Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What If Lifeway Sold...

The Christmas season is once again upon us, so I expect many students will be making out their Lifeway Christmas list. Now, I know the economy may encourage some of us to hold back this year. Others might well feel so burdened by their stewardship conscience to go so far as throwing away 10% of their library! Still, I'll bet students keep on buying those books one way or another. Lifeway sure does have a lot of diverse inventory, but have you ever wished they could push the envelop as to the quality of their stock? This idea originated years ago during late night brainstorming sessions with my friend, Jesse Florida.

So without further delay...

Rick Warren, The Prayer of the Purpose Driven Reformed Pastor to Desire God (Banner of Truth Trust, 2007) $12.99
Rick Warren's new appreciation of Richard Baxter is the first in a series of "Purpose Driven Paperbacks" by The Banner of Truth Trust. Warren offers a unique contemporary perspective that is sure to intrigue seasoned scholars and entice a new generation of believers to the wisdom of the Puritans. How would Baxter have balanced traditional and contemporary worship styles? What would he have thought of the 40 Days of Purpose? Warren tackles all these issues and more in a groundbreaking work that is sure to become an instant classic.

Warren: "My developing friendship with John Piper has resulted in my own greater appreciation of the Puritans. No one defines what a pastor should be better than Baxter. I am so grateful to Iain Murray and the Banner of Truth Trust for teaming up with Saddleback to produce the bold, new "Purpose Driven Paperbacks" series. These works will stand alongside the more traditional "Puritan Paperbacks" as a secondary source from a contemporary Christian worship and church growth perspective."

Bruce Wilkinson, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry B. Jenkins, The Purpose Driven Letter That Jabez Left Behind: Ancient Inspirations for Those Living in the End Times, 2 CD set. Narrated by Larry King (Tyndale Audio Series, 2007) $29.97

The best-selling book is now available on audio CD! Bruce Wilkinson takes us on an end times adventure through the eyes of the beloved Jabez. What would Jabez have told the tribulation saints? Did he know about the Rapture and the Millennium? These questions and more are explored through the masterful prose of Wilkinson, who has teamed up with Tim LaHaye's dispensationalism and Jerry B. Jenkins' storytelling to create an extraordinary work of fiction that will encourage any Christian who is suffering under the anxiety of our postmodern age.

Wilkinson: "Working with Tim and Jerry has really been a dream come true. I am living proof that God expands the territory of His children when we claim the promises He has offered us. What began as one small book on an obscure but powerful passage of Scripture has grown into a franchise far bigger than I could have ever imagined. Left Behind was the perfect fit for the next Jabez study because of its popularity and excellent marketing potential. And, of course, Larry King provides an excellent narration and the name recognition that will appeal to people outside the Church."
Larry King: "I admit I was surprised when Tyndale asked me to record this product. I don't have any particular connection with Christianity, but I do consider myself an agnostic seeker. I guess that is why this project appealed to me... Because it is about seeking answers to things nobody really knows for certain. When it comes down to it, you just have to take some things on faith."

And finally, a new tool for teaching theology to youth!
3-in-1-D Glasses™, by the Garland-Earl Corporation®, $7.99
Early Praise for 3-in-1-D Glasses:*
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.: "I must admit that I was skeptical about this being another cheesy gimmick. But after I put on those snazzy shades and sat down in my recliner with my storybook in hand, I was hooked! I can't remember when I've had so much fun reading a book, and I read a lot of books, trust me. I'm sure every Christian parent will want to buy a set for their kids. This is exactly the sort of ambitious product that churches should invest in for children and youth ministry."

Billy Graham: "These glasses really are amazing. Not only are they a perfect object lesson for teaching children about God, but they double as an efficient pair of sunglasses when I have to go outdoors. And they look great too."

J. I. Packer: "I wish somebody had thought of this when I was a boy. It would have given me a great head start on my theological studies. I don't give out product endorsements easily, but 3-in-1-D Glasses are deserving of my full support."

*Endorsements may or may not represent the exact views of the parties represented. Quotes were obtained through fourth and fifth degree removed sources.
All in good fun, right? But in a strange example of Christian life imitating parody, this "Magnify Your Faith" gimmick will actually be hitting shelves near you:
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Under-Rated Christmas Specials!

Oh sure, everybody loves Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, and Tim Allen when they are played constantly on TV in December, but here are some other equally worthy classics that don't seem to get played on TV as much as they deserve.

