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Christian Toilet Paper?
January 31st, 2006 under Christian Crap, Christianity, Politics, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 9 ]

T-Shirts

Is it better to buy “Christian” toilet paper or a Christian t-shirt?


Jason’s Bad Day
January 27th, 2006 under Politics. [ Comments: none ]

I’m packing up and heading home tomorrow. I’m excited and feel like I should leave right now. I cannot wait to see my family. These past few weeks have been very difficult. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and he said that the last two years of my life have been Job-like. Shirley’s cancer, Katrina, losing my job, having two knee surgeries…yep it’s not been too fun.

But today! I called Jason, a guy who graciously let me borrow his bike while I’ve been in Nashville, and told him I was bringing his bike back. As I went outside to get it I pondered whether or not to ask him if I could take his picture and put it on my website. My camera was in the van (I drove it back here this time so I could take all my stuff back) so I passed. I looked around the corner where the bike was locked up and it was gone. I ran to the office at Scarritt Bennett and asked if anyone had seen it. John said that he had seen it just yesterday. I couldn’t believe it. I then had to walk down the block to see Jason. I was so afraid that he would think I was lying to him. He was really shocked and upset. We went inside his place of employment and exchanged addresses. I told him that I would make it right. I still feel really horrible.

I borrowed the bike because I couldn’t find one at a garage sale that was cheap enough. Oh well. Do me a favor folks. I know I have a lot of readers out there. I get over 100 hits a day. Please send a note of appreciation to Jason at my howie [dot] luvzus [at] gmail [dot] com address. I will forward them to him. He’s such a nice guy. He did a very good thing. I’ll still make it right with him, but I want to cheer him up if I can. It was a really nice bike.


Mixed-up Chocolate City Resident Apologizes
January 23rd, 2006 under Baptists, Christianity, Friends, Hypocrisy, New Orleans, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 1 ]

JerkMixed and mixed-up emotions are typical for “Chocolate City” folks. Until Katrina, I thought Ray Nagin was a really good mayor. Now, not so much. But, I understand his craziness. I’m that way too. The mixed and mixed-up emotions I’m experiencing are taking their toll on me as well.

For example: Recently, I’ve been arguing a bit with my friend D.R. After his recent comment and a very harsh phone call from Shirley, I’ve realized that my arguments with him haven’t been too charitable. My friend Joe also sent an email to me chiding me for my bitterness. I’m really really sorry. I never intended to come off as bitter or rude. Angry, yes. Bitter or rude, no. You see, it’s my opinion that since D.R. and I are friends who happen to be very passionate about our beliefs (passionate, but neither of us walk funny) we can disagree without fear of hurting each other’s feelings. I was wrong. Maybe face to face where I can slap him on the back of the head is the better way, because this form of communication doesn’t really lend itself well to sarcasm. Again, to D.R. or anyone I have hurt, I am very sorry.

Hence, the mixed emotions struggle. I really am very proud of D.R. and love him very much. However, I’m not happy with a few of his theological positions. So, I get angry when he’s so wrong (sarcasm alert!) and I want him to see the light and believe like me. Unfortunately, the last part of the previous sentence is true. That makes me look pretty bad doesn’t it? Yep. I know. I don’t believe that I know everything. I really don’t. In fact, where I am is very uncomfortable theologically. After getting a PhD, and spending years trying to get it I’m still very confused. But I have been where D.R. is right now. And I am thankful that I’m no longer where he is theologically. But after giving it much thought and prayer, I realize that God loved me when I was a conservative republican Calvinist. God still loves me, and always will. Therefore, if D.R. stays where he is theologically, God’s OK with that and I must be too. Besides, like I said before, it’s really uncomfortable where I am right now. Sorry, D.R. I’ll try to do better.

Here’s the mixed part—-call me a tree-hugging–communist–liberal if you want to. I won’t mind. Just don’t question my Christianity or commitment to scripture. I really want to call you a right-wing—fundamentalist—doofus. As long as we know we love and respect each other, can’t we do that? I really do believe we can learn from each other. You actually have some insightful comments even when you disagree with me. I appreciate that. I want to change you. You don’t have it all figured out yet. But, I also want to be changed by you. You care a lot more about being civil and nice than I do and that’s what I need to hear. A lot. I also need to hear other things from you. That’s why it’s the body of Christ isn’t it? So we can help each other. I obviously need more help than you do right now (not sarcasm). Help me be better. Help me speak the truth in love. Since I don’t have a handle on the truth, and am finding it hard to love right now I would appreciate your help brother.


