Saturday, December 19, 2009

Joshua's Recital

My 10 year old son at his Christmas piano recital this morning -- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Baptists and Religious Liberty

I gave a speech at my University on Thursday entitled: Baptists, Religious Liberty and The Founding at our Constitution Day event. The gist (and when I polish the written text I'll post it here -- and there may be video!) was a brief point of Baptistic thought and how that translated into political action concerning religious liberty -- especially as Americans view it. I also highlighted three forces namely: Roger Williams (a Baptist for probably 6 months, but we'll claim him), Isaac Backus -- a Baptist preacher from Massachusetts active from after the great Awakening to serving in the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1788 voting to ratify the U.S. Constitution until his death in 1806. Backus was unknown to me before doing my research... a great man of God and he faced down John and Sam Adams in his day. The final man was Elder John Leland -- also a Massachusetts Baptist who moved to Virginia in 1776 and later saved James Madison's political bacon. He was friends with both Madison and Thomas Jefferson, was an acquaintance of both George Washington and Patrick Henry.

In today's secular world people view Baptists as fundamentalists and think that we would take away liberty. The ignorance of history is breathtaking. Secularists would not have half the liberty they have without Baptists (others too, but Baptists were the first to advocate total church-state separation -- which is different than faith-politics separation and wholly dangerous. Baptists were also instrumental in the disestablishment of all Christian churches in the colonies and later the U.S.

Anyway... I hope to present it later at a Colloquium and then polish it into an article. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Some Wise Words Re Tony Romo

Mickey Spagnola adds some much needed logic to Dallas Cowboy fan nonsense about this being "do or die" season for Tony Romo.

Kudos to Spagnola. Romo needs support not slings and arrows. The guy is the quintessential American story... small school boy makes good by moxie, hard work, and some good fortune.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fathers and Sons

Here is a great blog post by John Piper about Robert Louis Stevenson and his father and CS Lewis and his. Stevenson abandoned his faith to his Father's lasting sorrow (at least until he entered the Father's presence). Lewis abandoned his father's faith to famously reclaim it later -- to his father's ultimate joy.

Amazingly, both Stevenson’s and Lewis’s fathers kept on sending stipends to their sons through the years of rejection. In spite of words like, “I am simply incapable of cohabiting any house with my father” (Stevenson); and, “I really can’t face him” (Lewis), the fathers kept supporting their sons.

Six years after his father’s death, Lewis wrote to a friend to catch him up on the last decade: “My father is dead.... I have deep regrets about all my relations with my father (but thank God they were best at the end). I am going bald. I am a Christian.”

Perhaps sending money through the broken years was the right thing to do. Perhaps not. What it shows is not approval, nor that the sorrow had disappeared. Rather, it reveals a kind of bond between fathers and sons that is the foundation of pain, not its removal.

I pray my sons Zachary and Joshua remain close to me (and I to them) and become close to the Lord. They have a child's interest in Him, but not yet the knowledge.... I need to redouble my efforts and my prayers.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Why They Fight

The above is the grave marker of my great uncle Jack (not short for anything) Walker from the Rome-Sicily Cemetery. He made it through Anzio Beach to die a few days later in October 1943 killed by a mortar. Why did he give "his last full measure"? Why would an East Texas born West Texas dirt farmer farm boy go to Italy to die for his country? He joined before being drafted and was in a Texas Battalion. Did he fight for liberty, autonomy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Probably on some meta-level. Did he fight for his buddies on the front lines? Probably when push came to shove he fought harder for them than for anyone else.

I never knew Uncle Jack obviously. He died before my grandparents even met. He died before my grandfather had become a tailgunner in a B-17. My grandfather and his brothers idolized Jack. They always talked about him. If my grandfather -- one of my heroes -- idolized Jack then he must've been one helluva guy.

Why did he fight? Why is a little bit of West Texas buried in Italy? All of the above reasons I am certain. I also like to think he fought for this reason too:

Part of this Memorial Day will be telling about Uncle Jack and Papa and my Uncle L.E. who fought in Saipan and my Uncle Leslie flying bombers during the Berlin Airlift.... They fought for my little Sabrina (and Joshua and Zachary) -- and they didn't even know....

