Category Archives: Faith

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

No, not MLK… c’mon, have some respect.

Here’s the (, given on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Now that I’ve started to become more familiar with Lincoln, the speech strikes me as very like Lincoln’s work. Not too long. Elegant language. Rich analogy.

> Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
> But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
> In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Give it a listen. Communication of this caliber is rare. It will be sixteen minutes well spent.

On the way to ballet

Anna talks non-stop during the whole drive to her ballet class. This evening she was cheerfully chattering…

“…and I think that it should be a law that you have to read the *whole* Bible before you start a church. That way there wouldn’t be any Catholics or Lutherans. Only Baptists.”

“No, honey, they’ve read the whole Bible. Sometimes people just have some different ideas about what they see there.”


“Yes, dear.”

Long pause.

“***Ob***viously they have some misunderstandings.”

A Thanksgiving thought from Johnny Dollar

More [proof]( I was born in the wrong era; a nice message from my favorite old time radio drama. [Click here to listen.](

In case I don’t get to posting this week, have a happy Thanksgiving. :)

> Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
(II Cor. 9:15)

When’s the last time you were called “honky”?

It was last Saturday afternoon for me. This Rotten Little Girl decided she was going to use the street in front of my house for her own Jerry Springer set and beat up a smaller girl. I got in between them before it got anywhere and tried to send them on their separate ways. But the Rotten Little Girl decided to try to lunge around me and try and get the other girl again. Again, Helen and I broke it up and I walked Rotten away telling that next it will be the police. “I’m gonna tell my mom!” “Yes, *please* tell your mom! I want to talk to her!” She kept walking away, then bellowed out “Honky!” I cracked up.

Rotten seems to be new to the neighborhood. Perhaps a feral child. I came home today to see her laughing as she rode a small bike down the middle of the street (we have sidewalks). A little boy was trying to chase her from a few houses down, presumably a little brother. The poor kid ran over a block with no mercy or resolution in sight. I realized what was happening too late to do anything.

What do you do about a little beast like that? She plainly can’t be trusted to be around people. Not without supervision, which is seems plainly lacking in her life. No, her progenitors (yes, I’m withholding the word “parents”) are making the bed and fluffing the pillow in her future jail cell. Or middle-teen pregnancy. And the cycle will continue.

What do you do? I try to engage them when possible, but that’s rare and largely impotent. Raising *my* kids right seems to be my primary task. Of course, once I’ve raised them right, it’ll probably be their tax money supporting her. Sigh.

It’s so sad. She started soft and wiggly. Maybe not quite Locke’s tabula rasa, but still a little person fresh from God, full of potential, waiting to start to understand meaning and purpose, right and wrong. What the heck was her spirit “fed”? The tasteless bread of **self**ishness, perhaps; the empty carbs of the soul? It all puts me in kind of an Ecclesiastes mood.

The English Standard Version (ESV)


The English Standard Version is a fairly new English translation of the Bible which, as I understand it, tries to be as literal to the text as possible while trying to avoid some of the sometimes wooden phrasing found in very literal translations like the New American Standard. I tend to like this side of the spectrum for Biblical translation, and had been looking forward to the ESV’s release.

Then it came. One day, strolling through a Northwestern Bookstore, I saw I beautifully covered ESV. Nice leather embossed with almost Celtic artwork. Beautiful.

Then I opened it. Ugh.

Under this wonderful cover, these carefully translated words were printed on the worst paper I’ve ever seen. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it. I opened another, then another. I gave up on the leather bound and tried different form factors… all the same dreadful paper.

Now everyone’s used to the wispy thin paper Bibles are often printed on. I am, too. I have a few. But this paper allowed me to see the “shadow” of text even three or four pages deep! I would have bought one that moment – I might have even bought two, one for a gift – but the paper made it nearly unreadable.

Well, while in Arkansas last week (I’ve some story telling to do on *that*), I found a hardcover “pew” version of the ESV which finally had a different and better paper. And I bought it. And I like it. Even though I don’t get the smooth, cushy feel of the leather. sob

Anyway, the ESV has moved from doghouse to acceptable (yes, admittedly on issues of form, but still, reading has to be readable) to downright Make Me Giddy because of [this][1]. That’s a screen grab of the free [MacSword]( But look carefully. I found a beta version of the ESV texts for it! WOW! With Strong’s!

Right now, NASB is my favorite. Maybe ESV will replace it. It certainly makes me more interested to use it since I have a searchable copy. Though I really hope the Greek will someday be my primary New Testament.

“Re-Envisioning Baptist Identity”


When in Sioux Falls last week (which I’ll be posting about later), I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Thompson of the [North American Baptist Seminary][1]. We had a very nice conversation over a very nice mocha. One of the things we talked about was a document that he co-authored callled “Re-Envisioning Baptist Identity: A Manifesto for Baptist Communities in North America.” It starts out in part:

> We are writing to ask you to consider the following theological proposal. Baptists in North America have long been fragmented, and far too often the fragmentation has been for most unworthy reasons. In the contemporary theological milieu, many Baptist theologians have remained timid about stepping forward to make constructive theological proposals. Even criticism of the status quo popular theology is either excessively muted, or so heavily ideological that it seldom gets to the heart of what the Baptist theological heritage has stood for.
> For too long Baptist theology has railed against Catholics, Anglicans, Campbellites, and Methodists, not to mention liberals, fundamentalists, pedobaptists, holy rollers, or whoever are identified as the current “bad guys” in other churches or theological camps. But Baptist theology ought not to be against the church. Baptist theology needs to be for the church and the gospel in a hostile world.

It’s an interesting document and asks Baptists to consider how to balance the tension between the individual believer’s ability to discern truth and follow conscience, and the value and authority of the Church over history and the community of believers studying together to discovery truth. I also think it touched on ecclesiastical matters, but I tend to think along those lines.

Anyway, it was a public document, so I am taking the liberty to offer it in full here; just follow the “read the rest…” link below. I’m curious what you think of it.

Later, I will direct you to what some others have thought of it.

Continue reading “Re-Envisioning Baptist Identity”