Karaoke and Christ
January 22nd, 2006 under Christianity, Friends, Humor, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 3 ]

I was all prepared to see the new Albert Brooks movie last night when my friend T.C. at the Crescent Café convinced me that it would be more entertaining to watch the Karaoke party in the basement of the Crescent. It was a pretty large group of Kurds, so we thought that it would be funny hearing these folks with heavy accents sing. We were dead wrong.

About two hours into the party, a couple came up to the bar and we started talking. The girl, couldn’t understand her name, was complaining that her boyfriend wasn’t romantic enough. He explained that flowers once a year should be enough. I insisted that he needed to sing his beautiful girlfriend a love song. He said no, but I hopped down the stairs and picked one out for him.

Joe Cocker. Anyone can sing a Joe Cocker song, right? You Are So Beautiful was on the list, so I told the DJ that my guy would be next, and this was his song. He agreed and I watched from upstairs as he began. I couldn’t believe it. He had a wonderful voice! He did a great job! I think his girlfriend may have even shed a tear. All of us at the bar gave him a huge round of applause and his girlfriend came upstairs and gave me a hug.

I felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day! It was cool! Guess T.C. was right after all.

I also had a pretty interesting conversation with a young lady too. When she found out that I had been a minister and a theology teacher, she asked if she could ask me a few questions. I always hate when that happens, but she was nice and I said OK.

She began several of her questions with, “You’re going to hate me for this, but…” I stopped her and assured her that as a Christian, I couldn’t hate her for asking questions! She told me about her struggles with Christians and I told her about getting kicked out of a Baptist church. We talked for a long time and I finally looked her in the eye and said, “—–, you’re OK. Trust me.” She protested, but I slammed my hand on the bar and said, “—–, as an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ I can tell you without reservation that God loves you and you’re OK!”

“Wow,” she said. “I feel a lot better. Are you sure?”
“Not a doubt in my mind.”
“Wow. Thanks.”
“No problem.”

It was a good night.


The End of the Spear: Mohler Cracks Me Up!
January 21st, 2006 under Baptists, Humor, Hypocrisy, New Orleans, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 8 ]

Gay-Dar

I read Al Mohler’s blog entry about the film, The End of the Spear today. Mohler is critical of the film because Chad Allen is cast in the lead role of the movie about Christian missionaries (please don’t insert crude joke here). The reason Mohler objects to the film is not that Allen is gay, it’s that he’s too gay. Mohler explains:

Christians loved the film Chariots of Fire, but the lead role of Eric Liddell was played by Ian Charleston, a gay man. Another great performance in that film was given by Sir John Gielgud, a homosexual man who was probably the greatest Shakespearean actor of the last century. Similarly, the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy was played by Sir Ian McKellen, who has also been known as a homosexual activist. Yet, I was not aware of these identifications as I viewed these movies. Thus, the associations never crossed my mind.

EEEW! Thanks Dr. Mohler. I’m like so creaped out now!

So, what of The End of the Spear? Put bluntly, I believe that the makers of this movie made a very reckless decision in casting Chad Allen as Nate and Steve Saint. Given the publicity of Chad Allen’s activism and the intensity of his mission to normalize homosexuality — a mission clearly articulated on his Web site — it is hard, if not impossible, to suspend belief and see him as a missionary martyr for the Gospel. The distance between Nate Saint and Chad Allen is just too great. This mistake is compounded by the fact that this activism is so well known and well documented — it’s what Chad Allen makes central to his own identity.

For you non-Chad Allen fans (a very small number I’m sure), in June of 2006 he plans to make a 585 mile bike ride to help those living with HIV and AIDS.

I’ve included the above Gay-Dar for those who wish to make decisions about the appropriateness of watching TV or films with gay actors.

The green area represents adult viewing only. Notice “vegitarian” is a border-line area. An Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian is fine, but strict Vegans are prohibited.

The purple area represents programs you can watch, but can’t tell anyone that you did. If your gossipy wife can’t keep this quite, avoid these completely. Of course, if she’s a good wife, she will submit to you. If not, both of you need to get saved.

Under no circumstances are you to watch the programs represented by the pink area. Watching these types of programs may lead to the conditions in the green area and you wouldn’t want that!

BTW–Here’s an email that I received from a friend about the movie:

Hello Friends,

Recently, I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview of a motion picture film called End of the Spear. It was incredible! It is the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and their three young missionary friends who were speared to death in the jungles of Ecuador exactly 50 years ago. The amazing story of conversion and forgiveness that resulted from the wife and sister of these young missionaries, continuing to reach out to the tribe is a wonderful witness to the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. The film has been endorsed by hundreds of ministry heads such as James Robison, Joyce Meyer, John Maxwell, John Bevere, Ted Haggard, and Peter Bradley- The President of the International Bible Society.

