in the room politically, but being the most liberal religiously is a new experience.

I enjoyed the group immensely. We discussed cases of bestiality, partial birth abortion, etc. which is not that uncommon in this field. We also talked football a lot. Unfortunately we got LEB to break her fast of talking about Tennessee football. Kelly Harb (KWH), one of my fellow counselors, knew a great deal about football as her son Richard Harb was recruited by Tennessee offensive coordinator Dave Clawson when he was coaching at Richmond. Harb originally signed with Western Carolina and is now the starting quarterback at North Greeneville University after transferring.

After my shift, I received my first shot treatments at the Allergy, Asthma, & Sinus Center. I was admitted into Exam Room 1 where a nurse named Tonae (spelling?) administered a shot so flawlessly that I did not even feel it. I then waited for twenty minutes to see if there would be any allergic reaction.The only scary aspect was that I was given a prescription for an EpiPen. I am to inject myself in the leg with epinephrine should I experience a severe allergic reaction. Thankfully, there was none on this day.

I was supplied a card with which to swipe so that I can obtain additional shots relatively easily. I will be returning to the Shotroom three times a week as this will get faster results than the originally planned two. This is contingent upon my body being able to withstand the shots.

On Tuesday night, I ate with my parents Aubrey’s. They had just returned safely from their retreat at The Homestead. Dining alone at the restaurant was Mary Costa, a friend of the family who voiced Princess Aurora in the 1959 Disney film Sleeping Beauty. (The 2-disc Platinum edition was released on DVD on October 7th.) DLNV spent much of the meal contemplating whether or not or not she should have invited her to dine with us.

My night ended with a brief stop at MoFoS. We learned that “De La Rosa” is 36-year old Knoxvillian Mark Ian Navarro (MIN). There is no doubt that we will still be calling him “De La Rosa” indefinitely.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Associated Baptist Press - 10/14/2008

Associated Baptist Press
October 14, 2008 · (08-98)

David Wilkinson, Executive Director
Robert Marus, Acting Managing Editor/Washington Bureau Chief
Bob Allen, Senior Writer

In this issue
Connecticut latest jurisdiction to legalilze same-sex marriage (767 words)
N.Y. Baptist group says to defrock pastor facing child-porn charge (763 words)
SBU administrator named as Oklahoma Baptist president (415 words)

Connecticut latest jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage
Robert Marus and Bob Allen (767 words)

HARTFORD, Conn. (ABP) -- The Connecticut Supreme Court Oct. 10 made that state the latest in the union to offer full marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The state's justices ruled 4-3 that the equal-protection and due-process provisions of the Connecticut Constitution require marriage be extended to gay men and lesbians. It becomes the third state in the United States -- after Massachusetts and California -- to legalize same-sex marriage.

When the ruling takes effect Oct. 28, it will mainly change terminology, since Connecticut has allowed gay couples to enter into "civil unions" -- with rights and responsibilities virtually identical to marriage -- since 2005. When the state's legislators passed that bill and Gov. Jodi Rell (R) signed it, Connecticut became the first state to approve civil unions without being under judicial pressure to do so.

But the latest decision said civil unions aren't enough. While not specifically enumerated in the state's charter, Justice Richard Palmer said in the majority opinion, marriage "has long been deemed a basic civil right."

"We conclude that, in light of the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians, and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody, the segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm," Palmer wrote.

"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal-protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise-qualified same-sex partner of their choice," he added. "To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others."

While acknowledging that marriage has been traditionally viewed as between a man and woman, the court said history teaches that society's prevailing views and practices often mask unfairness and discrimination not recognized by those not directly harmed. They cited previous bans on interracial marriage, exclusion of women in occupations and official duties and relegating minorities to "separate but equal" institutions.

"Like these once-prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection," the decision said.

In one of three separate dissenting opinions, however, Justice Peter Zarella said decisions on same-sex marriage should be left up to the democratic process rather than a judicial one.

"The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry," Zarella wrote. "If the state no longer has an interest in the regulation of procreation, then that is a decision for the legislature or the people of the state and not this court."

The majority said the state's main rationale for denying marriage to same-sex couples was to preserve the institution of marriage exclusively for heterosexuals. That reason alone, they ruled, is insufficient to justify a ban on same-sex marriage.

The majority also said recognizing the right of gays to wed does not jeopardize religious freedom, because religious organizations will not be required to perform same-sex marriages.

"Because, however, marriage is a state-sanctioned and state-regulated institution, religious objections to same sex marriage cannot play a role in our determination of whether constitutional principles of equal protection mandate same-sex marriage," the court ruled.

