Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Resignation That Rocked College Football

Tressel The resignation yesterday of head coach Jim Tressel at Ohio State was “the sports news” of Memorial Day. Rarely do I watch 35-40 minutes of video clips on a sports news story but this story so captivated my interest that I spent a good deal of time last night trying to absorb it. I am truly saddened by the actions of Jim Tressel and pray for him and those who love him.

I wrote about the problems Jim Tressel faced just a few weeks ago. I suggested then that he should resign. I can only guess that it took time to work out the details of his contract for this to finally happen. I have no idea why the announcement came on a holiday. Cynics have made several suggestions.

This is what we know. Coach Tressel made a decision to cover up the actions of five players, perhaps because he cared about the players deeply. He further chose to withhold information from the NCAA and his superiors at Ohio

By |May 31st, 2011|Categories: College Football|

Did America Lose Focus in the War on Terror?

osama-bin-laden-seated On this Memorial Day, 2011, I am thanking God for those who gave their life for the freedom that you and I enjoy. I am also thinking about the debate over America’s policy on terrorism now that Osama bin Laden is gone. How should we have prosecuted the war on terror? How do we go forward in the coming years? Is the terminology of a “War on Terror” even the correct way to understand what our response should have been post-9-11? Everyone has a view. I admit that mine is based on political, moral and practical opinion. And it is mine and very subject to how I see things.

First, I believe we were right to go into Afghanistan, and after the Taliban, for harboring al Qaeda terrorists who directed and staged 9-11. Our focus was clear, strong and right. The world, in general, agreed with us. We quickly pursued the leaders of the attack and removed many of them. We narrowly missed bin Laden but finally succeeded

The Scripture Must Always Have a Context

PeterMarshall_LG A reader forwarded a video to me that was meant to celebrate the life of the late Peter Marshall, Jr. and his idea of Christian America. Marshall died on September 9, 2010. Marshall, as some readers will know, was the less-famous son of the pastor Peter Marshall. The son became involved in teaching the idea that America was a distinctively Christian nation. He co-wrote several books that attempted to show why this was historically true, such as The Light and the Glory. I read this book, part of the second in this series, and then finally stopped reading his work many years ago. He was so unbalanced in his understanding of history that his message was deeply distorted and very problematic.

In a tribute given to Marshall after his death this misunderstanding of Scripture is advanced to the point of incredulity. The text cited is found in the Fourth Gospel.

John 14:1-3,  1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In

The Wrigley Dump

wrigley_field_entrance Cubs fans are unique. You have to love them for their zeal and their knowledge of the great game of baseball. I am not a Cubs fan but I live in Chicago and count dozens of die-hard Cubs fans as my best friends. I know these fans can’t get enough of their beloved Cubbies. They talk about them year-round and long to see them win it all. They bleed “Cubbie blue” and stick with their team through thick and thin, more the latter than the former since I got to Chicago in 1969, the year they folded down the stretch in a memorable season.

But Wrigley Field is treasured by great baseball fans everywhere. At least that is what I hear over and over. Everyone wants to go there to see a game. I have more requests, from out-of-town friends who visit me, to go to Wrigley than almost any place in this great city. They’ve heard about it, seen it on a gorgeous sunny day on television,

By |May 28th, 2011|Categories: Baseball|

The Fault Lines in the Southern Baptist Convention

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) remains a major factor in American Christianity. But the decline of the SBC, in recent years, is alarming to anyone who cares about the overall health of Protestant Christianity in America. There are things to be learned here by all Christians.

Lemke Steve Lemke, provost at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, recently examined various points of divergence among Southern Baptists in a four-part series for the blog SBC Today (April 5, 7, 8 and 9 posts). Lemke offered two possible solutions. I am more than intrigued by what he wrote and find the attacks on Lemke on the Internet to be both sad and irresponsible.

