Sunday, August 28, 2005

This Week's Moment of Stupidity

I can't believe I found a commentable stupid moment so soon after the last one. I read this on Vox Day's blog and I am in just as much shock at this comment as he is: "If you paid your mortgage off, it means you probably did not manage your funds efficiently over the years. It's as if you had 500,000 dollar bills stuffed in your mattress.... [It's] very unsophisticated." -- David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors Are you as dumbfounded about this comment as I am? This guy is saying being debt-free and having money saved is, well, stupid. Unreal. Like Vox says, famous last words, David; famous last words.

Methodist Pastor Suspended for Denying Membership to Gay Man

This is disturbing. Look at this story here: What I find particularly chilling is that they say this pastor is "not subject to any one local church." This means that whatever the congregation may think, the denomination says, "that's too dang bad. Either he does what we tell him to do, or we yank him and give you a new pastor whether you like it or not." Having grown up in a system (Southern Baptist Convention) that emphasizes the autonomy of the local church, it is mystifying to me that the denomination would tell a church they can't tell if their pastor is biblically faithful or not, and that only the denomination can determine that. Where is room for the priesthood of believers, or for the ability of believers to determine for themselves the truth or falsity of a pastor's words? Even more chilling, where is accountability for the denomination? When a denomination has no safeguard against straying from God's Word (read: autonomous local churches), a denomination is ripe for a fall. This is what has happened to this particular branch of Methodism.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

This Week's Moment of Stupidity

Okay, folks. Here is this week's Moment of Stupidity. I couldn't believe it, but with people suing McDonalds' these days, it has to make some kind of morbid sense.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Family, The Church, and Culture

In my initial readings for my class Psychology and Theology of Marriage and Family, I came across this quote: Mary Pipher says, "It became clearer to me that if families just let the culture happen to them, they end up fat, addicted, broke, with a house full of junk, and no time." Robert Bly says that contemporary society has left us with spiritual flatness, with the talk show replacing the family, the internet instead of art, and the mall instead of community. (From the book The Expanded Family Life Cycle) I have seriously thought about this over the past 24 hours, and I have come to the conclusion that it is a very accurate picture, not only of the family, but of the modern church. The modern church has become a reactionary entity, speaking up when the latest fad, attack on the faith, or church movement stands up and gets noticed. The church has become primarily defensive in its outreach to society. If we, the church, are going to be successfully obedient to the command of the Bible to redeem the time, we've got to change this. "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:4-6)" Certainly, this verse speaks of apologetic, or "defensive" action, but apologetics is not entirely a reactionary endeavor. Apologetics takes charge, takes the offense. Apologetics offers reasons to believe that our faith is true. But even today apologetics has become almost purely reactionary. We need our pastors to start teaching the truth of the Bible preemptively. We must teach our congregations to live by Biblical truth, and that if anything contradicts that truth it must be rejected. We cannot be content to wait until someone tells them something that confuses them to preach Biblical truth for living. We cannot wait until the next attack on the faith arrives. "Walking in wisdom" demands it.

Wierd-O-Cron Weekly

Stains be praised! "Nessie," the famed Loch Ness Monster, has finally surfaced! Or has she? Check this out!

Behold, He Makes All Things New!

He surely does. A new school year started yesterday, and I kicked it off in grand fasion--no sleep and two 3-hour classes, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. And then today I had my "regular" one-hour class; however it is an 8AM class and therefore I have no sleep until that class is over, given that I work 3rd shift these days. Such is the life of a bivocational pastor. I can't wait to graduate. Don't get me wrong, I love school, but I've been a student for too freaking long. Anyway, before I nod off near-permanently, let me inform you that school has started. Oh wait, I already did that. Anyhow, I have updated the sidebar a little bit--the Academic Reading section will now reflect what I am reading for my classes. And I decided to abandon the "Hearing Aids" ranking system for movies. Instead I will create an object to assign that is relevant to the movie in question. Certainly fits when you consider that Zoolander was only worth 2 Airheads. I'm not even sure it's worth a single airhead, but then I had to think about how many airheads it takes to make sense of this movie. Let's hope those two airheads are not blonde. Well, with no further ado, I am going to bed. When I awake, I will regale you with a thought I am developing after my first day of class.

Monday, August 15, 2005

*NEW* Reading and Movie Sections Added!

I have decided to add in the sidebar a Reading section to reflect what I am currently reading for both pleasure and academics. Also, I have added a Movies section with a 5-point rating system. You may have noticed I'm rating them in hearing aids. But of course--I'm Deaf and I wear a hearing aid! It's my dang blog and I'll hearing aid if I want to. Hope you enjoy the new additions, and please feel free to suggest selections for my reading and viewing pleasure! Oh, I almost forgot. I have a new, improved Links section too!