End of the Spear is releasing in 1200 theatres nationwide on January 20th. The way the film is produced makes it very non-threatening to an unbeliever, so it would be great to bring your non Christian friends to as well. (Lots of action and danger) .

You can visit www.endofthespear.com to view a trailer, and to locate the theatre nearest you under ?Group Sales? on the home page, and if you want to, it would be great to forward this information to your buddy list and ask them to email their buddy list, etc. !! As we spread the word, and box office sales rise, it is one more significant step in using the power of film to shape the culture of our nation and the world in a positive, God-centered direction.

Have an awesome New Year !!!

Too bad my friend is so uninformed!


My Friends
January 20th, 2006 under Friends. [ Comments: none ]

DanI just found out today that my friend Dan Deffenbaugh, an associate professor of religion at Hastings College, was named 2005 Nebraska Professor of the Year! Congrats Dan! Of course I’ve spoken to Dan since he received this honor and he didn’t mention it. He’s so humble, and a very cool guy. Dan plays the guitar, gardens, knows a great deal about art, fly fishes, raises chickens, has a dog named Otis Campbell, and is one of the nicest persons I’ve ever met.

ToddieI have two other friends who are also award winners. I may have others, so if you have won an award, let me know. Rebecca Todd Peters, or “Toddie” to her friends, is not only a “distinguished emerging scholar” at Elon University, but also the recipient of the 2003 Trinity Press Award for her book (see left column of this site) In Search of the Good Life! This book is not only a great resource for scholars, but a must read for everyone. I think “emerging” ought to be removed from Toddie’s title. She’s not only a first class scholar, but during the past few months has really been supportive and helpful to me. Toddie, you are truly a blessing to me and my family! You are an example of grace in action.

HomanMy closest friend is Michael Homan. He gives me such a hard time. I know it’s because deep down, he wants to be me. Hell, who wouldn’t? At the same time, he respects me and is a true friend. I can’t tell you how much he means to me. I’ll get teary-eyed and have to go get a beer. He won the Frank Moore Cross Publication Award in 2003 for his book about tents. I know, it doesn’t sound too fascinating, but Homie is also a world-class scholar. Each year, the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) presents the award to the editor/author of the most substantial volume(s) related to ancient Near Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean epigraphy, text and/or tradition. It’s a real privilege to have worked with him. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t throw a huge party in Michael’s honor when he won the award. It’s a very big deal. I’ll buy you a beer when I get home Mike.


Nashville Guitars
January 19th, 2006 under Politics. [ Comments: 2 ]

Mosaic
I don’t have a lot to do in my spare time in Nashville so I take pictures.

1. Nashville Guitars, 2. Nashville Guitars, 3. Nashville Guitars, 4. Nashville Guitars, 5. Nashville Guitars, 6. Nashville Guitars, 7. Nashville Guitars, 8. Untitled, 9. Nashville Guitar, 10. Untitled, 11. Nashville Guitars, 12. Nashville Guitars


Ray Nagin’s Lost It!
January 18th, 2006 under Christian Crap, Humor, Politics, Rant. [ Comments: 5 ]

This is Chris Rose’s article about Ray Nagin’s “Chocolate Speech”

Does anybody happen to have an Everlasting Gobstopper handy? Mayor Wonka and the Chocolate City
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
by Chris Rose

I wake up in the Chocolate City mad as hell.

It’s like this: I’m supposed to be on vacation this week, cooling my heels, and then our mayor, Willy Wonka, loses his grip in public again and that’s hardly headline news in and of itself, but this time he really lets one go.

I mean, he really gasses the place up, if you know what I mean. Now, how am I supposed to sit this one out?

First thing I do, I follow the mayor’s lead and call Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, it takes a while to get through because he died in 1968 so he still has one of those avocado green rotary dial phones on his kitchen counter and no call-waiting.

As you might imagine, his line was pretty tied up Tuesday morning.

“King!” I holler when I finally reach him. “What in blazes are you thinking? You’re writing speeches for Wonka, and the best you can come up with is ‘Chocolate City’? Meet me at CC’s Coffee House, bruh. Pronto. We gotta talk.”

“I’m tired,” he complains. “I had a big day yesterday.”

“We all had a big day yesterday, King,” I tell him. “Eleven o’clock. Be there.”

Then I call God.