Lemke says the SBC fault lines include points of contention such as:

  • Greater versus lesser Baptist identity.
  • Smaller versus larger churches.
  • Anti-Great Commission Resurgence verses pro-GCR.
  • Majority Baptist theology versus Reformed theology.
  • Association and convention advocates verses association and convention detractors.
  • Those who place great value on the Cooperation Program (the fund raising approach to the budget) versus those who place a lower value on the

The Great Catholic Exodus

CatholicChurchInteriorCapeMayNJ Rarely do I hear Catholic commentators and apologists admit that the Catholic Church in America is losing people/communicants in very large numbers. The reasons for this exodus are complicated and rarely discussed by Catholics, the very Christians who ought to be profoundly concerned. Popular Catholic ministries use radio, television and the Internet to rally the faithful to “come home” and to better understand how important the church is to living faith. This is done in several prominent ways, some that even misrepresent Protestant evangelicalism in order to make the point that the Catholic apologist desires to make. Long ago I decided that such polemical attacks, launched routinely on both sides, served little or no purpose in actually helping Christians get to Jesus in real faith and obedience. AS I read the New Testament it seems to me that this ought to be the goal of all Christians and churches.

The common thread in popular Catholic explanations for this exodus is personal experience. Until recently there was very little

By |May 26th, 2011|Categories: Roman Catholicism|

Cardinal George Looks Back

Card.George-Informal Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George recently submitted his retirement to the Vatican. He is 79 years old and this is normal procedure. But the Vatican will very likely not accept this retirement, at least not quite yet. This means Francis Cardinal George will remain in his leadership position in Chicago for a few more years. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Cardinal George but not yet enjoyed a friendly, personal conversation in private.

The Chicago Tribune did a story on Cardinal George in their Saturday, March 19, edition. He noted that he wants to spend this year focusing on improving relations with other Christian denominations. He said, “It’s more a personal examination of conscience. We spent a lot of time on Muslim-Catholic, Jewish-Catholic relations. When I look at my own schedule of who I’ve been talking to, I haven’t talked as much as I should’ve to leaders of Protestant churches.”

Cardinal George believes ecumenical conversations fulfill a vital mission that has been neglected during his time in Chicago. “The point

A Christological Theology

I believe the greatest theological need in our time, along side the theological idea of what I’ve called missional-ecuemnism, is the recovery of a Christ-centered theological perspective. We desperately need a Christological theology!

Our theology is often centered on perspectives that are rooted in a number of good biblical themes but lack Christ. There is nothing more central to the biblical story of redemption than Christ. He is all. Paul, in perhaps the greatest hymn in all the Bible says:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the

By |May 24th, 2011|Categories: Christ/Christology, Jesus, Theology|

One Solitary Life

Sometime during my college years I first heard and read this poem:

He was born in an obscure village.
He worked in a carpenter shop until he was about thirty.
He then became an itinerant preacher.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn't go to college.
He had no credentials but Himself.

After preaching three years, the public turned against Him.
His friends ran away.
He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing, the only property He had on earth.
He was laid in a borrowed grave.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone,
and today He is the central figure of the human race.

By |May 23rd, 2011|Categories: Jesus|

Who Is Thinking and Why It Matters

I admit that as long as I can remember I have been inclined to think outside the box. It is sometimes gotten me in a heap of trouble. I remember at around age five asking, “Why does out church exclude non-white members?” I also asked, somewhere in that same time frame, “Why do males only get to speak and preach?” A little later I asked, “Why do Baptists think they are the only really faithful Christians?” Such questions got me in trouble with Sunday School teachers and others in authority.

I believe some of this is simply a part of the way God made me. Yet I also remain surprised at how little some Christians think about thinking. Why do we do refuse to think and ask questions? I think a major reason is fear. Another is the lack of love and prejudice.

2515787000010367626S600x600Q85 I do not think I’ve ever quoted General George C. Patton but in this case he said something rather profound: “When everyone is thinking the same

By |May 22nd, 2011|Categories: Personal|

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