1. Claymation Christmas
Will Vinton's masterpiece of visuals and sound! My personal favorites are the "We Three Kings" sung by camels with "soul," and the California Raisans' big finale of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

2. Ernest Saves Christmas
Some of Jim Varney's best work!

3. Pluto's Christmas TreeEverybody remebers Mickey's Christmas Carol but few can recall this classic by name. Chip n' Dale sneak into Mickey's house and give Pluto a dose of Christ-"mess."

4. Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas
More magic from Jim Henson's hey-day!

5. A Garfield Christmas SpecialHis Halloween Special is also great!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Detroit Lions: 50 Year QB Curse

Fast Fact: As a franchise, the Detroit Lions have 4 NFL championships to their credit, ranking 8th in the league for most total championships [Green Bay (12), Chicago (9), New York Giants (7), Pittsburgh (6), Dallas, Washington, & San Francisco (5), Detroit and Baltimore/Indy Colts (4)]. Since winning their last championship in 1957, they traded their star quarterback and have not been back to the championship game since, winning only one playoff game in 1991.

I'm used to the Lions being bad. Outside of Barry Sanders, this team has given me no reason to hope they could turn their bad fortunes around. That's OK though, since as any Buffalo sports fan will tell you, "losing builds loyalty in a fan base."

But the one thing that really disappointed me about the Lions is that they lacked the mystique of a "curse" like other historic losing franchises. Take the Boston Red Sox (who have completely lost their appeal to me since winning not one but TWO World Series in the 00s) who had the Curse of the Bambino. Or the Chicago Cubs who had that crazy old man's hex he allegedly put on the team when they wouldn't let his Billy Goat into the stadium in 1945. And the Philadelphia Phillies only recently returned to World Series success after lifting the Curse of William Penn before this season started.

I always wanted the Lions to have their own curse. I kicked around the idea of a Barry Sanders Curse since he immediately retired prior to the 1999 season after Detroit refused to trade him a season shy of breaking the all-time NFL rushing record. But that doesn't answer the problem of why they have never been to a Superbowl since its inception in 1967.

Now, I have an answer, if Wikipedia is to be trusted, that is. The Curse of Bobby Layne:
Detroit enjoyed its greatest success in the 1950s. Led by quarterback Bobby Layne, and wide receiver [Jim Doran] they won the league championship in 1952, 1953, and 1957. They defeated the Cleveland Browns in each of those NFL Championship Games, but also lost to the Browns in the 1954 Championship Game.

In 1958, after leading the Lions to 3 NFL Championships and providing Detroit nearly a decade of Hall of Fame play, the Lions traded Bobby Layne. Bobby was injured during the last championship season and the Lions thought he was through and wanted to get what they could for him. According to legend, as he was leaving for Pittsburgh, Bobby said that Detroit "would not win for 50 years". Since this time, the Lions have not won another championship and have only a single playoff game win. Some have attributed the Lion's subsequent 49 years of futility to the "Curse of Bobby Layne.

Notably, the Lions succeeded in one of the greatest comeback victories in NFL post-season history. Trailing the San Francisco 49ers 27-7 in the 3rd quarter of the 1957 Western Conference Playoff game, Lions quarterback Tobin Rote rallied the team back with 24 unanswered points to beat the 49ers 31-27 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. The Lions have experienced only one post-season win since.

Appropriately, it seems Detroit has been cursed at the quarterback position. Detroit has an obsession with drafting talented wide receivers with no one to throw to them on a consistent basis. They've tried the likes of Scott Mitchell (I knew it was bad when Sports Illustrated felt the need to commend him for actually throwing spiral passes in training camp), Charlie "I liked to run until I got injured" Batch, Joey "I'm gonna bring back the winning culture" Harrington, John "I like to dress up as my naked coach who went to Wendy's" Kitna, and now a whole slew of has-beens and never-wills in 2008.

But remember, the Curse of Bobby Layne stipulated that Detroit would not win for 50 years. That hex was established in 1958. Perhaps it is fitting that the Lions look like a shoe-in for an 0-16 season in 2008. Their quarterback situation is so epically bad that some people honestly believe Allen Iverson is the best potential quarterback living in Detroit.