Rell's office quickly released a statement saying that, while she disagreed with the ruling, she would enforce it.

"The Supreme Court has spoken," Rell said. "I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision -- either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution -- will not meet with success. I will therefore abide by the ruling."

Predictably, gay-rights groups hailed the ruling while conservative religious groups pointed to it as another example of why they believe a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is necessary.

However, the decision -- unlike a comparable Massachusetts court ruling on gay marriage prior to the 2004 presidential election -- may have little effect on the upcoming contest. Unlike in 2004, same-sex marriage bans are on the ballot in only a handful of states this year.

Additionally, recent polls suggest that issues such as the economy and the war in Iraq are far more important -- even to conservative religious voters -- than gay marriage or other divisive social issues in determining their voting decisions.

The ruling came about when a group of eight same-sex couples were rejected for marriage licenses by Connecticut officials in 2004. The case is Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, No. 17716.


N.Y. Baptist group says to defrock pastor facing child-porn charge
By Bob Allen (763 words)

OSWEGATCHIE, N.Y. (ABP) -- A statewide fellowship of independent Baptist churches in New York is recommending defrocking one of its pastors arrested on child-pornography charges.

Leaders of First Baptist Church in the Upstate New York town of Oswegatchie demanded and received the resignation of Pastor Merton Parks after local media reported their pastor was part of a federal investigation. Parks, 60, was arraigned Oct. 9 and charged with possessing child pornography, a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

Craig Golden, state representative for the Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches, said his group's polity means it would be up to the local church that ordained Parks to withdraw its ordination.

"When a guy does something like Mr. Parks did, we surely don't condone it," Golden said.

Golden said he doesn't yet know where Parks was ordained -- or even if he is ordained at all -- but that when the ordaining church is identified, "We would suggest or recommend to them or advise them that they follow through, and if the charges are true, that they would revoke his ordination certificate."

Golden acknowledged that the Baptist focus on autonomy of the local church creates a special challenge for preventing or addressing pastoral misconduct among Baptists. But, he added, the task is easier today because of the Internet and other technological means that enable rapid communication.

"If [Parks] goes to Utah and some little church gets his name, if they even go on the Internet and check it out, they'll see the whole story," Golden said. "There's no guarantee that he will never get another church," Golden said, but the chances are slim.

The Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches is not formally affiliated with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, but it partners voluntarily as a regional association with the GARBC in ministry endeavors. Local churches may affiliate with either or both groups.

The GARBC separated from what is today called the American Baptist Churches USA over doctrinal differences in 1933. They strongly emphasize local-church autonomy and reject denominational structures like the Southern Baptist Convention as too connectional.

"We are more disconnected than Southern Baptists," Golden said, "but we still recognize [that] this disqualifies a man" for the ministry.

Last year the Southern Baptist Convention considered establishing a national database of clergy sex abusers, but the SBC Executive Committee rejected the idea as impractical due to local-church autonomy.

That has caused some activists against clergy sex abuse to criticize the SBC. The fact that an independent Baptist group is recommending that a local church defrock a pastor in this case may only sharpen such criticism.

"It's interesting that a Baptist group that claims to be even 'more disconnected' than Southern Baptists can nevertheless take the initiative to research an accused minister's ordination and to publicly urge the revocation of his ordination," said Christa Brown of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "This is more action than we've seen from Southern Baptist groups, state or national."

According to media reports, Parks was snared in a federal investigation that identified thousands of people in the United States who have subscribed to various child-porn websites.

The Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Cyber Crimes Unit said it tracked credit-card purchases of child pornography on Parks' church computer since July. Parks reportedly said in a statement to investigators that he used the images as a way to self-treat his erectile dysfunction, and he claimed he didn't know they were illegal.

Parks told the Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times "it was some indiscretion on my part," but "there was no malicious intent." He said he regretted involving the church in the ordeal, but he didn't believe the images on his computer were pornographic.

News10Now, a 24-hour local news channel owned and operated by Time Warner Cable, reported that, upon learning of Parks' involvement in the case prior to his arrest, church trustees sent a clear message that they didn't approve of such behavior.

"We called a special meeting and told him we wanted his resignation and his stuff out of the church by Sunday and not to ever step back into the church," said Glenn Fuller, a First Baptist Church trustee.

Parks had reportedly been at the church about three years. He worked previously for about five years as pastor of First Baptist Church in Hermon, N.Y. He also taught about 17 years in private schools in New York and Pennsylvania before entering the ministry.

If convicted, he would have to register as a sex offender.


