Praying for Ted Nugent?

Like many others, I am so deeply troubled by the choice of both Texas and national Republicans to use Ted Nugent as a spokesperson for their views. Try typing into a search engine, “Ted Nugent Pedophile” and see what comes up. To call this man “vile” might be a compliment. He’s simply appalling. Now, I will tell you that I’d never even heard of this person before last week’s dust-up in Denton. I’m not much into pop culture, and never have been. Never listened to his music, never even knew he existed. But his association with Republicans is not new. I’ve learned…

Ice Wins! Worship Cancelled Tomorrow, But Let’s Meet Online

Krum has been one of the hardest hit areas of the ice/sleet storm that settled over much of North Texas on Thursday night.  Three to four inches of impenetrable ice covers everything. The church parking lot could easily double as an ice-skating rink. The local police have begged people not to get out. More freezing precipitation is predicted for this afternoon and evening. Temperatures won’t even peek above freezing until tomorrow afternoon, and then only briefly. So I cancelled our normal worship gatherings for tomorrow, December 8, 2013. But I can not’ cancel worship. So, I’ve invited everyone to meet me on…

On Translation: No Easy Answer

Twice last week, I was asked about the “best Bible translation” in order to read to understand as closely as possible what was in the original texts. My answer is not particularly satisfactory but it is the best I have. Simply, if you want to read something closest to the original text, then the best thing is to learn Greek and Hebrew. Even then, you are reading copies of copies of copies. As far as anyone knows, none of the actual original manuscripts are still in existence. All translations are interpretive in nature. Some may closer mimic the cadence of the Greek…

What’s the “Why” Behind the Biblical Emphasis on Female Virginity?

I wrote this as part of a discussion circling around the question of the church’s response to growing sexual freedom. The Historic Stance The traditional church call: “everyone should stay a virgin until marriage, and then have one and one only sexual partner from then on–and the sexual partner must be from the opposite sex.”  The fact that this stance is out of step with our current, sex-obsessed, culture would be an extreme understatement. The Historical/Biblical Context Let’s go back and look at why girls (but not boys) had to retain their virginity before marriage in  the times reflected in the earliest…

Missing Babies, Feral Males, “Smokin’ Hot Wives” and Female Appointments

A little background here before I weave together some threads of thought. Sex Selective Abortions First, look at issue of sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. These are major issues especially in India and China.  For multiple financial and cultural reasons, many families have a strong preference for male babies over female babies.  The growing availability and affordability of ultrasound technology makes it increasingly easy to abort unwanted female fetuses.  If an unwanted one makes it to birth, the child is often abandoned and left to die. The result is a growing disparity between the number of males and females entering adolescence and…

On the Art of Communication: Generation Gap or Just Plain Rudeness?

Nick Belton, a young “guru” on the digital age, offered a recent rant about excess text messages, especially ones that say things like “thank you.” Belton hates wasting even one extra minute on any communication medium that does not serve his immediate purpose. He finds phone calls and voice mail particularly offensive, saying: My father learned this lesson last year after leaving me a dozen voice mail messages, none of which I listened to. Exasperated, he called my sister to complain that I never returned his calls. “Why are you leaving him voice mails?” my sister asked. “No one listens to voice…

On Adolescence and Underwear

It is very easy for someone who works exclusively in a church environment to become culturally isolated from the “real world,” so I make it a point to read extensively outside my field. I want to learn what others are thinking and how they experience life. So, I perused a recent article in The Atlantic written by a middle-school teacher extremely concerned about the ways the girls in her classroom dressed for school. She writes, “I hate having to defend my right not to see a girl’s underwear. . . I hate having to worry that being able to see a girl’s…

Judicial Council Decisions: The Emperor Has No Clothes

The United Methodist Church cannot be re-formed. It’s over for us with our current structure. The Judicial Council’s decision to revoke the involuntary retirement of Bishop Earl Bledsoe over issues of violation of procedural minutia found in the Book of Discipline (not over the question of his effectiveness, which was not being ruled upon) has forever made this clear. It is over. It’s easy to get frustrated with the Judicial Council for the rulings of the last few months. Their work has thoroughly reversed decisions made by General and Jurisdictional Conferences. However, I think that would be a mistake. They’ve done the United Methodist…

Hurricane Sandy and The Search for Meaning

The word “normal” will be a long time returning to those in the path of Superstorm Sandy last week.  Lives were lost, many made homeless, power is slow to be restored in multiple areas, schools disorganized, mud and debris cover formerly lovely neighborhoods.  Hardest hit, as always, are the poor and the disabled.  Cold weather has moved in with more storms, increasing the misery and danger.  It’s just awful. Right after the storm, the blogosphere exploded with “Blame God for Hurricane Sandy” articles and posts.  I don’t suppose this should be shocking: it all fits with the “Divine Butler-god” that I’ve written…

One-Sided Conversations

I suspect many who fly frequently share one secret fear: that the use of cellphones will be permitted after take-off.  Picture the scenario: stuck in a middle seat between two people who are carrying on conversations on either side of you. Both use loud voices because of ambient noise. The phone calls consume the entire flight time, other than take off and landing. Are you nuts yet? All of us have been exposed—and probably exposed others—to the discomfort of overhearing phone calls in public places. Occasionally people respond with rage to such infringements on their hearing space. Once this past summer on…