It has been 50 years since this Curse was issued. Come 2009, it will officially expire. Granted, there may still be a Barry Sanders Curse in effect, but don't be surprised if we see the Lions near the top of the NFL pile come next season. Remember, you heard it here first. (Too bad Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy aren't due to enter the draft until after next year, but you never know.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Poor kid... *shudder*

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Detroit Lions: The Pursuit of Perfection

My Lions are the last perfect team in 2008 and their schedule favors their chances of making history!

Also, here is a great link to the history of Lions logos and uniforms, like this 1953 World Championship commemorative logo.

Lions Logos through History

People like to play up the fact that the Lions haven't won a Superbowl, but how easily they forget about the 1953 season!

And check out this never used Barry Sanders "Run for the Record" logo from 1999! The second greatest moment in Lions history sadly never came to pass since Barry suddenly retired after Detroit refused to trade him.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Traditional Marriage: The Unexpected Flip-side of the Obama Effect

The beautiful providence of God:

The real reason "Why Gay Marriage Was Defeated in California"

From Yahoo! News
Nov. 4 may have been a joyous day for liberals, but it wasn't a great day for lesbians and gays. Three big states - Arizona, California and Florida - voted to change their constitutions to define marriage as a heterosexuals-only institution. The losses cut deep on the gay side. Arizona had rejected just such a constitutional amendment only two years ago. It had been the first and only state to have rebuffed a constitutional ban on marriage equality. In Florida, where the law requires constitutional amendments to win by 60%, a marriage amendment passed with disturbing ease, 62.1% to 37.9%. . . .

Gays came back in some polls, but they couldn't pull out a win. Part of the reason is that Obama inspired unprecedented numbers of African Americans to vote. Polls show that black voters are more likely to attend church than whites and less likely to be comfortable with equality for gay people. According to CNN, African Americans voted against marriage equality by a wide margin, 69% to 31%. High turnout of African Americans in Florida probably help explain that state's lopsided vote to ban same-sex weddings.

Full Story

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Blast from the Reformation-Ween Day Past!

Union University: Hallowed Reformation-Ween Day 2004

Here's a little taste of a video project Joseph Gould and I put together way back in our waning days of Union University life. Joseph has the full version (but can't find it... DOH!). I went around interviewing people about how much they knew about the Reformation and whether Christians should embrace some of the Halloween traditions. The responses were varied and (for the most part) entertaining.

The microphone was in my tail. Seriously.

And this video also reveals my repressed obsession with the cultural legacy of Desiderius Erasmus.

Special Thanks to the ever-benevolent Kristina Michael and the ever-whimsical Willie George for being good sports for this interview!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Death of Conservativism in America: Andy Griffith Goes Blue

In a pro-choice rally before Planned Parenthood, Barak Obama called for the end of the "culture wars" in America, calling them "just so 90s." Now it seems he may have his way. Last week Colin Powell made headlines in his endorsement of Obama's presidental campaign. It was a hard hit for the McCain camp, but this week's bombshell may effectively signal the death kneel of small town conservativism in America:

Oh, Andy, say it ain't so...
Still, even I have to admit that this is very well made and effective. I love Andy's comment about avoiding the "butterfly ballot." Almost prevents me from crying myself to sleep...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why a Christian should vote against the "cool" candidate

Sorry, Donald Miller:
Full Story

From Denny Alcorn:
But Obama is savvy. He wants to attract young voters, including young evangelical Christians who are sort-of-prolife. He knows to say that he favors reducing or limiting abortions. Which is like limiting rather than criminalizing murder and rape and kidnapping and slavery. A candidate could say “I’m personally opposed to rape,” while he has a 100% voting record favoring the legality of rape. And he could say he favors limiting or reducing the number of rapes. But if he actually supports the legality of the hideous crime of rape, discerning people would see through his rhetoric of rape-reduction.

When I discovered Obama was an all-out defender of legalized child-killing, I was disappointed beyond words. And I knew that in the next election, I was not going to get to be cool.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So Obama and McCain walked into a dinner party...

Barak Obama and John McCain attended the traditional Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Thursday . . . hilarity ensued.

From David Espio, the Associated Press
John McCain and Barack Obama swapped self-deprecating jokes instead of campaign jabs Thursday night, the Republican saying he had replaced his team of senior advisers with "Joe the Plumber" while the Democrat claimed his own "greatest strength would be my humility."