SBU administrator named as Oklahoma Baptist president
By Vicki Brown (415 words)

SHAWNEE, Okla. (ABP) -- David Whitlock, 46, an administrator at Southwest Baptist University, has been named Oklahoma Baptist University's 15th president, OBU trustees announced Oct. 10.

"Having been born and raised in Oklahoma, Dr. Whitlock will fit us well," Alton Fannin, OBU trustee chair, said.

An 11-member presidential search committee, which included Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Executive Director Anthony Jordan and Abby Jeffers, 2007-2008 student body president, presented Whitlock for the position.

"I am delighted that the board of trustees has voted to call Dr. Whitlock as the 15th president of OBU," Stephen Allen, search committee chair, said. "Dr. Whitlock's experience, vision and passion will enable him to continue in the excellent tradition of OBU's past presidents."

Whitlock has been associate provost and dean of the college of business and computer science at Southwest Baptist in Bolivar, Mo., since 1999. He also has served as dean of adult and satellite-campus programs since 2007.

Before that, he taught for 14 years at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He also has been a bi-vocational pastor for churches in Oklahoma and Missouri since licensed to the ministry in 1993. He currently preaches every other week at Wellspring Baptist Fellowship in Bolivar, where he is an elder.

Born in Purcell, Okla., Whitlock earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in administrative studies at Southeastern Oklahoma State. He completed a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Oklahoma.

"I see now how God has been preparing me each step along the way to serve in this day and in this place," Whitlock said on campus, following the announcement.

Whitlock follows Mark Brister, who retired in November 2007 after serving Oklahoma Baptist since 1998. John Parrish has served the past 12 months as interim president. Whitlock will assume the post Nov. 3.

Whitlock said he is grateful to have had to opportunity to serve at Southwest Baptist University and leaves behind "many dear friends" and colleagues.

According to SBU's student newspaper, The Omnibus, SBU President Pat Taylor nominated Whitlock for the OBU leadership spot shortly after Brister announced his retirement.

"I wrote a letter of nomination back last spring and it has been very interesting to watch this process unfold," said Taylor, who previously worked at OBU from 1986 to 1996. "You just see God's handprint all over this because he [Whitlock] was one among numerous good candidates."

According to the OBU student newspaper, The Bison, more than 25 candidates were recommended as president.


-- Bob Allen contributed to this story.

Church Sign - 10/14/2008

Church: Marble City United Methodist Church (2554 Sutherland Avenue; Knoxville, TN 37921)

Sign: “We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.”

Commentary: This sign both reminds its readers of Jesus’ command not to judge (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37) and also his final mandate to be his witnesses to all of the earth. Just before ascending, Jesus’ final words to his followers were:

“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NASB)

Bible Trivia - 10/14/2008

Question: What did Moses’ mother cover the basket in which she hid Moses?

Answer: Slime (tar) and pitch. (Exodus 2:3)

Comments: Moses' infancy narrative is one of the most famous in all of the Bible. To avoid Pharaoh's mandate to kill all Hebrew male babies, his mother placed her infant in a wicker basket coated with tar (chemar) and pitch (zepheth) and set the basket in the reeds by the bank of the Nile River. The tar and pitch served to waterproof the vessel.

But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. (Exodus 2:3, NASB)

The basket was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter who named the child Moses and raised him as her own.

Note: This painting is the "Finding of Moses" by Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671). The oil on canvas hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washinton, DC, as part of the Samuel H. Kress Collection.

Word of the Day - 10/14/2008


A jactitation is a false boast or claim that causes injury to another.

Potiphar's wife made the jactitation that Joseph attempted to seduce her. (Genesis 39:14)

she called to the men of her household and said to them, "See, he [Potiphar] has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed." (Genesis 39:14, NASB)

The jactitation landed Joseph in prison.

Note: This image of Joseph and Potipher's wife is an oil on canvas by Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639). It is part of the Royal Collection housed in Windsor Castle.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 10/14/2008

On Monday night, the regular season of church league basketball concluded. My team lost. Again.

The script was very familiar. My team had the ball, trailing by two points in the closing seconds. We called timeout with the score 42-40. Out of the timeout, we turned the ball over which led to a 46-40 loss. We finished the regular season 1-5 with none of our losses being by more than six points. The results:

September 8: 28-32 vs. KLD
September 15: 52-57 vs. GLO
September 22: 37-43 vs. Roberts
September 29: 58-35 vs. KLD
October 6: 51-57 vs. GLO
October 13: 40-46 vs. MDR

Despite our 16.7% winning percentage we actually were only outscored by four points all season (266-270).