Of course, my call gets answered on the first ring, but it’s some lackey working out of a phone bank in Singapore. We tangle a bit; she’s giving me the runaround about him being busy and can she help me, and I’m wondering: What’s with authority figures these days?

“Just who does he think he is, he can’t take my call?” I say. “What, He’s Dan Packer now? PUT HIM ON!”

I finally get him, and I calm down a bit because he’s got that comforting voice, kind of like Barry White, but I’m still all dandered up and I tell him: “11 o’clock, CC’s. We gotta talk.”

He starts to make excuses, tells me he’s got lunch at Ruth’s Chris with Pat Robertson, but I’m all over him like white on rice.

Unless it’s brown rice, of course.

I suppose it could be brown.

Anyway, I wear him down and he finally admits that he thinks Robertson is a lunatic blow-hard who’s always asking God to take out some foreign leader or burn down a place like Oklahoma because there are sodomites reportedly living there, so he says to me: “All right. Chill, amigo. I’ll be there.”

So me, King and God all meet up and I’m ready to tear into these guys about the advice they’re giving Mayor Wonka, who’s gone all Shirley MacLaine on us and has had almost five months to compose himself since his multiple-meltdown and the best thing he could come up with was this?

We’re standing in line to order, and I let loose: “All right, you knuckleheads, which one of you wrote the ‘Chocolate City’ thing?”

They are aghast at my strong language, “knucklehead” being the harshest term our mayor can come up with to describe the dirtbag, scumbag, dope fiend gangbangers who have run roughshod over this town for the past decade making us the Killing Fields of America.

Knuckleheads. Yeah, that’s great, like they’re the Three Stooges now. “Hey, I’m gonna cap yo ass with my 9. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.”

Anyway, King waves me off. “Can we order before we get into this?” he says.

The barista, one of those bright and perky UPTOWN people — and I think you know what kind I mean — says “Hey, guys, what can I getcha?” and sure, she acts all Ladies’ Auxiliary toward us but we all know — me, King and God — that all this white girl really wants is to grab up as much property as possible in the Lower 9th and build a couples resort and day spa.

Me, King and God — we’re not stupid.

King orders first. “Coffee,” he says. “Black.”

Well, do I need to tell you: The whole shop is paralyzed into the most uncomfortable silence you ever heard.

“Jesus!” I mutter under my breath, and God pokes me in the eye. “Watch it, knucklehead,” he says.

The barista, she goes, “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk,” and I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed; I should have just stuck to my original plan to meet Kafka for racquetball at noon.

Coffee. Black. This King guy, he just doesn’t get it. Then it turns out he’s just joshing around. Suddenly he breaks the uncomfortable silence and screams: “I’LL HAVE A CREAM!”

And he starts wagging his finger all around like he’s back at the Lincoln Memorial, and he starts yelling: “And my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their coffee, but by the content of their character.”

God, he cracks up at this. He starts nudging his elbow into my side and he’s practically got tears in his eyes.

“What are you, Chris Rock?” he says. “That’s hilarious, King. You are one loco dude!”

They do that knuckle-knock thing, and God orders. Café au lait — who would have guessed?

So we sit and I ask them: “Guys, what’s the deal? Wonka says he consulted with both of you before that blasted speech yesterday. Tell me you’re not behind this Chocolate City thing. It’s tearing us apart!”

King falls silent; he’s eyeballing all the Uptowners like they’re going to steal his hubcaps.

God pipes up: “Listen, hombre. Me and King, we had nothing to do with that speech. We told Wonka to go with a unity theme, black and white together as one. We did have this thing about Oreos in it, but we scratched that long before the final draft.

“Your boy, Wonka, that was all off the cuff, man. Extemporizing, you dig? He was off the script on that one. Completely off the reservation.”

This gets King’s attention. There’s another uncomfortable pause as the whole place goes mute again.

“Sorry, cats,” God says. “Poor choice of words. My bad. But listen: You people have got your race thing so screwed up down here that even I’m having trouble concentrating. You’ve got to get your house in order, folks. Your boy Wonka is walking around tossing matches on kindling. If you don’t watch out, the whole place is gonna blow.

“And that will put us all out of work,” he says, and he pushes his chair back and stands up.

“Gotta vamoose, bruh!” He says. “Been real, but there’s mucho work to be done in the Chocolate City. Hasta la vista.”

Silence again.

“All right, I’ll take the bait,” I tell him. “What’s with all the gringo lingo?”

He looks at me like I’m crazy. He reaches into his wallet, grabs a card and hands me one before he rolls out the door.