Full Story

Granted, this is a very serious election but I found it refreshing to see the candidates take an opportunity to show some humility and make light of the more trivial aspects of this campaign.

Some gems:
Barak Obama
Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth.

John McCain

What they don't know is that Joe the Plumber recently signed a very lucrative contract with a wealthy couple to handle all the work on all seven of their houses.

Even in this room full of proud Manhattan Democrats, I can't shake the feeling that some people here are pulling for me. I'm delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary.

Obama is ready for any contingency, even the possibility of a sudden and dramatic market rebound. I'm told that at the first sign of a recovery, he will suspend his campaign and fly immediately to Washington to address the crisis.

I don't think I've felt this warm and fuzzy about the election since the JibJab video.
Now that that's out of the way, we now return you to your regularly scheduled political mudslinging and factual distortion.

BONUS: Here is President Bush's introduction of the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings to the White House. Like a lot of people, he mispronounces "Detroit" but overall this is one of his more witty speeches. Very funny.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Nintendo meets the WMU: SBC Convention Retrospective

"Wii Want to Change Lives"

I picked this up at this year's Southern Baptist Convention in Indy. The WMU (Women's Missionary Union) teamed up with Nintendo Wii for a cross promotion. The WMU booth hosted a playable Wii and held a drawing to see who got to take home the prize. Needles to say, I didn't win (I did, however, score an awesome Cooperative Program t-shirt!).

If I might speak critically, I have no clue why the WMU thought this partnership would make sense and advance their cause other than the fact that it guaranteed the WMU booth would be one of the most visited booths on the SBC convention floor in 2008. It was indeed, thanks in part to myself, a non-anonymous Wii junkie always looking for his next opportunity to get another Wii buzz. I can't say I think these sorts of partnerships are in the best interest for Southern Baptist institutions or auxiliaries, but it was a lot of fun.

The only game playable at the booth was the original Wii Sports... except for the boxing competition. When I asked about playing it the representative fellow got a little excited and made it clear boxing would not be allowed. I told him former president Jerry Vines is a fan of boxing but that didn't change his mind. Oh well, I settled for Wii tennis. That doesn't tire me out near as much as the boxing one does. *Phew*

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

USA Yesterday

Here is a scan of that frontpage I mentioned earlier. Sure brings back memories. Look, the DOW was up... big! Seems like so long ago...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The (un)Natural

On September 8, ten years ago, I witnessed what I believed to be the greatest accomplishment in the history of sports. Mark McGwire broke Major League Baseball's single season home-run record. I still have the USA Today newspaper published the following morning. The headline reads: "62: Unbelievable!" (The unbelievability aspect now stings me as sadly ironic.)

1998 was arguably the best single year in sports. It had Jordan's climactic game winner vs. the Utah Jazz in the finals, John Elway winning his fist Super Bowl and then leading his team through the playoffs on the way to a second, Dale Earnhardt's overdue Daytona 500 win and Jeff Gordon's record setting 13-win championship season, the Detroit Red Wings' emotional Stanley Cup victory in honor of former teammate Vladimir Konstantinov (crippled for life in a car accident the previous summer), 125 victories by the late great New York Yankees, the Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf NFL draft debate (ha!), the incredible Lady Vols, and the record setting Minnesota Vikings offense (the second best team never to win a Super Bowl, IMO).

But one single story trumped all of these notable stories at the time. The Great Home Run Chase of '98, staring Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. They were chasing Roger Maris' 37-year-old single season home-run record. They not only broke it, but they did so with such ease that it made us believe that we were witnessing the best hitters that there ever were and there ever would be. When McGwire hit 62, Sosa ran out from the outfield to embrace him. It was a beautiful moment. But when Barry Bonds came along in 2001 and broke McGwire's record, we knew something was amiss. When Sosa, McGwire, and others were summoned to Capital Hill to testify about the problem of steroids in the game, we learned just how deep the scandal went. Our heroes became all too human.

Ten years ago, Big Mac was the King of the World:

But a few years later, he wasn't prepared to talk about the past:

In retrospect, it is evident that Big Mac and Slammin' Sammy were not gods. But they weren't devils either. They were human beings, desperately depraved, and finding ways to justify and rationalize their selfish ambition to be the best hitters the game had ever seen no matter what the cost.