We had seven of or eight guys on this night. SH had a lot of work and could not make the game. I call this our No-Sean team. (That was a really bad reference to Knowshon Moreno. Sorry to bring up a sore subject for Vols’ fans.)

Our star, PCR, re-injured his knee. I have personally listed him as day-to-day on our roster. This is to throw off anyone who is gambling on our games.

For the first time all year, I did not give the halftime devotional. PH came prepared, postponing my Muggsy Bogues devotional for next week. (MPW selected the topic.) PH did well. I also got to hear DKN give the devotional during the late game and it is worth repeating.

DKN is a car salesman and once sold AB’s father’s Yukon Denali to a retiring military veteran. (DKN had his permission. He did not just sell another man’s car.) The man had been referred to DKN and though they had not met previously, DKN took an instant liking to the him. Shortly after buying the car, the man called DKN from the side out of the road. The Denali’s transmission had failed. When DKN arrived on the scene, the man had just finished leading a passerby to Christ and said that he now knew why the car's engine had failed. The next day, DKN realized that the highly expensive transmission would not need to be replaced. In fact, the automobile was fixed for less than $20. While picking up his car, the man asked DKN if that had ever happened to him. DKN admitted it had not. The man asked, “Why?” DKN left us with the same question.

DKN also asked AB to thank his father for selling him a bum car.

DKN’s team (captained by GLO) won the second game, 60-29. The most remarkable thing about this is that this meant that of the league’s four teams, we will not be the last seed in the tournament as KLD’s squad is also 1-5. I will let you know the game time. We appreciate all who have attended as we have led the league in fans by a wide margin. That is not as impressive as it sounds.

After the game, JTH, ALK, and I went to Applebees. ALK told us about how a last second shot from her church’s (St. Mark United Methodist Church) basketball team is on YouTube. Way to rub it in our faces, Sweet Bart!

Also of note our waiter, Justin, who I described in the March 5th edition of Eckleburg’s Eyes as looking like Lance Bass has shaved his hair and now no longer looks like Lance Bass. Update your records.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prayer Blog - 10/13/2008

Tomorrow, JTH's father, CEH (aka "Homer"), returns to the neurologist. He has been incapacitated for some time. Please pray that the doctors will find a way to eliminate spells of falling and will enable him to return to work.

Bible Trivia - 10/13/2008

Question: Complete the following “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath...”

Answer: “committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

Comments: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus redefines "adultery". The line preceding this Scripture reads, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'". Jesus is quoting the first reference to the word "adultery" in Scripture, the seventh commandment (Exodus 20:14). Jesus acknowledges that the act of adultery is preceded by adulterous thoughts and in doing so, he raises the moral standard for his followers.

but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28, NASB)

President Jimmy Carter faced criticism for these beliefs in an interview that appeared in the November 1976 issue of Playboy. Carter confessed, "Because I'm just human and I'm tempted and Christ set some almost impossible standards for us. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Christ said, I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery. I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times."

Word of the Day - 10/13/2008


To betoken is to give evidence of; indicate.

According to Old Testament law, two witnesses were required to betoken an offense for the offender to incur the death penalty. (Deuteronomy 19:15)

"A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed." (Deuteronomy 19:15, NASB)

In the book of Revelation, God enlists two witnesses to testify in deference to this law. (Revelation 11:3)

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 10/13/2008, Part 2

On Sunday morning I taught a Sunday School class at the Central Baptist Church of Bearden comprised of young married couples. The scheduled speaker, NAH was out of town and I had been enlisted to fill his shoes. When I arrived, I got to see DAT’s handiwork. The church is now completely wired for television and the service can be seen in progress throughout the building. I suspect that if the church ever paid DAT by the hour it would go bankrupt.

As per the curriculum, I taught Romans 5:6-19. During the lesson, I referenced the words atonement theories, interlocutor, and synthetic parallelism. I also evidently made several disparaging asides to the SBC. No one seemed to mind me using unnecessarily complex vocabulary or my liberal leanings.

I also referenced both Miley Cyrus and High School Musical so if nothing else I nailed the highly important tween demographic in a class of young married folks. (Note: This photo is of KJW who joined us after her class. She came in vigorously flexing her muscles. RAW speculates that the church drugged his child.)

After church, JTH and I tried a new restaurant. We both noted that we wanted to eat light as we were to eat dessert at his grandmother’s house in celebration of her birthday later in the afternoon. So we ate at Mama Blues - a southern buffet! The restaurant is located at 9645 Kingston Pike where Ryan’s was until it closed in February. Mama Blues opened on September 19th with more or less the same setup and same food. If you like Ryan’s you will like Mama Blues.