Musings on Missions

Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my (Jesus) witnesses, telling people about me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. We recently had a big missions day at our church, as our local teen ministry, Deaf Teen Quest, completed a home missions trip to eastern Kentucky, and one of our beloved ladies, Lorie, rejoined us after a 3-month stay doing Deaf missions in Ecuador. Today was a testimony day, and the teens helped lead the service, doing music and sharing their stories about the mission trip. Lorie only gave a brief testimony, but that is okay, since she needs to rest and prepare for a "real" report, and to get her mind back onto American Sign Language! ;-) But I used the above verse today to explain the importance of missions to the church. It's so utterly important, and this verse outlines the "battle plan" exactly as it should be. The disciples were to start in Jerusalem, at home. All missions start here at home, wherever "home" is for you. Next, missions extend to Judea. This is you local area, your county of residence or possibly your state or geographic region. The teens' trip to eastern Kentucky is a great example of that. They are not home, but they are in their state of residence. Many others work in public service to their county, doing good works through such organizations as Habitat for Humanity or working for state agencies, spreading the Good News about Jesus throughout their region. Just so you don't get confused or feel left out, "tri-state" organizations are good examples, too, because they are not "home" missions but are under the category of Judea. Samaria is more accurately the country of residence. For us that would be America. There are a great many programs to show this, such as World Changers. We had some Deaf teens from out of state participate in the mission trip--this is another example of a wider focus on missions. And then you have "the ends of the earth." This is what most people think of when they think of missions--going to another country and sharing the Gospel with another culture. This is what Lorie did for three months. But even Lorie did not just up and go to Ecuador. She started here, at home in Louisville. All missions, international or otherwise, start right where you are. She started through serving the church and the community. Without that, she would have no basis for going to Ecuador. She would have no experience sharing the Gospel. It is so important that missions start at home, that I am convinced that we have a terrible model for missions. This goes for every denomination, including the Catholic Church. We have focused so much on bringing Jesus to "unreached people groups" that we have lost sight of the unreached people groups right under our own noses! The fact that the Deaf are one of the largest unreached people groups in America is testament to this notion. I want to challenge my readers to start today to bring missions to your homes. Start by telling your neighbors, your classmates, people in the store, people at work, about Jesus. Start a revival here in America that can only spread to the rest of the world!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On Indian Mascots and the NCAA

If you haven't heard, the NCAA has made a new rule that schools with Native American (read: Indian) mascots and nicknames can no longer use them in tournaments and champion ships. This affects everying except football at the moment. Schools who elect to keep the names will be required to cover any "offending" logos and alter their uniforms to be "sensitive" to our indigenous population. What a load of happy horse...ah...uhm...crap. This is one of the silliest things I've ever heard of. It's political correctness run amok. Think about this: Atlanta Braves. What is a brave? A warrior. A warrior. It is a symbol of respect and marking the worthiness of the culture to adopt this name as a team's identity. It is not a caricature or insult. It is a simple recognition that this symbol exemplifies all a team strives to be. I guess if we're going to start censoring team names just to keep from offending anyone, we're gonna have to censor the Purdue Boilermakers--can't have any white trash symbols there, can we? We'll have to do away with the Tigers, the Bears, and the Dolphins--that's cruelty to animals. Don't forget the White Sox, the Red Sox, and the Reds--that's insulting one's fashion choice. And we can't have the Angels--separation of church and state, hello?!?!? I do hope you get my point. I could be a lot meaner than this but I'm just not in the mood to waste that much energy on the stupidity of a small, cloistered group out of touch with reality. And no, I'm not talking about liberals, though that includes them as well. *wink*

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Musings on Ministerial Education, Or Lack of It

As a seminary student these past few years, a college and high school grad, I have been a student for at least 24 of my 28 years, including preschool. In all that time, I can look back and say with honesty that God has used my educational background to bring me precisely to this point in my life mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have never been more prepared to fulfill His call on my life, and I have never been in a better place to learn how to fulfill that calling. I attend the number one religious seminary in America (Southern Baptist Seminary), I work under one of the best Deaf pastors in America, and I live in a pretty neat town--where I recently became a "bivocational" pastor--that has everything I need (except for good sweet tea!). I shudder to think what my life would be like without education. Oh, it wouldn't have been too bad--I'd be living back home in Dayton working as an electrician, and possibly learning to be a contractor so as to help my Dad out and help run the family business. I'd long ago have been able to afford my own car and possibly my own house. But ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men, so to speak. But seriously, education instilled in me a love of learning that is quite stupendous, if I do say so myself. I would never be content to be an electrician. I would always want more for myself. I would always want to emulate Jesus in this regard, always wanting to "grow in wisdom and stature." Now, having said that, I just don't understand those who are resistant to education. "Oh, I will learn from experience, I don't need school." What a load of bigheaded, idiot claptrap. Nothing, in my opinion, is more egotistical and stupid than for someone who wants to be in a certain profession to resist going to school to study that profession. School enriches the mind, makes things clearer to you. Education, when persued, makes one's experience worthy and places it in proper context. Even the Apostle Paul placed great value on education, because without study Timothy could never have learned the proper doctrine by which to judge his experience. Please don't misunderstand me, education beyond high school is certainly not for everyone. Some people just plain don't do well in a school environment. That's fine. But there is a massive, massive difference between knowing one's limitations and refusing to go to school at all. I think those who are resistant to educating themselves do themselves and others a major disservice, not to mention the insult towards those who resemble the excuses they create for themselves, yet still attend school. If I hear someone tell me one more time that they don't like tests; don't like writing papers; they're too busy raising a family; they're too busy working to provide for their families; or some other inane excuse, I'm going to be very mean to them. Just these four excuses alone describes at least 75% of the student body at Southern, and they still persevere! I have more respect for the student friend of mine who has three kids, a wife, a house mortgage, a full time job, and a full time class load than for the slackers out there making life harder on themselves and their ministries.