We want our heroes to be like the film version of Roy Hobbs who never let the fans down, when in reality they often end up turning into the Roy Hobbs of the novel (who took the bribe and threw the game) instead. We want to see a supremely gifted player win the big game by playing the right way. We want to see them refusing to have an unfair advantage in the name of integrity and sportsmanship. But all too often, the allure of fame and the almighty dollar corrupts the ideals of purity and fair play. McGwire and Sosa remain two infamous poster boys of that reality.

Knowing what we know now about the state of baseball since at least the 1990s, I can no longer respect what McGwire and Sosa accomplished. I still have fond memories of the thrill of that summer, but I cannot look back with admiration. It was a grand scandal, and we the fans were the true victims, along with every other player who has played the game the right way. In my opinion, justice demands that we wipe clean every statistic from the careers of any player who is proven guilty of steroid use (so I guess McGwire and Sosa might get off the hook under those standards).

This summer gave us a new hero to embrace, Michael Phelps. His 0.01 of a second victory to win his 7th gold medal of the 2008 Olympics is the greatest sporting feat I have ever seen. Phelps is no god either, but I at least hope that he has set his records through nothing but development of his God-given talent and unmatched determination. Perhaps in another ten years, we will know whether or not we can admire him in the way we all wanted admire McGwire and Sosa.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dr. Mohler: "Let's Get Dangerous!"

In honor of Dr. Mohler's 2008 Convocation challenge to the Southern Seminary community that we commit this year to "living dangerously" in our Christian ministry, I offer hardy agreement with this anthem:

(In case you are confused, please fast forward to the 0:23 mark.)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin: Only in America...

There has been much talk about Sarah Palin's qualifications to be a heartbeat away from the United States' Commander and Chief. There is much about Palin that I don't know. But from what I have seen so far, it seems that Palin is the embodiment of the American dream, an ordinary person rising to extraordinary heights. In a year that is especially notable for the first African-American man winning the presidential nomination of the Democratic party, Sarah Palin also reminds us that America is the land of opportunity.

To me, this video is illustrative of that fact:

Forget, for a moment, the fact that she is a woman and mother of 5 running for Vice President. In what other country can a local sportscaster from Alaksa ever hope to be running for the second highest office in the land?

EDIT: Too bad my Pistons lost that night back in 1988. Even at 24, she really knew how to talk smack about those Minnesota Northstars! Maybe that’s why they left town and went to Dallas? And if you were wondering, the Northstars were an NHL team… you know, the National HOCKEY League?

Hat Tip: Yahoo!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Standing on Shoulders of the Dark Knight

Well, I've plugged this post everywhere else on the internet, so I might as well promote it from my own blog:
Here are my thoughts on the Joker phenomenon.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Conventional Thinking

I'll be off at the SBC Convention in Indy this week, so no real posts for a while. :-)

Speaking of which, I called the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary main office today and asked if anybody there had any information on the Seminary's luncheon at the convention. The seminary representative replied, "what convention?" Oy!

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's How You Play the Game

I found this to be a fascinating story. Imagine, you're a player on a softball team in playoff contention, playing a team that's in the same boat as you. You give up a homerun to potentially lose the game, but just when you thought it was over, the baserunner injures her knee running the bases. The ump rules that unless the player comes around to touch home plate, the home run doesn't count. You think, "her teammates will carry her home." But, no, that's against the rules. So that means your team is suddenly in a great position to win and advance.

Now, the only thing that can keep you from victory is if you decide that some things in life are more important than wins and loses.

An amazing act of charity to say the least.

I wonder if the Red Sox would help out a Yankees player in a similar situation?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ben Stein Wants You (to see Expelled)

Does anyone know why the creationists are not in the classroom today? "Anyone? Anyone?"

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to see a special screening of Ben Stein’s new documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. While I must confess that I’m not the kind of person who considers a documentary the best utilization of the cinema experience, you cannot really go wrong with Expelled. It is an informative film that simultaneously serves to educate, entertain, and provoke its audience to critical thinking. The thesis of the movie is that the scientific establishment of American academia has resolved to ridicule and prosecute any of their own members who might be tempted to entertain the notion that our universe is “intelligently designed” rather than the product of random chance or naturalistic evolution. Stein, himself as a long-time advocate of intelligent design, sets off on a world tour to investigate the truth behind the perception that creationism is under fire from “Big Science.” After a pilgrimage stretching from Seattle, Washington to Washington, D. C. to Oxford University, it becomes clear to both Stein and the viewer that “intelligence” is no longer tolerated as an explanation for existence.

