Tuesday, May 23, 2006

DaVinci Mayhem and Hilarity

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A recent article by Gordon Keith, a Dallas radio personality, made me laugh so hard I almost wet myself. Keep in mind that this guy is not writing from a religious perspective, and this is not in a Christian magazine. It does the best job I've seen of painting The DaVinci Code in the proper light. I'm so sick of DaVinci stuff, but this is too good to pass up.

Click and enjoy

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Politics Part II

Peggy NoonanPeggy Noonan's latest column makes a lot of sense to me. In it she writes,
"The oddest thing about Republicans and Democrats in power is that they always know the technical facts, always know about fund raising, always know what the national committee is saying about getting turnout. But so often they don't know the message or even have a message. Which is funny, because they're in the message business. They're like shoemakers who make pretty shoeboxes but forget to make the shoes."
Finally someone succinctly describes the way I feel about our current political climate. Thank you, Peggy, for summarizing my thoughts.

Building Bridges

My last post about politics created a lot of conversation, and that's a good thing. We can't build bridges if we never put on our hard hats, strap on a tool belt and get to work. In this case "work" means conversations. We have to be able to talk to each other if we're ever going to appreciate and understand each other.

Special thanks to my cousin, Doug, for being willing to enter the conversation. It's no surprise to Doug and me that we won't always find common ground. He's a liberal from the North, and I'm a conservative from the South. I tend to see things more exclusively, and he has more of a pluralistic outlook. I just about can't bear to watch anything political these days, and Doug doesn't go a night without watching the pundits. We're from different worlds, and we see things in different ways.

I used to think that was bad, and it appeared that Doug and I would never really be close. We were too far apart, and us dumb Southerners (a title more felt than stated) could never really be taken seriously by our Yankee relatives. At the same time, our secular Northern intillectual family never felt tolerated by their Bible toting, evangelical cousins. Doug and I have never talked openly about these feelings, but we didn't have to. These thoughts were like that t-shirt you thought was a good purchase, but now only takes up space in your drawer. You never talk about it, but it's always there.

I think deep down Doug and I never really bought in to all of those feelings. We always knew we liked each other, but weren't sure how to overcome the unstated junk that kept us apart. We have always been kindred spirits, but have never had the time or opportunity to explore a true relationship. I think those days are over.

Last month Doug flew into Dallas for business, and we met up and had dinner at a local tex-mex. It was the first time I didn't feel threatened by Doug's extremely well-spoken wit and intellect. We had a wonderful time, and my wife and I felt cared for and listened to, and there was a mutual respect and admiration that has been awkward to achieve in the past. We followed up that visit with a spirited conversation about politics right here on this blog. That same respect and admiration was present in our conversation.

Maybe we're just older and wiser, and maybe we are tired of feeling like we have something to defend. We are who we are, and that's ok. It's good to know that we don't have to change each other to enjoy each other. Thanks for the visit, Doug, and I look forward to building more bridges with you in the future.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hey You... Get in Here!!

My political post was starting to burn a hole in my blog, so I decided to post something fun to add a little levity. Take a peak at this little gem from "Get In Here Ministries." Johnny Lang and Chachi Laruso will change your life if you let them. Make sure you scroll down the page and watch their interview. These guys remind me of some of my former youth pastors. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My, uhm, thoughts on politics... I think.

I have been very hesitant to throw my political opinions around these days because I'm not sure I can come up with a concise statement that sums up my thoughts. I know that I'm not happy with the way things are going... gas prices through the roof, death tolls in Iraq still rising, genocide in Sudan, etc, etc. These are difficult times, and I don't envy any politician who has to weed through the media, special interest groups and a polarized and divided country.

Having said that, I am disturbed by what seems to be a lack of understanding among Americans about the history of the Middle East and the conflict we are currently engaged in. Islamo-fascism is an insidious religious philosophy akin to that of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. In my opinion, it's even worse because it uses religion to justify its violence and oppression. The situation in Sudan, Africa is a prime example.

If you'll recall, Khartoum, Sudan, the capital of the country, is the place where the events of 9-11 were planned by Osama bin Laden and others. It has long been a hot bed of terrorist activity. Sudan is currently the location of the first genocide of the new millennium. As it stands, more than 300,000 people have been slaughtered, and more than 2 million are displaced from their homes. All of these events are being carried out by Islamic fundamentalists bent on world domination. Ironically, these are the same Islamic fundamentalists who dominate Middle Eastern culture.

All of this makes me wonder what might have happened if we had intervened earlier when Hitler was killing the Jews? What if we could have squeaked into Central Europe and helped change the culture before it was too late?

In many ways it seems to me that we are doing exactly that in Iraq. We're trying to import a philosophy of democracy and freedom into a world that has been infiltrated by the most insidious religious dogma in the history of the world (you'll forgive me if I rank it even higher than Constantine's wrong-headed Christianity that led to the crusades). It's amazing to me that Christianity is still paying for the crusades, yet we never seem to hear word one from Bush-bashing musicians and actors about Islamo-fascism. Where's the outrage?

I will admit that I have a hard time with George W. Bush. He's a terrible public speaker, and seems lost at times in front of the media. I think I'd probably really enjoy a sit down with him at his Crawford, TX ranch, but he's hard for me to take seriously in a public forum. I honestly felt the same way about President Clinton, but for different reasons.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, although I'm concerned about the direction of our country, I am not going to sit here and bash President Bush for the conflict in Iraq. Something must be done to slow the spread of Islamo-fascism. Is this the right way to do it? I don't know. What I do know is that I would have preferred that my country took measures to change the culture of Nazi Germany before so many innocents had to die. I would still prefer that we take action, regardless of our initial intent, to stop the spread of fundamentalist Islam before it's too late.

Those are my hot political opinions. I struggle with this... I really do. I don't want to be one of those blind Christians who think that Jesus was a Republican, but I don't want to be lumped in with the cocaine and boob-job Hollywood crowd either. I love Jesus, but aside from that I'm not always sure where I stand. Lord, help me get it right.

Monday, May 08, 2006

DaVinci Debate

There is great anticipation and trepidation regarding the release of Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code onto the big screen. I read the book and was riveted by the action and suspense, but nauseated by the fallacious representation of historical Christianity. Regardless of how you feel about it, you should enjoy this spirited debate between Bart Ehrman and Richard Hays that occured at Duke Divinity School.

Click here to listen to the debate.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

King of the Hill Church

OK, I couldn't help but post this excerpt from the TV show King of the Hill. It's about finding a new church, and the commentary it makes on mega-churches in particular is priceless. As a pastor, I couldn't agree more with this hillarious spoof. Click here to check it out.