The card, it says: “God & Sons Roofing. Reasonable Rates. Fully Insured. Habla Español.”

I look at King. I stutter, “Did you know. . .?” But he’s just shaking his head at me.

“Go figure,” he says. “But it makes sense, when you think about it. His son’s name is Jesus. The stepfather was a carpenter. All of them living in a Kenner hotel without electricity and running water like it’s no big deal. It just goes to show, you never can tell. I guess you really need to be careful about what kind of assumptions you make about people.”

We both take a sip and pause for a moment, and he adds: “And God, for that matter.”

I nod at him over my tall glass of milk. “Now you’re talking, King,” I tell him. “Now you’re talking.”

. . . . . . .

Columnist Chris Rose can be reached at chris.rose@timespicayune.com; or at (504) 352-2535 or (504) 826-3309.


My History with Southern Baptists
January 18th, 2006 under Baptists, Christian Crap, Christianity, Politics, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: 22 ]

My friend Joe suggested that I provide everyone with the background of my struggles with Southern Baptists. I must first begin by stating that my faith in Christ is due to having been “raised” in Baptist churches. Thus, I have many wonderful Baptist friends that I thank God for every day. In fact, the last time I went to a convention, it was very emotional and exciting for me because of all the old friends I saw. So, I am deeply indebted to Southern Baptists. To quote one of my professors, “Most of my friends and all of my enemies are Southern Baptists.”

The struggle began when I was only six years old. I had been a “cradle roll” baby and had never known a Sunday that I hadn’t had vanilla wafers and cool-aid during Sunday School. The snow cones at VBS were great too! Unfortunately, my father quit his job at the munitions plant (making bombs and guns to send to Viet Nam) and took a job at Schlitz Brewery in Longview Texas. When the pastor and deacons came by to “confront” him about it, my dad sincerely asked a couple of questions. One was, “You mean to tell me that last week I was making stuff to send over seas and kill people and you were OK with that, but now that I’m making beer I’m unacceptable to you?” My dad had been raised by nuns so he hadn’t read all those Biblical passages that prohibit making beer. The second question was, “Didn’t Jesus himself make wine?”

Neither side was convinced by the other, so my family was officially “churched” as it was called back then. Sure, we could attend the church and should continue to pay our tithe, but we were no longer members of the church.

My dad quit going to church, but my mom continued to take us. When my older brother was “old enough” he quit going to church. He didn’t want to be a part of anything that said his dad was unworthy. Needless to say, the Baptist churches we did attend were the most moderate we could find. One pastor even asked my dad to take him and his brother on a tour of the Schlitz plant. It was fun because when we went to the brew house, the preacher’s wife asked how much of each ingredient was put in the brew kettle because she wanted to try this at home!

Although my experience in Baptist churches was mostly positive, there were those in every church that looked down on us because of my father’s vocation.

The next big problems came at seminary. I taught there during my doctoral work and though I know I made a positive impact on many of the students, there was always two or three, or an entire back row who challenged me in every class. I really don’t mind being challenged, the real problem is that some students began to question my commitment to Scripture, to the Christian tradition, and my faith itself. I constantly had former students who knew and loved me that would approach me in the student center and tell me that they had heard the following about me: I denied the trinity, I didn’t believe persons are sinners, I didn’t believe the Bible was inspired. There were many more, but these bothered me the most.

When the new BF & M came around, I talked openly with several others teaching at the institution who were Calvinists. I asked them about the statement on original sin. They disagreed with it, but signed it anyway. I had other problems with the document so I couldn’t sign it. Now, I’m the heretic! They’re just liars, but they have jobs! God Bless em’! Many other events happened there, but I don’t wish to hurt anyone that I love. Several of the profs that retired or asked to leave were my friends. They loved the Bible as much as any one I know. I heard all sorts of things said about them behind their backs. I worked at the seminary motel and would constantly have to “straighten out” some of the slanderous things the “extension students” would say about the profs. It was sickening.

I’ve gotten over the bitterness. It took a long time. Longer than it should have. But, I won’t stop speaking out against those things that my Baptist brothers and sisters do that are harmful to others and to the body of Christ. With Joe’s help and the help of others, I’ll try to do it in love.


Tough Day
January 18th, 2006 under Xavier. [ Comments: 1 ]

Today was a very difficult day for me. Xavier started classes today. I read my friend Michael’s blog and felt really low. He posted a picture of his students and some of them had been in my class at the beginning of the year.

It’s cold and snowing like crazy. Guess I’ll just head back to bed.


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