The impetus for this documentary was the apparently forced resignation of Richard Sternberg as editor of the Smithsonian associated scientific journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, in 2004 after he published an article citing creationist Stephen C. Meyer and suggesting that intelligent design may be a legitimate explanation for the universe. I’ll let Ben fill you in on all the details when you see the film. Suffice it to say that the scientific establishment has built a wall around our educational institutions and decides what to tell our media. This metaphorical wall has been making it loud and clear that neither creationism nor God will be tolerated in the Academy.

Stein makes a compelling argument for what it means to be a free citizen in a free society. America is a land built on the principle of freedom. Science, especially, should promote the freedom to pursue truth no matter how ridiculous one might look in holding to an unpopular idea. But American ideals have been circumcised by the oppression of high Darwinism, which will not budge an inch from its presupposition that “intelligent” people must not believe in intelligent design.

Leading scholars from both the mainstream scientific establishment and the Intelligent Design movement are interviewed at length, with revealing insights. Many of the secularists interviewed on this film have complained about being misled by the directors concerning the tone of this production, and they may have a legitimate beef on that point. Though villified in this film, these scientists are given a chance to explain the basis of their own agenda. (And, really, Richard Dawkins is the self-proclaimed atheistic nemesis of Judeo-Christendom and proud of it. What's he really got to complain about?) Stein shows that there is no vast “right-wing” conspiracy to corrupt our nation’s youth with bad science. Intelligent design proponents are simply scientists who believe the best explanation for life, the universe, and everything is the handiwork of an omnipotent, benevolent, and wise God. This simple argument is presented with flair and humor that only Ben Stein could execute with a straight face. All jokes aside, Stein reminds us that unbridled naturalism has a dark side upon society, which the world has seen before. What fate will befall America if “Big Science” discrimination has its way? No spoilers here as you’ll have to see it for yourself. But remember that you were warned, because it isn’t a pretty picture. Again, this is one of the aspects opponents of the film point to as villificaiton of Darwinian atheists, but I thought it was presented tastefully.

Allegations of misleading productions ethics aside, the film's thesis is, at least, convincing. If you care about the proper relationship of faith and learning (or if you just believe in freedom to let the truth be known), you owe it to yourself to see this film.
Like another recent documentary, Stein challenges us with "an inconvenient truth."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Brave New World of Blogging...

There is a cruel wind blowing through our generation. Some of us feel it, and if the rest of us don’t, perhaps it is because we lack the perspective to see what is going on. But here is the truth. We have forgotten where we sit in the unfolding of history.

Our generation will stop at nothing in the vain pursuit of self-promotion and self-expression. Our attitude towards the past can be summed up by Calvin’s conviction that, “up till now, all history has been moving toward its culmination… namely, the emergence of myself onto the scene.” (I’m referring to Calvin & Hobbs, mind you, not the Reformer.)

Past generations recognized the importance of building upon the work and experiences of those who have come before us, and they applied this truth to incredible results. Isaac Newton confessed that “if I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” We, however, have forgotten our proper place as humble dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants.
So, why another blog in this culture of egocentric self-indulgence?

The mission of “Standing on Shoulders” is to band together in order to enlighten each other (and all whom the Lord might bring our way) concerning the power of God’s providential oversight of history. Doing so will help us to see our own failures and ignorance in light of a great cloud of witnesses who offer up so great a testimony if we would but hear them. In turn, we believe this great cloud of witnesses has much to offer as we seek to interpret and speak to the culture in which we live today.

Joseph A. Gould
Adam Winters
Adam B. Embry
Jason Adkins
Matthew Crawford

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Recommended Blog

Here's a good idea for redeeming the blogging culture:
Redeeming History

A Ph.D. candidate at Trinity, Mark Rogers is hard at work establishing a history blog.
Here's to Mark, making the blogging world much better, one post at a time!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Amber Mathenia: The Passing No One Told You About

Also see: Tim Ellsworth on Amber Mathenia

In this week that has claimed the lives of one popular celebrity and one distinguished Baptist scholar, the death of one young woman has gone unnoticed by most of the world. Ironic, since those are often the sort of people who deserve the most admiration. In this particular passing, that adage is true in spades.

