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No, You Can’t . . .

17 Aug

Psalm 101:5, 6: “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.”

While I am not a king, like David who penned the above, and therefore I don’t have anyone “serving me,” I can resonate with this passage.

Anonymous denunciations and private slander are wicked. Any Bible believers need to be convinced of that?

Exactly one week ago yesterday I sat in my son’s academic advisor’s office at his special needs college and talked to the two of them about what they term “self advocacy.” Joey will be given more and more opportunities to self advocate this year.

While the college, like everyone everywhere else, does not tolerate bullying, the people there also realize that bullies operate in the darkness, in anonymity, and in one-on-one situations where it is just your word against theirs. Therefore, we all need to learn self advocacy skills. How to say “You need to stop that now.”

I have learned a host of life lessons from this special needs college. They have been faithfully working with the special needs population for almost 60 years. They have quite a few things to teach all of us about interpersonal relationships. We are all the same, at heart, whether special needs exist or not.

Thus it was that over the last 48 hours I told a cyberbully to stop it . . . and got the expected response that bullies usually make. More threats.

This man pastors in another state and had intruded on the affairs of our local independent church by writing a private note to another member telling him to “mark and avoid Mary” due to an accusation that I “teach men and usurp authority over them.”

False accusation and, even if it were true, it would be up to the pastor of our local church and the dean of our local church’s seminary to sort that out. Not a pastor three states away who has never laid eyes on me.

Talk about presumptuous!

Hopefully we can let this die down now. A bunch of threats were made but none that we think he can make stick.

It was telling that he was livid with my friend for telling me the contents of the private note. There is a simple rule for that: If you tell me something private about yourself, I will keep your confidence. If you make a private accusation against another, I don’t owe you confidence.

Private, written accusations used to be called poison pen letters. They have been a bane of our existence in Baptist churches (and probably in all other churches, too) for at least 100 years.

If you get a poison pen letter, expose it. Tell someone. Preferably your pastor.

Don’t let bullies operate in secrecy and impunity.

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Ten Questions to Ask Before Hitting “Post” on Our Blogs . . .

13 Jun

Ten Questions to Ask Before Hitting “Post” on Our Blogs . . .

Finally someone has written a list of common sense questions for bloggers to ask ourselves before we post. Appreciate this.

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Instagram and Being Part of the In Crowd!

24 Apr

Instagram and Being Part of the In Crowd!

Using Instagram as a symbol for the deep human need to be included.

I so identify with the author’s description of the end of his senior year in high school.  I had lots of friends but was never in a clique.  I did much better at one-on-one relationships, and I still do.

When it came to walking down the aisle at graduation, it turned out even my three best friends had someone who was more of a best friend to them than I was . . .

I was class valedictorian and I walked with a virtual stranger, another person left out after everyone paired up.

See how much we desire to be included?  I can remember that time vividly, almost 40 years later.

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One Example of People Flooding the Twittersphere with Inaccurate Comments

27 Feb

One Example of People Flooding the Twittersphere with Inaccurate Comments

Like a giant game of Telephone from our childhood, things sometimes go around the Internet so far and for so long that their meaning is totally twisted.

I called out a liberal this morning for commenting on piece from a “newsmagazine” like the Onion (made-up satirical stories) that “that story could have been true, given the outrageous attitudes of some conservatives right now.” Nobody wants to be a caricature, and I told him so.

Let’s not play into that, folks. If you don’t have time to read a piece with attention, fine. Just don’t comment on it or forward it. If you do, you might be making a false conclusion and bearing false witness with your forward. Ya know?

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Taking Personality Tests Online . . .

21 Feb

Taking Personality Tests Online . . .

I haven’t taken a personality inventory since I took the Myers-Briggs test on an Episcopal vestry retreat over fifteen years ago, but I do understand the pull of these online tools. They validate us in some important ways, or we think they do . . .

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Worst Example of Journalism I have seen since High School!

16 Feb

Worst Example of Journalism I have seen since High School!

This article is an example of purple prose. It is an example of a tempest in a teapot. And, for those who dislike such phrases from bygone eras, it is also an example of rampant racism (or some other type of “respect of persons” as forbidden by the Bible).

Let’s list the reasons why:
1) The “crisis” seems to have started right before Jason Cosby, the Virginia Beach Director of Public Works, was sent to Afghanistan on a mandatory military deployment. I would suspect someone at the city didn’t want to hold his job until he came back (as required by the law called USERRA). So they started a trumped up process to fire him . . .
2) The “infractions” are so vague and minor (if this news article can be believed) that they would probably apply to hundreds of other employees of Virginia Beach. There is no evidence that any other employee has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb like this. It is as though Mr. Cosby were suddenly looked at under a microscope to pick apart any mistakes made during his twenty years with the city. I regard that as racism (or at least as undue scrutiny of just one person) until I see evidence that everyone else has been subjected to the same level of inquiry. Who else was followed around at Virginia Beach rec centers to see whether they actually worked out when they swiped in, for example?
3) The article does not specify, in most cases, what was done when these infractions came to light. They could have been innocent mistakes that were later made right. For example, I once grabbed my business American Express card to pay for some Christmas presents I bought while on travel. I was shopping with a friend and not paying attention. That card was the one on top in my wallet. Since I had to pay the card off anyway, after my return, it was a “no harm, no foul” situation which I brought to the attention of my supervisor. I believe many people accidentally use official credit cards to pay for things at some point in a twenty year career. It is what they do when they find that out that matters!
4) Mr. Cosby is not currently profiting from receiving city pay (only benefits like medical, which the military also offers in most cases). The first year, the city paid him the differential between his city salary and his lower Army salary, as required by law. This is, again, a common factor for all people who work a full-time job while maintaining a reserve career in the military. If people don’t like the way that works, they need to lobby to change the system, not persecute one person who is doing it as though he were doing something wrong. In this case there not only is no fire, there is no smoke!
5) The article smears a decorated veteran with a 20-year city career that was, until now, regarded as exemplary. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech, two of them advanced degrees. His case is making its way through the city system, with lawyers on both sides working it. Why put this case in the paper to be tried in the court of (ignorant) public opinion by many people who don’t understand the USERRA law and how it is used to get quality military personnel to serve in places like Afghanistan?
6) At best, releasing the requested freedom of information files in the paper today is meant to sell papers. At worst, it is meant to produce an online lynching of someone who is, due to the ongoing process, not allowed to talk to the press and defend himself. Ya know?