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Jesus Wants the Rose

This is a great summation of the essence of the grace of Christ.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

This is a message...

A California woman was sentenced to 6 years in prison for killing a woman in a multi-car crash she caused. She was texting while driving -- paying her bills.

This is a tough punishment to be sure -- especially for a 49-year old woman. But the woman she killed burned to death in the car that the texter rear-ended. She was speeding AND texting. 6 years actually doesn't seem long enough.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Way We Get By

This looks like a great documentary...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Children of the Secret State

I'm teaching a world geography course this semester. I was looking to find this video called Children of the Secret State about North Korea DVD and found it for free on Google video and I've embedded it below. Chilling and sad... I'll be showing it next week in class.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Fellas

The fellas -- Austin, Texas 2007. My college friend Phil Wilson had just been sworn in by Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of State of the Great State of Texas (he's 3d from the left). Good friends all and even though we don't talk as often as we'd like and we're a bit spread out across the western U.S. -- you'd never meet a greater group of guys. Outside of my marriage, my kids' births, and my faith -- I don't think I've ever had a prouder moment than sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives chamber at the state capitol and watching that ceremony.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Actors... Artists? Hardly

Here's a great post from The Corner about the shallowness of the celebrities who "spoke" at the Obama concert at The Lincoln Memorial on Sunday:

Ashley Judd is very cute, of course, and Samuel L. Jackson was entertaining in Pulp Fiction, but one wonders if these are the best speakers our nation has to offer its new president, who sat kindly through all of it, even the ridiculous leather-panted hooker outfits of Shakira and Beyonce, and showed, as he grooved to Stevie Wonder, that he is likely the first president in American history to know you're supposed to kick it on beats two and four, not one and three.

It was revealing that one of the speeches most worthy of note, from the incomparable Forest Whitaker, was essentially a selection from William Faulkner's Nobel acceptance speech, an uplifting affirmation of art and truth that is at the same time a denunciation of the worst of post-modernism and relativism. What we have forgotten, as unwittingly attested by the voices at this concert (excepting Mr. Obama, of course, who is a first-rate speaker), is that actors are not, in a classical Aristotelian sense, artists. They are skilled, to be sure, but they are empty vessels, to be fitted to parts as suits the real artists, the writers and photographers, the costumers and make-up specialists. This is not to deny the accidental beauty of Marisa Tomei or Jamie Foxx, or the emotive skill of Denzel Washington. But something is strangely out of whack when speeches are to be delivered at the foot of Lincoln, on ground hallowed by King, and the deliverers we choose are none of them thinkers or writers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama 2.0 -- Scary

Now this is scary. Just what the country needs -- a nationwide expansion of the cancer that is the Chicago Democratic Party machine. He's bringing change all right -- the machinery that he needs to strong arm folks and politicians into getting with the program.

In operating the network, the DNC would work closely with the White House political office, which will be headed by experienced campaign organizers schooled in the Obama tactics of using the Internet to harness the massive network of neighborhood-level volunteers.

Obama's presidential campaign generated a database of 13 million e-mail addresses and tens of thousands of phone bank volunteers and neighborhood coordinators. Strategists believe these assets can grow in the years before Obama runs again.

Concerns about Obama's ambitions are coming from state party leaders as well as from Capitol Hill.

"The party needs to be rooted not just around one individual, but it needs to have a grass-roots base that can survive the times and even endure past whoever may be in office," said Jerry Meek, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. "Obama brings a lot to the table, but, on the other hand, state parties exist for more than serving the objectives of the president and are in the business to elect county commissioners, school board members and members of the legislature."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Prayers for Children

Here's a great post from Jon Bloom at Desiring God blog on what to pray for concerning one's children. I pray for my kids multiple times daily, but I'm not very organized about it. This is a great outline.

That Jesus will call them and no one will hinder them from coming.

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Matthew 19:13-15)

That they will respond in faith to Jesus’ faithful, persistent call.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

That they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfill the greatest commandments.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)

That they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

That their thoughts will be pure.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

That their hearts will be stirred to give generously to the Lord's work.

All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord. (Exodus 35:29)

That when the time is right, they will GO!

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)