Monthly Archives: April 2008

More on Jeremiah Wright

I have made several points about Jeremiah Wright that have either brought about some not so sympathetic responses or very encouraging dialog and expressions of appreciation. Wright
This is clearly not a win-win debate. I stand by what I have written to this point and believe my central points, about race and racism, are extremely important to the missional mandate of Christ in the American Church. I stand by my point that most of us who are white are not prepared to seriously enter into this much needed dialog.

After returning home from Dallas tonight, and sorting through the news cycle of the last two days, there is much more before us about Wright’s words now. This is especially true after Wright’s post-speech comments at the National Press Club were digested and watched by millions of us.

First, Senator Obama seems

By |April 30th, 2008|Categories: Race and Racism|

It's Not Going Away

Obbi879_revwri_20080428122811Rev. Jeremiah Wright is back in the news this weekend. I would have to guess the Obama campaign wishes he wasn’t but the minister will not keep quiet. Personally I am glad he is not keeping quiet. These events demonstrate something the Christian Right and Left both need to see and hear—truly prophetic ministry cannot keep quiet in the face of polticial debate. Wright, you could argue, is probably harming Barack Obama’s campaign. I feel sure that he not only understands this but he regrets it deep inside. But he can’t be kept silent now that he has become a household name and has been afforded a national platform. He is showing both courage and biblically prophetic ministry by speaking opening and candidly.

I have watched several of Wright’s addresses and watched some of the critique from the right. I am, frankly, more convinced than ever that this controversy has demonstrated the truly deep racial divide in America more than anything that

By |April 29th, 2008|Categories: Race and Racism|

Expelled: Documentary or Documythology?

Ben Stein’s new documentary, Expelled, is a much better film than I expected. After reading various comments on the Internet, especially those made prior to the movie’s actual release, I was prepared to not like this film as a propaganda piece with a lot of sensational claims about faith and the Bible. I also read the multiple negative reviews of the movie at rotten tomatoes (which is a collection of various reviewers) and deduced it was probably not worth seeing. I also feared, based upon reviewers comments, that it might well prove to be a careless mis-representation of Darwinism, which it is not. (I know, of course, that Ben Stein is Jewish and thus I figured he was not going to promote Christianity!)

After seeing this 90 minute documentary for myself I would describe the central thesis as “freedom, especially freedom of expression and real academic freedom." While it is clear that Stein believes there must be a Creator nowhere in the

By |April 28th, 2008|Categories: Film|

Liberal Theology Keeps Killing the Church

Seabury-Western Theological Seminary has been training ministers for the Episcopal Church for 150 years. It has stopped admitting students for this coming academic year. The Evanston seminary told tenured faculty that their jobs will end next year, although officials insist the school isn’t closing. Officials at the Illinois, campus acknowledge a deep financial crisis is forcing the seminary to overhaul its approach to preparing priests for the church. Leaders are exploring more affordable models for candidates to earn degrees, such as distance-learning and short-term residential stints.

This is clearly “damage control” language and positive spin if there ever was such in theological education. The facts bear out the truth of the situation. Seabury-Western is an Episcopal Church (ECUSA)Compass_cross_2
seminary that has a long history of very liberal theology in the 20th Century. It also serves a diocese that is extremely liberal that is

By |April 27th, 2008|Categories: The Church|

The New "Post-Partisan" Campaign?

Senator Barack Obama has referred to the presidential campaign this year as being "post-partisan." Obama_pose
I do not doubt that he wants it to be that way but the statement reveals a naive side that is striking.

A partisan is someone who "takes one side, or strongly supports someone who takes one side." A secondary definition adds the idea of emotional commitment to the word and then concludes that a partisan is "blindly or unreasonably devoted." The word, thus, has various shades of meaning for sure. In the first sense Obama’s comment is ludicrous. In the second it is near ludicrous since his followers are the most partisan of all in the present campaign, or so it seems to me. Barack_obamaekp002373_2
Obama’s strongest and most devoted followers know very little about him and what he would do as a national leader since none of