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How to Set your Son up to be a Porn Addict . . .

14 Feb

How to Set your Son up to be a Porn Addict . . .

Shortened version of an earlier post, showing us by dramatic negative example how to porn-proof our homes and our families, especially our sons.

In an era when most seminaries don’t ask their students whether they have viewed porn, but rather how often they have viewed it, we must remember that this can easily become an addiction.

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When our Kids have to Drag us Away from our Technology . . .

10 Feb

When our Kids have to Drag us Away from our Technology . . .

This is too good. I sometimes resemble that remark!

We have had a few key conversations lately about such important topics as responsible use of electronics in church. Truly we can put a harness on this beast and ride it or . . . it can ride us.

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The Restaurant Manager Approaches the Family at Table 9 . . .

6 Feb

The Restaurant Manager Approaches the Family at Table 9 . . .

Awesome story of humans having compassion for each other . . .

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The Hipsters, who Distance from the Fundies, Review Ken Ham through their Lens of Christianity

5 Feb

The Hipsters, who Distance from the Fundies, Review Ken Ham through their Lens of Christianity

Disclaimer: not all young Christians are hipsters and not all hipster Christians spend their time acting like they would like to hide the fundamentalist folks in Christianity in a broom closet, along with their hardworking old grandmother who makes them feel ashamed in front of their friends by her terminal lack of coolness.

But there are enough young hipsters like that in Christianity to be ironic.

Ironic because they denounce fundamentalists for hating them and trying to make them go away.

They denounce us while using these same tactics against us.

Enough already. Mom here! I don’t care who started it. Let’s just stop it. We are all part of the same Christian camp.

The above post doesn’t address many things theologically.

If you want to be a hipster Christian and defend marriage as being other than Christ defined it (one man, one woman, for life), then show me where the moral authority comes from to do that.

If you want to believe in theistic evolution, explain to me theologically how death came along before Adam and Eve fell.

If you want to reconcile a world that is millions of years old with a Saviour who was born of a virgin, explain to me how a God who wasn’t capable of creating an old universe in the Old Testament (with starlight already in progress, since stars that we can see are millions of light years from earth) suddenly became capable of creating a virgin birth in the New Testament.

There are lots of things that need to be addressed theologically by the above post. They were not even attempted. The writer merely did some terminally cool posturing. I throw a flag on his play.

And just sneering at fundamentalists does not count as a logical argument. In fact, that is called an ad hominem argument, for anyone who is truly looking to learn the fair rules of debate.

Just sayin’

All 32 NFL Teams Reimagined As Famous Authors

31 Jan

This is awesome. All of the NFL teams given a great writer comparison!

101 Books

This is probably the worst idea I’ve ever had for a blog post. So you’ll probably want to stop reading now.

Yet onward I go, wasting an hour of my life reimagining NFL teams as famous authors.

Why? I have no idea, other than, well, the Super Bowl is on Sunday.

I fashion myself a renaissance man. Not really, but I can carry on a conversation about both the Dallas Cowboys and Cormac McCarthy without missing a beat. If you’re the same, maybe you’ll dig this post.

So without further delay, here are all 32 NFL teams reimagined as famous authors.

View original post 1,302 more words

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The Dark Underbelly of the Super Bowl

30 Jan

The Dark Underbelly of the Super Bowl

Enjoy your parties this weekend, guys and gals, but don’t be naive.  There is still a lost world out there that needs Jesus.  

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Could We Present the Gospel to Pajama Boy?

23 Jan

Could We Present the Gospel to Pajama Boy?

Are there people for whose souls we simply don’t care?

Lost people whom we would gladly see in hell because we hate their attitude?

Do we realize Jesus never felt that way about anyone? Even us with our hateful, spiteful attitudes sometimes?

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Eleven Reasons for the Soaring Distrust of Pastors!

21 Jan

Eleven Reasons for the Soaring Distrust of Pastors!

My poor pastor–having to maintain his godly ministry in the midst of these image-destroying stereotypes!

I totally identify with the one about an entitlement mentality having entered the church, too. I find most negative statements about my pastor (and other pastors) have much to do with people who expect the pastor to either be their best friend or at least to be there 24/7 at their beck and call. They get disillusioned when they don’t get all of his attention, all of the time.

Like it’s a competition or something. Many people seem to have never considered the idea that serving in the church is good for us, not just a way to get the pastor’s attention. Sheesh!

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Five Steps to Fight Porn by Living in God’s Design for Us!

15 Jan

Five Steps to Fight Porn by Living in God’s Design for Us!

Mainly written for men, but too good not to share. God has a design for the human race and when we think we can live outside of it, we get out of balance.

Trying to make life exciting and fulfilling via porn is like walking past a feast that God has given us to go eat mudpies. Really!

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