And Another Thing…


A warning to preachers

I have always had a very low tolerance for church-hopping, and little patience with people who make a habit of it. You know the type: the preacher said something that made me uncomfortable, or I didn’t like that song, or [insert the excuse of your choice here] so i’m leaving!

Preaching is a rough job and all of us need to exercise some patience with the (mostly) good people who get up in a pulpit every Sunday and try to bring the Word to us.

But if I am ever sitting in a church auditorium and the preacher does something like this, I will walk out on the spot. And maybe hit him with a blivet afterwords.


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Duck and cover, someone’s being religious

Several years ago when I was working as a counselor in a group home for adults with mental illness, one of the clients (whom I will refer to as “Joe”) came into my office to complain about something. The exchange went something like this:

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The Stupidest Thing I’ve Heard This Week

It appears that eHarmony now has to put up a gay matching site in the wake of a lawsuit from a homosexual who felt that they were discriminating against him. Apparently, all of those eHarmony commercials he saw on TV of smiling, heterosexual couples made him want to join the fun.

The settlement is the result of a complaint New Jersey resident Eric McKinley filed against the online matchmaker in 2005. McKinley, 46, said he was shocked when he tried to sign up for the dating site but couldn’t get past the first screen because there was no option for men seeking men.

“It’s very frustrating and it’s very humiliating to think that other people can do it and I can’t,” he said. “And the only reason I can’t is because I’m a gay man. That’s very hurtful.”

By the way, Mr. McKinley thought the ruling was “fabulous.”  (I couldn’t resist)

I would sympathize with, and even support the protest of a gay man or a lesbian who was discriminated against by a general business or service provider, such as a restaurant, store, or hospital that refused them service. But for the life of me I don’t see how a dating site catering to heterosexual couples constitutes discrimination. It’s a specialty service; in a facet of life as complex as romantic relationships, one size does not fit all. Would you sue your dentist for not giving you an ear, nose, and throat exam? Would you sue McDonald’s for not offering pizza?

I would assume that the web is crawling with gay/lesbian dating sites (I aint about to go looking for them though). Did it occur to Mr. McKinley to try one of those? No, he decided to sue a private business that doesn’t draw one penny from the government because they didn’t realize that it’s about him too. And by the way, eHarmony had to pay him $5000 as part of the settlement. Talk about money for nothing.

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Even as the dust settles from the recent election, the spoil sporting continues. It appears that Abilene Christian University has come under fire in a recent column in The Abilene Reporter News by one of her alumni because the student paper, The Optimist, endorsed Obama.

Steve Hemphill, the author of the column, is surely within his rights to criticize his alma mater and to disagree with the student paper, even to take his toys and go home refuse to pay for his children to go there and to stop sending donations. However, I think that his logic is faulty on multiple levels. Consider:

Loyal donors aren’t going to be loyal to a “Christian” school with liberal, anti-God endorsements.

I recently asked an ACU professor, “What if I told you I had just come into some money and was interested in giving $300,000 to ACU or Harding, and ACU would get it if they (The Optimist) withdrew their endorsement of Obama?” He replied he would recommend not accepting it. He indicated that money shouldn’t influence a political decision or affect a moral position. I agreed. Moral positions shouldn’t be changed for monetary gain. But now we have a problem. That’s exactly what The Optimist did. It endorsed Obama, noting the primary reason as the economy.

Sadly, this is the state of the union — economy over morals.

First, the school did not endorse Obama. The student-run campus paper did. Second, his differentiation of economy and morals rings false – how we spend our money is a moral issue. Furthermore, as Mr. Hemphill notes, in a campus poll, the majority of students stated their support and intention to vote for McCain. Of course, Mr. Hemphill takes issue with the paper over this as well:

This minority endorsement is a reflection of that. The campus majority favored John McCain (in an Optimist poll). The paper didn’t reflect the feelings of the majority…

Granted, it’s only a campus newspaper. And while we could certainly debate the merits of any newspaper offering an endorsement of any candidate (personally, I’m against it) is any paper, even a student paper, obligated to adopt the majority stance? And are Christian schools (or any other school, for that matter) obligated to censor all editorial content in their papers?

There is also the disturbing phrasing he chooses in the top quote, “liberal, anti-God”. So I guess that everyone who voted for Obama is a liberal, and anti-God (why even separate the two, when in this fellow’s mind liberal politics automatically equals anti-God?). Good to know. Has it ever occurred to this gentleman that people might be more than their politics? That people other than registered Republicans can cast votes from spiritual convictions? That politics is an inherently sleazy enterprise and to seek pillars of faith among the elected is a waste of time and energy?

