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I’m an Idiot
October 31st, 2005 under Friends, Katrina, Walking Like Jesus, Xavier. [ Comments: 7 ]

I was visiting with my minister this morning and complaining about the latest news about my job and situation. He asked what the church could do for me. I said that the only thing that is tough for me to deal with right now is the loneliness of being away from friends and family. I complained about the fact that no one has called me in Nashville to check on me other than Shirley. In fact, I wrote a blog entry about it and after reading it, it seemed too pathetic so I deleted it.

Anyway, during his sermon, he talked about the difference between what we know we should do and what we actually do. I could have thought about the folks that let me down and continued to feel sorry about myself. However, I’ve always had the belief that the sermon is addressed to me and not to the folks sitting next to me. All of a sudden I felt a sense of great joy. Now, when I head back to Nashville on Tuesday, I’m going to take three church directories with me. The one where I currently attend and the two where I have previously served. Instead of waiting for someone to call me, I’m going to call those who may need me to pray for them! Thanks Hugh for a great sermon!

What I Love About Shirley
October 25th, 2005 under Shirley, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 6 ]

I’ve purposely titled this post “What I Love about Shirley” rather than “Why I Love Shirley” because I believe the latter tends toward the commodification of her rather than celebrating her. By this I mean that in our culture, we tend to “value” persons based on their qualities (usually poorly chosen ones) rather than the fact that they are children of God. If I were to view Shirley in this way, I might “fall in love” with someone that might be more valuable or useful (although that would be impossible) to me. At this time, that person would need to find fat bald guys sexually appealling and be independantly wealthy.

So, the reason(s) why I love Shirley are legion and not subject to change. Now on to the list (that is certainly not exhaustive) of things I love about Shirley:

Her strength is incredible. This strength of resolve encompasses every aspect of her being. She has a strength of will that is unbreakable. Her commitment to being the best employee, best Mom, best wife, best bell-ringer, etc is unmatched. She tirelessly works at taking care of the kids and attending to their needs. She understands what they need and is tough when she needs to be and soft when they need an advocate.

Her faith is genuine and inspiring. She’s never had the kind of syruppy sweet faith that can be summed up in trite catch-phrases. It’s always been gritty, real and assuring. She genuinely sees all persons as having worth and value and often rightly rebukes my impatience with Fundamentalists. She’s not one to judge, but she has strong convictions. This terrible ordeal of Katrina continues to provide us with many uncertainties. However, her calm assurance that God will work things out steadies my worries.

Her commitment to know and do the right thing is also inspiring. She always does her best do what is needed no matter how taxing or inconvenient it is. She doesn’t cut corners in anything that she feels that she needs to do. She’s fair and compassionate for those who need mercy.

She’s sexy, and fun, and wild, and well…you wouldn’t believe me if I told you!

New Orleans Bumper Sticker
October 24th, 2005 under Humor, Katrina. [ Comments: none ]

Above is a Bumper sticker seen in New Orleans.

Link Dump
October 21st, 2005 under Christianity, Katrina, Link Dump, New Orleans, Politics, poor. [ Comments: 5 ]

Joon Powell puts faces to the largest cut to health care in the history of the United States. Pretty complelling stuff.

Shayno’s daughter wanted to dress up as a witch for Halloween. He introduces her to our friend Fairmoon so she can meet a real witch.

Over at The Social Gospel Today there is a great post on The Federal Budget As a Moral Document.

A leading Catholic magazine condemns boxing.

Archbishop Ncube says 200,000 may die of hunger in Zimbabwe in the next few months.

Still finding body parts in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Man demands more jail time so that he can honor Larry Bird!

Is Al Mohler for Separation of Church and State or Just Anti-Catholic?
October 20th, 2005 under Baptists, Church and State, Politics. [ Comments: 9 ]

I recently read a post on Al Mohler’s weblog that I found very encouraging. He was criticizing the fact (reported by the Washington Post)that the federal government plans to help rebuild parochial schools and catholic nursing homes in New Orleans. Baptists historically and in America have historically fought for the separation of church and state and I was proud to see Mohler say the following:

Government money means government entanglement.

He also quoted the Baptist Faith and Message’s statement:

The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work.

Hot Damn! I love it when Mohler agrees with me!

But then my skepticism kicked in. I wonder…what about…school vouchers? Doesn’t that involve government money? In an article in December of 2003, he stated:

Evangelical Christians should recognize the importance of this case[Davey vs State of Washington]. If the State of Washington is successful in its appeal, and if the Supreme Court rules broadly in Washington’s favor, we may enter a new era of state-enforced secularism that will make past controversies look pale by comparison. This could mean not only the end of school voucher programs, but a season of hostility toward religion itself.

What about Faith-Based Initiative Funding? Yep he’s for that too!

I knew it was too good to be true! Mohler doesn’t really mind government money! He just doesn’t want it going to Catholics!

Speaking of Catholics and separation of church and state. Read this compelling article about a teacher in a Catholic school that was fired for refusing to have an American Flag in his classroom.