One new addition was a mural of Ron Green waving a UT flag. The painting was a great likeness. I took a Religious Studies class at UT with him and recognized him right away. Green was a defensive tackle on Tennessee’s 1998 national championship football team. He is perhaps best remembered for selling his championship ring on eBay.

We had some time to kill before meeting JTH’s grandparents so we visited JDM at the new Kroger. The store opened on October 5th and is enormous. JDM was serving as parking lot manager and had time to give us a tour of the facility. It covers 113,000 square feet and the company made $1.4 million at the location during the previous week alone. It has far more features than the average Kroger including four aisles of toys, a sushi bar, furniture, jewelry, and an As Seen on TV section. They even had a string ensemble from UT playing in the store. Seriously.

Despite their vast inventory, one thing they did not have was Mallomar cookies. At least we could not find them This candy was referenced often on Gilmore Girls and I want to sample one. Does anyone know where I can find Mallomars?

After our tour of Kroger, we traveled to JTH’s grandmother’s home where we celebrated her birthday. She and JTH’s mother had recently attended a DAR meeting. The featured speaker was Smith D. Ray who spoke on the history of Oak Ridge. Among the stories he told were that of a local prophet named John Hendrix (1865-1915). Interesting information on this “mystic” can be found by clicking the link connected to the speaker’s name.

After a great afternoon with his family, JTH and I watched Grandma’s Boy on DVD. I had never seen the film which JTH felt needed to be corrected. I enjoyed it fairly well.

After the movie, I joined JTH, ALK, KL, KJW, MPW, and RAW at RAW’s home for a bonfire. KJW was in rare form. We had pretzels which she referred to as “hearts”. I never would have made that association.

KJW’s grandfather brought her back a Halloween costume from Washington, DC. She will be wearing an orange space suit. It fits her perfectly.

In Eckleburg's Eyes - 10/13/2008, Part 1

On Friday, I got to see KJW both in the morning and at night! RAW needed a ride to work and for me to drop KJW off at her aunt PWC’s home as his father had taken the car they had been using on a trip to Washington, DC. As you may guess from this photo, KJW was not fully awake when I picked her up. In her defense, neither was I.

On Friday night, I dropped by MoFoS. Not only did I get to see some friends but I got this great picture of the legendary De La Rosa. For the record, he is almost always this close to the counter.

I then spent Friday night with RAW and KJW. I delivered food from Sonic and we watched House on television, as we often do. KJW enjoyed her meal. She told me, “That made my tummy feel better.” She did get a little jealous that the television was diverting our attention from her (where it obviously should have been), so she dragged a massive chair in front of the television, sat in it, and exclaimed, “Surprise! Happy birthday!”

As an aside, during the program, their was an advertisement for an alltel phone. Neither I nor RAW (nor presumably KJW) has ever know anyone who owned one. Have you?

On Saturday morning, I ate at IHOP with my parents. (This is a rare blog photo of them.) They were to be traveling to Lexington, Virginia, later in the day on the first leg of a vacation to The Homestead. Lexington has a great deal of Civil War history including the Stonewall Jackson House (1824-1863 whom my mother is related to, at least according to my grandmother) and the grave of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870, for whom my mother is named as they share the same birth date.). After sharing these Civil War connections, I feel compelled to note that it was my grandfather, a native New Yorker, who was the Civl War buff in the family and not his southern wife.

Dad’s travel plans meant that I would not get to watch the Tennessee football game with him. He did not miss as much as the Vols lost again, to Georgia, 26-14. The Vols are now 0-3 in the SEC for the first time in twenty years.

On Saturday night, I ate with JTH and ALK. I was given the privilege of choosing the restaurant and I selected Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge. The drive there seemed to take an eternity for some reason but I think the pizza was worth it. We had a good night though the drive must have worn ALK out as she fell asleep on the way home. Then again, I sometimes have that effect on women...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prayer Blog - 10/12/2008, #2

Today my parents began a brief vacation with friends at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. Please keep their travel plans in your prayers.

Prayer Blog - 10/12/2008

Tomorrow morning, MLM is leading another expedition to the Gulf Coast to participate in disaster relief. Please keep this ministry in your prayers.

Church Sign - 10/12/2008

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

Sign: “Conscious is not God’s voice. It is his gift.”

Commentary: Despite the spelling error in this sign (the quote should read “conscience”, not “conscious”), this sign is a great reminder that a conscience is a gift from God. I Peter affirms this, noting that a good conscience is something worth asking God for:

Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (I Peter 3:21, NASN)