Next, he offers one of the most unctuous guilt-trips I have ever read (and I used to be a youth minister!):

One day, we’ll have to give an account, we’ll have to face those 45 million American aborted babies in eternity and explain ourselves. Somehow, I don’t think we can change their minds by saying, “I’m so sorry for voting for a man who supported abortion, but he was the best choice for the economy — I’m sure you understand.” They won’t. And God doesn’t.

I have already explained why [Comment 9] I put little stock in any presidential candidate’s stand on abortion ~ I have yet to see an compelling evidence that a president’s position on abortion has any effect whatsoever on the number of abortions performed in this country. I have also stated that Obama’s double-talk on this issue was a deal-breaker for me. But suppose that Obama actually delivers on his promise to lower abortions in the US through some of his policies…is Mr. Hemphill ready to eat crow over this?

He goes on:

The school paper is a reflection of ACU, and it endorsed a political candidate who supports abortion and homosexuality.

I can’t help but snicker when someone is accused of “supporting” homosexuality. I imagine someone running around yelling, “C’mon straights! Let’s try a little switch-hitting! Its fun!”

Next, he quotes Proverbs 14:34 (in the NLT no less): “God-devotion makes a country strong; God-avoidance leaves people weak.” The NASB translation is probably better: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” I certainly wouldn’t quibble with any of the wisdom to be found in Proverbs; but I wonder if he realizes the broad application of this verse? As a graduate of a Christian college, I can assure any reader that our campuses are, sadly, rife with sin; we just hide it better. I wonder if Mr. Hemphill is as concerned with the binge-drinking, casual sex, sanctimony, and hypocrisy rampant on our campuses as he is with the subjective endorsement of a handful of students. Does he care that Harding University, which he holds up as some moral light shining in the darkness, pretty much allowed intercollegiate athletes to do whatever they pleased without consequences (at least when I was there), just like those anti-God state schools? Favoritism is a sin too, kids.

My point is simple: Who is Mr. Hemphill, or myself, or you, or anyone to judge another’s faith, especially by how he or she votes? That is a dangerous game for any of us to be playing.

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Left Behind on Wall Street

If the laying hands on Baal wasn’t enough and you still need divine reassurance about the stock market, click below.

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Bad Idea of the Week

The American Family Association e-Store is offering the item below the fold as an “an effective way to express your Christian faith this Christmas season to honor our Lord Jesus”…

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A photo that makes me want to see this movie right now

If I was trying to talk you into seeing a movie, and told you that it was directed by the guy who made Garfield, would you be convinced? Neither would I. But the picture below the fold makes me want to see this movie, really bad. Click for the awesomeness…

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Filed under: Movies

It’s over! It’s over! Woo-hoo!

My two cents on the election:

My title is sincere. I have known for the past 10 months that I would be happier about the end of the election than about whoever won it.

Within 50 years of the civil rights movement, we have seen a black man win a presidential election. There is something undeniably wonderful about that.

The next person who whines in my presence about having to wait in line to vote is going to get a punch in the throat. Millions of people around the world live in Third World toilets where any clown with enough men and guns can declare himself “President for Life”. What do you think citizens of such a country would endure to have a vote? How dare any American gripe about minor inconveniences when so many people risk their livelihoods and lives to cast a vote, or don’t get to vote at all?

McCain delivered a classy, humble, and moving concession speech. This is the John McCain that everybody loved in 2000. Where has he been for the past two years? I hope that he will have the opportunity to rehabilitate his image and reputation before he retires.

Is it just me, or did McCain actually look relieved and Obama somewhat solemn? I wonder if Obama is starting to think “What have I gotten myself into?” I sure would if I were him.

Jesse Jackson, that ambulance chaser of American race-relations, was there last night, his eyes red and moist. I wonder if he was crying from joy or because he knows that he could never have had the moment that Obama is having?

Brian Williams is okay, but I didn’t realize what a big hole Tim Russert’s passing left until last night.

If your candidate won: proceed with caution. Don’t put too much trust in any leader.

If your candidate lost: take a breath. The future is not nearly as bad as you expect.

Finally, this article, which aptly expresses how I and many other believers have felt about this election.

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Where in the World…