Amber Mathenia, a 2001 graduate of Union University, was neither a pop-culture star nor an acclaimed seminary professor. Yet, in her 28 years on this earth she accomplished more for God than most people will achieve in a lifetime. She and her husband, Anthony, had been serving as full-times missionaries to Ethiopia for the last few years. The life of a missionary, of course, is always filled with danger and uncertainty. Yet, Amber was not called home to glory as a martyr. She finished her earthly pilgrimage when she and her two children were involved in a car crash while visiting family and friends in west Tennessee. The children were unharmed.

Amber was a woman whose life was characterized by a joyful submission to the will of God in all circumstances. She followed the will of God when she married a godly husband. She followed the will of God in standing by his side while serving the cause of Christ in Ethiopia. And she followed the will of God in the adoption of two Ethiopian children: Ellie, 4, and Isaac, 6 months.

As the world mourns the loss of an actor whose movies will surely preserve his legacy, and Baptists mourn the loss of a great statesmen whose publications will surely preserve his legacy, I ask that we all pause and mourn the loss of a godly woman whose legacy will surely live on in the hearts of those whom she blessed in life. Let us pray for her family, her father does not yet know the Lord. Let us pray for her children, Ellie and Isaac, now without their mother. Let us pray for Anthony, now left to persevere in the service of God as a single father and missionary. And let us pray that God might grant us the grace to conform our lives to the gospel with the same joyfulness as Amber Mathenia. In this way, we may honor her legacy in a way she would have wanted.

To live is Christ. To die is gain.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that monetary donations be sent to Christ Community Church in New Albany, Miss., where the Mathenias receive their support. Gift cards from Target, Wal-Mart or Babies R’ Us are also needed to provide for their children. The church’s address is P.O. Box 795, New Albany, Miss., 38652.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What Shall We Call Our Women?: An Observation from T.T. Eaton

In a widescale attempt to provide lesser known blogs with good publicity, the honorable Owen Strachan has linked my blog with the notatable description: "history." I have to admit that while historical reflection was the reason I started this blog, my recent posts haven't exactly lived up to that vision. That said, it's time I started getting back to the basics. So without further a-doo-do...

I was digging through Boyce Centenntial Library's T. T. Eaton Papers today when a particular essay caught my eye. This Eaton essay was entitled: "What Shall We Call Our Women?" Eaton was a unique man of Baptist history, described by Russell Moore as "a man of the church who stood athwart history, yelling, 'STOP,' with a Bible in his hands." I also heard it said that Eaton represented simultaneously both what was right and what was wrong with 19th century Southern Baptists. If that is the case, then surely this essay represents all that is right and good! This man had an uncanny talent for observation and unintentional wit as evidenced to this very asute point that would have otherwise escaped my attention.

Eaton lamented the fact that Americans had no good formal title with which to refer to the bone of Adam's bone and the flesh of Adam's flesh (aka: the woman). Most cultures divide women into two classes: married and unmarried. In English, the married woman is known as a "Mizzez" (note the hard pronunciation), while the unmarried woman is referred to as a "Miss."

First, Eaton took issue with the appropriateness of "Miss" when referring to a single woman. Webster's Dictionary, of course, defines "miss" with such undesirable connotations as "a failure to hit the desired mark." Clearly, as Eaton suggested, this is not the sort of implication we should convey to our young, single women! As if to add insult to injury, the "miss" stem is often used as the base of many unpleasant compound words such as "mistreat" or "misunderstand."

Eaton, upset that even "Mizzez" sounded too gruff and unpleasant an honorific for the glory of man, conceded that other cultures have bested the English language in their formal references to the fairer sex. German uses the dignified distinctions of "Frau" and "Fräulein." French makes use of the magnificent terms, "Madame" and "Mademoiselle." Spanish uses the sweet sounding "Señora" and "Señorita." But English, that great universal language, can only muster up the unpleasant "Mizzez" and potentially embarrassing "Miss." America, according to Eaton, possessed a superior sort of women to any of these forementioned cultures, yet it rewarded them with the least attractive honorifics.
What then shall we call our women? I don't really know what Eaton would have recommended, as I did not have time to finish the essay and couldn't run off a copy since it was a manuscript from the library's special collections. But I suppose we are all captives to our culture at some point.

With great indebtedness to our late Brother Eaton,
I am,
On the Shoulders of Giants