Tom, Ann, and Me
October 19th, 2005 under Friends, Humor, poor, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 1 ]

I was sitting at the bus stop last night waiting to return to my abode when I was approached by a friendly painter. I knew he was a painter because he had on all white. He started talking before he got to the bench and never stopped. He reminded me of my brother who is 5 yrs older than me. We shook hands and soon found that we had Louisiana ties. He was raised in Louisiana. His grandfather was a “dirt farmer” down on the bayou. His grandfather’s home had been destroyed by Rita. Ann soon joined us, she smiled when Tom said, “I’m Tom. Man you smell good!”

We talked about being poor (they assumed I’m poor because I was at the bus stop) and how God always takes care of us. Ann is very religious, but in a gentle caring sort of way. She talked about how our lives are supposed to be all about helping and caring for others. Tom’s cheerful demeanor weakened a bit. He said, “I can’t help nobody. I don’t have anything. I’m not complaining, but I’ve never had anything. When I eat at the shelters my friends complain about the food and I tell them that they need to be happy that God has provided for them. I like the food there, but I can’t help nobody.”

Ann confidently declared, “Yes you do. Think about it.” After a couple of seconds of silence, Tom smiled and said, “There’s an old fellow at the assisted care facility where I work that I give three cigarettes to every morning. He don’t have nobody to get him cigarettes.”

“That’s your blessing! That’s how you share God’s blessings. Spreading your blessings. Yeah, I knew you did” said Ann. I tried not to ponder the theological implications of describing handing out cigarettes as “sharing your blessings.” Later, Tom and I shared a smile as someone on the bus “borrowed” a cigarette from him.

Tom asked about the source of some spotlights and I told him it was the theatre. He said, “I’m going to the movies tomorrow!” “You know, I haven’t seen a movie in 25, no 30 years!” I couldn’t help but play along with him like I had done with my brother so many times.

“You’re kidding me Tom. You haven’t seen a movie in 30 years?”
“No, man I haven’t seen a movie in a theater since I was a kid.”
“No way. You didn’t see Jaws in the theater?”
“No. I don’t remember the last time I saw a movie.”
“Come on. You never took a date to see a movie?
“No. I come from a really small town.”
“You didn’t see Herbie and the Disney stuff at the movies?”
“You didn’t see the Exorcist or Stripes or Star Wars at the theater?”
“No, man. None of those.”
“Never saw a movie.”
“Not in 30 years.”
“Not one.”
“Not one.”
“Let’s go tomorrow. I’ll go with you.”
“OK, man I’ll get up early so that I can get my eight in and we’ll go.”
I can’t wait to see a movie with Tom today. I hope he shows up. This is so out of character for me, but everything I do is so out of character right now that I’m up for anything that will take the boredom away at night.

The experience that I had there with Tom and Ann was somehow the closest to communion that I’ve had in a while. We shared, we laughed, we encouraged each other. We talked about God and life, idiots with their pants halfway down, greens and cornbread, and old people. We talked about how God has taken care of us and how much fun it is to share our blessings.

Great Quotes from a fellow Baptist
October 19th, 2005 under Baptists, Christianity, Quotes. [ Comments: none ]

The following quotes are from a blog I found today. Check it out!

Among the most ignominious characteristics of the modern conservative evangelical church is its tendency to reject or ignore the voices of those who might have much to say and teach but who have nevertheless been typecast as being incompatible with evangelical thought and therefore unimportant or even dangerous to “true Biblical faith.”

The primary pronoun of the Christian experience is “we”, not “I”.

The word “just” (i.e., “just a symbol,” “just bread,” “just wine/juice”) should be stricken from all discourse concerning Holy Communion, for it is reductionist and minimalistic and hence unworthy of the grand and central act of remembrance that Christ has bequeathed His Church.

Great stuff Wyman!

Speaking of Friends
October 19th, 2005 under Friends. [ Comments: 2 ]

One of my best friends sent this to me. How much is 2000?

Ben and Jerry and Angeles and Jerry!
October 19th, 2005 under Friends, Xavier. [ Comments: none ]

Jerry and AngelesMy friends stopped in on their way to New Orleans yesterday. It was a huge deal to me because I haven’t seen a close friend in a while. It cost them several hours of travel time so I was very excited. We walked around the Vandy campus and Scarritt Bennett. They had ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s. It was so great to get a hug and share with friends!

Outsiders Loot New Orleans!
October 18th, 2005 under Humor, Katrina, New Orleans. [ Comments: 1 ]

bourbonIt seems that some of those who came to rescue New Orleans have taken all of the Bourbon Street street signs!

“They were some kind of rescue cops,” the witness said. “I couldn’t ID them; it was the dead of night. But I saw them up there climbing the poles in their Leathermen jackets, taking down the signs. It pissed me off, but I wasn’t going to go up to five heavily armed guards in some federal-looking Jeep in the middle of the night and raise a stink. But, guys — why did you steal our signs? What’s the deal with that?”

Read more in the Chris Rose article.

For the final word on all of this, we turn to Brobson Lutz, the city’s former health director, social gadfly and one of the few reliable post-Katrina French Quarter information brokers.

“If Bourbon Street were open for 24 hours, this never would have happened,” Lutz opined. “See what happens when you have a curfew in the French Quarter? Crime goes up.”

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