By |April 26th, 2008|Categories: Politics|

Preaching True Revival in North Carolina

For the past three days I have been preaching on true revival in a multi-church conference sponsored and hosted by four churches in eastern North Carolina, just a few miles from the Atlantic coast. The churches included Faith Evangelical Bible Church (non-affiliated), Father’s House (charismatic), Newport Baptist (SBC) and All Saints Anglican Church (AMiA). These churches are in all in the Newport area. The pastors worked together and tomorrow evening they will conduct a concert of prayer after I have returned to Chicago. I also spoke to a Christian high school on Monday and to ministers this morning. I encouraged the four pastors to continue having a regular community Concert of Prayer in the future and to keep building their relationships with one another and to even broaden the scope of their fellowship. Tonight I met evangelical Christians from almost every possible background, including Roman Catholics as well as Protestants. (I am still amazed when people insist that Catholics are not Christians and that there are not real evangelical Catholic Christians. I meet them all the time but then maybe I just have the

By |April 22nd, 2008|Categories: Renewal|

Paradise 08 and True Revival: The Supremacy of Christ as Lord

For some months now a major gathering of young adults has been developing. This event, called Paradise ’08, is nuique in a number of ways. I am not sure of everything about this event but I do believe young people should consider going and all of us should pray that God comes in power to refresh and bless these multitudes of young people who are coming from across America to worship. If you watch several of the videos you will be impressed I think. I watched several on You Tube this afternoon.

Visit the Web site at and you will find out much more. The site will open the whole day up clearly and give you a very good sense of what is going on. I encourage all of us to pray for Paradise ’08. "Who knows, the Lord might relent and send mercy."

I have believed in true revival since 1970. I have seen it and been in it before. Often such a movement begins among college students. Could this be the next thing God is

By |April 22nd, 2008|Categories: Renewal|

The Pope and America

Pope Benedict XVI has returned to the Vatican after a successful journey to America last week.
Reading the mainstream media’s reports on his visit reminds me of just how clueless so many in the media are about religion in general, and Christianity in particular. Some of the offense came from the New York Times and the Washington Post. No surprises there. At_wh_4
But some also came from more conservatives voices.

First, on the liberal side. William McGurn noted in today’s Wall Street Journal op-ed page that the pope rightly lauded George Washington, upon arriving in America last week, by praising our first president and the founders for the "timeless truths that are embodied in America’s founding." President Bush responded by praising the "common law" tradition of Catholicism and by saying that he was thankful that we share a belief in a divine "law" written on the human heart.
From the look of it few religion reporters picked up on how important these two observations

By |April 22nd, 2008|Categories: Roman Catholicism|

John Smoltz on the Verge of History

John Smoltz, who I have followed for his entire major league career with great fan interest, pitches tonight against the Washington Nationals in Atlanta. If he strikes out four batters he will have struck out 3,000 batters in his career. By this feat he will become the 16th pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history to accomplish this illustrious mark of excellence. Smoltz already holds a record no one else is close to: 200 plus wins and 150 plus saves. He has done all of this with arm problems and undergone major surgery once and minor procedures several more times, missing several years of time in his career. At one time he even had a baseball psychologist help him try to control his mental state on game day when he was young and often lacked control.

I have met John Smoltz, when I did chapel for the Atlanta Braves. He is a wonderful man and an outstanding Christian in his clubhouse and

By |April 22nd, 2008|Categories: Baseball|

Those Bothersome Simpsons

I have not been a long-time fan of The Simpsons TV series but sometimes I catch an episode now and then. These writers are very good and often times provocative in insightful and interesting ways. A good bit of serious theological reflection has actually gone into several full-length books and articles on The Simpsons television series. Simpson_family

I was thus fascinated to learn that The Simpsons is actually a cultural phenomenon in many other parts of the world, especially in South America. But Monte Reel notes in this weekend’s Washington Post that Homer Simpson has succeeded in offending many people in Argentina. The reason is Homer Simpson’s complaining at Moe’s Pub, with his crumbling buddies, about the presidential candidates in America. Homer’s buddy Carl says, "I’d really go for some kind of military dictator like Juan Peron." To many this cut too deeply since they do not think Peron was a dictator at all. And Carl’s friend Lenny referred to Peron’s famous, and

By |April 19th, 2008|Categories: Television|

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